Brewers ride big fifth inning past Cards

10:56p I think I’ve lost count of how many times Tony Plush has come through in the clutch.

Cardinals-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 6-2, in the first game of a crucial NL Central clash. The offense didn’t come until late in the game, but at least it came.

The Cardinals wasted no time getting on the board first against Brewers starter Zack Greinke, when Matt Holliday hit a two-run shot in the first inning. After that, Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one hit. But, he ran into some trouble in the fifth inning.

Yuniesky Betancourt led off the inning with a single. Casey McGehee then followed with a single of his own, then Jonathan Lucroy hit yet another single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, the play that happened next appeared to completely screw up the Cardinals for the rest of the game.

Zack Greinke laid down a bunt, and appeared to be trying for a safety squeeze to score McGehee from third. It looked like catcher Yadier Molina was going to throw to first to get Greinke out, but it turned out to be a fake so he could get McGehee on his way to home. One issue with that play, however: McGehee stayed at third. So the Cardinals didn’t get any outs, and that proved costly for them, because the two biggest blows of the game came next.

Corey Hart hit an RBI single to score McGehee and tie the game at 2-2. Lucroy, who ended up at third, held up for some reason, but that’s classic Ed Sedar for you. Anyway, that wouldn’t be costly, because Nyjer Morgan, the most clutch player on the team, hit a base-clearing double to give the Brewers a 5-2 lead that they wouldn’t again give up.

Carpenter’s day ended on a low note because of that one inning. He went just five innings while giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Greinke’s day also nearly ended on a low note, but he managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. He went six innings while giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five.

The Brewers tacked on one more run in the seventh on Ryan Braun’s RBI double, but that would do it for the scoring.

LaTroy Hawkins and Kameron Loe combined to throw three scoreless innings to finish the game and give the Brewers their seventh consecutive win.

Middle innings not kind to Cards

I’m talking about the fifth and sixth innings. They do NOT like the Cardinals so far this year.

The main victim in the sixth this year for the Cards has been starter Jake Westbrook. It seems like he just cruises through the first five innings, then can’t get out of the sixth. Take last night for instance in their loss to the Cubs. Westbrook had a perfect game through the first 5 1/3, then gave up four runs before getting out of the sixth. Now, this sort of makes sense for a guy like Westbrook, who virtually only has one pitch: a sinker. Through the first few innings, he has it down and gets ground ball outs like crazy. Then, in the sixth, one of two things happens: he starters leaving it up in the zone, where a sinker should never be thrown, or hitters start timing it and get better swings at it. Those are the two disadvantages of being a pitcher like Westbrook.

Anyway, Westbrook’s ways appear to be starting to spread among the Cardinals. Carpenter has been having similar issues this year, at least against the Brewers. But, now we know the Cards’ weak point.

Greinke continues success at Miller Park

With his win today, Greinke is now 7-0 in his career at Miller Park (including starts while with the Royals). That means all four of his losses are on the road, so he, like the rest of the Brewers, need to pick it up away from Miller Park. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with Greinke and the Brewers doing well at Miller Park, but the splits for both of them at home and away are crazy.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this crucial series with the Cardinals tomorrow. Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off a solid start against the Cubs. Marcum has one career start against the Cardinals, which was earlier this year. He won that start after going seven innings and giving up three runs.

The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14 ERA), who, like Marcum, is also a 10-game winner. Garcia is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA against the Brewers in his career, including a complete game shutout against them earlier this year in St. Louis.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs defeated the Pirates, 5-3. They are 16.5 and 5.5 games back, respectively. (I’m also going to point out that Derrek Lee hit two home runs in his Pirates debut.)
  • The Astros defeated the Reds in extra innings, 4-3. They are 24.5 games (wow) and 7.5 games back, respectively.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 0 5 0 1 0 X 6 11 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 5 1 2 1 0 2 0 .274
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 1 2 3 0 0 2 .324
Ryan Braun, LF 4 0 2 1 0 2 1 .324
Prince Fielder, 1B 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 .294
Felipe Lopez, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .214
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 1 1 0 1 1 4 .256
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 .230
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 1 1 1 0 2 1 .285
Zack Greinke, P 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .231
a-Craig Counsell, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .145
b-Mark Kotsay, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .246
Total 35 6 11 6 3 9 14

a-Popped out for Greinke in the 6th.

b-Singled for Hawkins in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Morgan (12), Braun (26).

RBI: Lucroy (44), Hart (35), Morgan 3 (27), Braun (72).

Team RISP: 4-for-11.

Team LOB: 8.

FIELDING

DP: (Lopez-Betancourt-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Zack Greinke (W, 9-4) 6.0 7 2 2 1 5 1 4.41
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 16) 2.0 1 0 0 2 1 0 1.89
Kameron Loe 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.24

WP: Hawkins.

Pitches-strikes: Greinke 103-62, Hawkins 27-14, Loe 13-8.

Groundouts-flyouts: Greinke 8-4, Hawkins 3-1, Loe 3-0.

Batters faced: Greinke 25, Hawkins 9, Loe 3.

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