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Milwaukee Brewers vs St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals relief pitcher Junior Fernandez looks to the outfield as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam to give the Brewers the lead in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com)

Ryan Braun hit a two-out 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in left-center field for a grand slam off reliever Junior Fernandez in the top of the ninth inning Sunday as the visiting Milwaukee Brewers rallied for a 7-6 win before a crowd of 46,722 at Busch Stadium.

The homer, which put the Brewers on top 7-4, set a franchise record for Milwaukee. It was the 232nd long ball of Braun's career.

In the bottom of the ninth, Tommy Edman hit an 0-2 pitch into the stands in right after Yadier Molina walked to cut the Milwaukee lead to one run. But reliever Josh Hader struck out the next two hitters to end the contest.

The Brewers, who took two of three in the weekend series, loaded the bases with one out on three walks against John Gant, who was called on to try to close the game with Carlos Martinez unavailable because of a respiratory issue. Martinez was hospitalized Saturday night, according to manager Mike Shildt.

The Cardinals closer began having troubles in Denver, the manager said, and the righthander did have symptoms similar to allergies or a head cold in that series. He appeared in Thursday's afternoon game and did not have trouble again until Saturday. As he warmed up to appear in that day's game at Busch Stadium, Martinez experienced some breathing difficulty and sat himself down after telling the team of his issues.

He went to the hospital that evening and spent the night there. Martinez was not at the ballpark Sunday, though he had been discharged from the hospital, Shildt said.

"We're concerned for his health," the manager said.

The team has described Martinez has "day to day" but the diagnosis and cause of his respiratory issues were not disclosed. During the game, reports indicated he was dealing with the flu, and that would have been the reason the team told him not to come to the ballpark on Sunday.

With the bases loaded and one out, Tyler Webb retired Mike Moustakas on a fly ball to Harrison Bader in shallow left-center. Fernandez came on and delivered the game-changing pitch to Braun, who connected for his 20th homer of the season.

Hader came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Brewers, picking up his 33rd save of the season. The Brewers, playing without injured MVP Christian Yelich, moved to three games behind the National League Central-leading Cardinals. The Chicago Cubs are two games back after beating Pittsburgh 16-6 to complete a weekend sweep in which they scored 47 runs in three games.  

Paul DeJong hit the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning from Milwaukee reliever Ray Black for a home run down the left-field line, putting the Cardinals back on top 3-2.

Marcell Ozuna walked to open the inning for the Cardinals.

Two outs after DeJong's blast, Harrison Bader connected for his second solo shot of the day to make it 4-2. It was the first two-homer game as a big-leaguer for Bader, who also went deep to lead off the Cardinals' third inning.

In the Milwaukee eighth inning, after Bader and right fielder Dexter Fowler combined to misplay Mike Moustakas' fly ball to right center, the Brewers got a run back on a two-out RBI single from Lorenzo Cain to make it 4-3.

Bader picked up an error on the play, making the run unearned.

Milwaukee had rallied to go up 2-1 in the top of the seventh, getting a two-run homer from Cory Spangenberg.

Marcell Ozuna walked against Brewers' reliever Ray Black to open the Cardinals' seventh. DeJong's hit was just the second of the day for the Cardinals.

The Brewers' Eric Thames led off the visitors' seventh inning with a single to right. Reliever Genesis Cabrera was replaced by fellow rookie Ryan Helsley, who got Lorenzo Cain to pop out before giving up the two-run homer Spangenberg on a 3-1 delivery.

After Hernan Perez singled, Helsley was replaced by Giovanny Gallegos, who allowed  a single to pinch-hitter Keston Hiura before retiring Trent Grisham on a foul popup and Yasmani Grandal on a called third strike.

The Cardinals had gone on top 1-0 en the lead in the third inning, getting a leadoff homer from center fielder Bader.

It was the Cardinals' first — and only — hit of the game through six innings.

Milwaukee had one-out hits in each of the game's first three innings. But Cardinals starter Michael Wacha has pitched around them.

Brewers' starter Chase Anderson struck out six through the game's first four innings.

In the Milwaukee fifth, after leading off with an infield hit, the Brewers' Cory Spangenberg was called out on appeal after failing to re-touch second base on a flyout to right by Hernan Perez. The double-play call took on added significance when pinch-hitter Tyler Austin followed with a double to center field.

Austin moved to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded when Trent Grisham flew out to right the end the inning.

The Brewers outhit the Redbirds 12-5 in the game, getting two hits and a two-run homer from Cory Spangenberg and a two-hit game from Eric Thames and Lorenzo Cain. Matt Albers (7-5) picked up the win.

WACHA STARTS IN SERIES FINALE

Veteran righthander Michael Wacha gets the start Sunday as the Cardinals look to take two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Game time is 1:15 p.m.

The Cardinals (83-65) enter Sunday's action three games up on the Chicago Cubs (80-68) and four games ahead of the Brewers (79-69).

The Cards blasted the Brewers 10-0 on Friday, but fell 5-2 in Saturday night's game.

Wacha is 6-7 with a 4.97 ERA this season.

“He's throwing the ball well,'' Cards manager Mike Shildt said prior to Sunday's game. “It's coming out clean, the ball's down and his changeup been really good. He throws with that plane today, with that good changeup, he'll have a lot of success.”

Wacha will be opposed by Milwaukee righthander Chase Anderson (6-4, 4.57), who made two early-season bullpen appearances against the Cardinals this season. Anderson has lasted just four innings in his last three starts, posting a 6.75 ERA in those outings.

The Cardinals host current NL wildcard leading Washington Nationals (81-66) for three games beginning Monday before playing a key four-game set in Chicago against the Cubs that'll run Thursday through Sunday this week.

The regular-season schedule will then wrap up with three games against the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Sept. 23-25 before the final regular-season series of the season against the Cubs on Sept. 27-29 at Busch.

YOUNG HURLERS CONTINUE TO IMPRESS

Cardinals relievers Ryan Helsley, Junior Fernamdez and Genesis Cabrera contine to pitch well.

“The league tells you, hitters tell you, these guys are doing a great job,'' Shildt said. “Helsley has done a nice job, earned more opportunity as they all have. Junior and Cabrera, really blessed to have them, too.

“Cabrera took the experience from the first opportunity up here and I felt like he grew from it. Same thing with Junior. We have conversations with all the players when they go back (to the minors, asking) 'What did you learn and what are you going to do different? If anything.' We had some real clarity to what that looks like. Clarity's great _ it's a starting point _ but then it's about the execution, about what it looks like. They've been able to understand it and then we share our thoughts as well.

“More importantly, they've been able to do something about it.”

Shildt added: “That's what this is about. The opportunity and taking advantage of it. We have some pretty special arms; you look at the at-bats (against them) and they're not very comfortable at-bats.”

_ Shildt said that reserve catcher Matt Wieters, who's been sidelined with a calf injury, worked during Saturday's game with a pitching machine and could return soon.

“When we were on defense, he was in the tunnel, going pitch for pitch as the game was going on to help get his legs back under him,” Shildt said. “He's getting close....”

_ Former Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, now a minor league instructor in the organization, was in the clubhouse before Sunday's game.

“We're having minor league meetings tomorrow, so he's here today and part of tomorrow,'' Shildt said. “He'll be coming back _ he's welcome, always welcome _ for the last weekend of the season.”

Shildt continued: “He integrated really well with the transition from spring training and what he did. Jose has a great sense, he's been doing this a long time, been around us a long time. He's got ability to understand what he's doing, when he's doing it and where he's doing it. “

Following are the lineups for Sunday's game:

CARDINALS

1. Dexter Fowler, RF

2. Kolten Wong, 2B

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Marcell Ozuna, LF

5. Paul DeJong, SS

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Tommy Edman, 3B

8. Harrison Bader, CF

9. Michael Wacha, P

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

1. Trent Grisham, RF

2. Yasmani Grandal, C

3. Mike Moustakas, 3B

4. Ryan Braun, LF

5. Eric Thames, 1B

6. Lorenzo Cain, CF

7. Cory Spangenberg, 2B

8. Hernan Perez, SS

9. Chase Anderson P


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