This is exactly what the Brewers needed. Making a comeback after an early deficit, and a good start from someone not named Yovani Gallardo.
The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 4-2, in a crucial win for them. Had they lost today, the Cardinals would have needed only to win tomorrow to go to the World Series. But, with the win today, the NLCS is now evened up at 2-2- and it’s still there for anyone to take.
Randy Wolf came through right when the Brewers needed him. He went seven strong innings while giving up two runs on six hits. He also walked one and struck out six. If you compare this to Wolf’s last start- when his ERA finished at 22.50 after four innings in a start against the Diamondbacks during the NLDS- this was as good as it gets.
The Cardinals struck first yet again today. They’ve now scored the first run in every game this series. Today, the first run came from a Matt Holliday “home run”- if you can even call it that. Holliday got way under- and I mean way under- a pitch away from him, and it just stayed inside the foul pole, and barely made if over the wall. I swear, it was the luckiest home run I’ve ever seen (other than maybe Jake Westbrook’s grand slam earlier this year against the Brewers). Anyway, the second Cardinals run came on a home run by Allen Craig. At least he deserved his home run…
But the Brewers finally got some clutch hits, starting in the fourth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a RBI double to cut the deficit to 2-1, then Yuniesky Betancourt followed up with a RBI single to tie it up. The Brewers would then take the lead in the fifth on Ryan Braun’s RBI single. They scored their fourth and final run in the sixth inning when George Kottaras reached on a fielding error by second baseman Ryan Theriot, which allowed Rickie Weeks to score.
Anyway, the Brewers finished with scoreless innings from Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford. And Axford hit 99 MPH for the first time, at least that I’ve seen.
Here’s kind of a crazy stat about Cardinals pitching in this series- none of their pitchers have made it past the fifth inning, and their cumulative ERA is over 7.00. I can’t even believe they’re winning games with their pitchers not going deep. But the clown car- excuse me, the Cardinals’ bullpen- has had to do a lot of work. They got it done yesterday after Chris Carpenter’s five innings start, but couldn’t today after Kyle Lohse’s 4 1/3 inning start. It was actually Mitchell Boggs who allowed the go-ahead to Braun, but the runner was inherited from Lohse, so he still took the loss.
Tomorrow is a big game for the Brewers. If they win, they take the series lead and have the advantage to win, but same goes for the Cards if they win. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a rough start in Game 1. He allowed six runs in 6+ innings, but still took the win, thanks to nine runs of support. The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA), who also had a rough start in Game 1: he gave up six runs in four innings. But, Garcia has pitched much better at Busch Stadium than on the road this year- in fact, he has a complete game shutout against the Brewers at Busch this year.