Wolf stymies Cards, gives Brewers cushion in Central

9:49p Last night’s win against the Cards was big. And that’s what made this win even bigger.

Brewers-Cardinals Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals again today, 5-1. Randy Wolf may have had, in my opinion, his best start of the year. After giving up five runs against the Cards in his last start, he made them look foolish all night tonight, and went eight stellar innings while giving up a run on five hits. He struck out one and walked none. Wolf also only needed 92 pitches to get through eight, but he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth because there were runners on base.

The Brewers jumped on Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook right away in the first when Prince Fielder hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, Westbrook, being the groundball pitcher that he is, got a double play to get out of that inning after Fielder’s sac fly, but that wouldn’t matter as the game went on.

The Cardinals answered in the bottom of the first on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly, but that was the only run they would be getting in the game.

The Brewers took the lead back in the third on Fielder’s RBI double and Yuniesky Betancourt’s RBI single, and that would be it until the ninth inning.

Westbrook ended up going eight solid innings, giving up three runs on six hits. He struck out four, but the number that stuck out at me was his five walks, since he’s typically a control pitcher.

Anyway, the Brewers tacked on two more runs in the ninth inning on Corey Hart’s two-run single. Cards manager Tony La Russa also got ejected that inning, but I’ll have more on that later in the post.

Francisco Rodriguez finished his first game as a Brewer, in relief of Wolf. He got into a bit of a jam after giving up back-to-back singles to David Freese and Skip Schumaker, but got a groundout to end the game. If Rodriguez hadn’t waived his $17.5 million option, which would have come into effect if he finished 55 games, when he came to the Brewers, we obviously wouldn’t have seen him finishing out that game today. But, I guess that’s not a burden to Rodriguez or the Brewers anymore, thank goodness.

La Russa gets ejected on bad call

As I said earlier, La Russa got ejected from this game in the ninth inning. He was ejected for arguing that Josh Wilson, who bunted his way on, was out, and was angry because first base umpire Greg Gibson called him safe.

Replays actually showed that Wilson was out at first and that La Russa was right, but the first baseman Pujols didn’t help out too much with that. The throw from reliever Marc Rzepcyznski was wild, so Pujols had to step off the base for a second to make sure the throw to didn’t get by him. Pujols tried to come back down and first base, which he did, but he stepped on first base repeatedly, thinking he hadn’t touched the bag. That obviously led Gibson to think he didn’t touch the bag, hence calling Wilson safe.

Anyway, whether or not Wilson was safe, it’s always awesome to see La Russa get ejected, especially after the offensive remarks he made about the Brewers and their fans.

De La Cruz called up from Triple-A

Pitcher Frankie De La Cruz was called up from Triple-A earlier today. He’s one of the candidates to replace injured starter Chris Narveson in the rotation until Narvy can return from the DL.

Apparently, De La Cruz isn’t guaranteed to start in place of Narveson yet. Ron Roenicke said he may give reliever Marco Estrada a chance for a spot start, but, with how he’s looked out of the ‘pen lately, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

First five game lead since ’82…

That’s right. With tonight’s win, this marks the first time the Brewers have had a five game lead in a division since 1982. But, they weren’t leading the NL Central. They were leading the American League East. That was back when there were only east and west divisions, and when the Brewers were still in the AL (they moved to the NL in 1998).

But that ’82 year was probably the best year in Brewers history. Stars like Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas… They had all-stars up and down that lineup, including Mike Caldwell in the rotation. Now, I’m not going to go into comparing our team this year to the one in ’82, but the Brewers went to the World Series that year. And who’d they lose to? The Cardinals. At least it isn’t possible for the Brewers to lose to them in the World Series anymore, considering they’re in the same league (and same division). But I’m happy to say we’ve pretty much had the Cards’ number all year so far.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a sweep of the Cardinals tomorrow. Yovani Gallardo (13-7, 3.56 ERA) will go for the Brewers and look for his 14th win, which would tie a career-high for him. Gallardo is 1-4 with a 4.66 ERA against the Cardinals in his career, but his first win against them came earlier this year, when he no-hit them through the first seven innings.

The Cards will counter with Chris Carpenter (7-8. 3.75 ERA). He’s having a better season than his record shows, but has struggled mightily against the Brewers in his career. He’s 4-5 with a 5.50 ERA against them. That includes in 0-2 mark against them this year, during which Carpenter’s ERA against the Brewers is 8.18.

Box Score

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

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 2 2 0 1 .277
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 0 1 0 0 1 3 .324
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 1 0 1 0 1 .321
Prince Fielder, 1B 2 1 1 2 1 0 0 .304
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 0 0 1 1 2 .235
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 1 0 1 4 .265
Jerry Hairston, 2B 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 .264
George Kottaras, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .224
a-Josh Wilson, PH 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .262
Randy Wolf, P 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 .190
b-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286
Total 31 5 8 5 5 4 13

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Kottaras in the 9th.

b-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Wolf in the 9th.

BATTING

2B: Kottaras (4), Fielder (28).

RBI: Fielder 2 (87), Betancourt (50), Hart 2 (43).

Team RISP: 4-for-9.

Team LOB: 7.

BASERUNNING

SB: Braun (21).

FIELDING

DP: (McGehee-Hairston-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (W, 9-8 8.0 5 1 1 0 1 0 3.48
Francisco Rodriguez 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2.96

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 92-61, Rodriguez 14-10.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 13-5, Rodriguez 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Rodriguez 5.

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