Tonight, the Milwaukee Brewers try to bring out the brooms against St. Louis in Busch Stadium. Thus far, the Brewers are 8-3 against the Red Birds, and with a five game lead in the NL Central, a completed sweep tonight would add another big step on the road to the playoffs.
With all of that in mind, we figured it was time to bring the live blog out of its long slumber and bring tonight’s game in as close to real-time as I am able to type. We’re off to a bit of a late start tonight, but you guys know the drill by now, so I’ll spare you the extra time and get right down to business.
PITCHERS: Yovani Gallardo (13-7 3.56 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (7-8 3.57 ERA)
In tonight’s game, Yovani Gallardo is charged with trying keep Milwaukee’s hot streak alive and sweep the fourth of the last five opponents for the Crew. Yo is pitching well in the New Busch Stadium, with a 2.87 ERA in the park. He’s also been on a bit of his own personal hot streak – he’s 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA in his last three, with 18 K’s to top it off. If the Brewers can hit like they have been, this one should be a gem for Gallardo.
Chris Carpenter has not been himself this year. After dominating ’09 and’10 campaigns, he has performed well below expectations. He’s been able to right the ship somewhat in his last few games, but is still falling victim to the big inning time and again. Carpenter has also had little luck with the Brewers, with a lifetime 4-5 and 5.50 ERA.
7:14PM – Basically Time For the First Pitch
If you need something to read tonight – or anything to share in my deep, seething hatred for LaRussa, read this.
Top 1st, No Outs – Corey Hart on a hot streak and takes the first pitch from Carpenter for a strike. Corey drops a bit of a blooper for a single to right, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. One on, nobody out.
Top 1st, One Out – Nyjer Morgan needs to work on some bunting plushdamentals as he pops a bunt up to Molina for the first out. Kotsay up as a laughable replacement for Braun. Despite the fact I just made fun of him, he knocks a deep left field double that scores Hart. Brewers 1, Cardinals 0. One on, one out. We are under way in a big way here.
Top 1st, One Out – Fielder up now with a big center field RBI single, scoring Kotsay right away. Brewers 2, Cardinals 0. Carpenter continues to struggle against Milwaukee, and I love it.
Mid 1st – McGehee up, and he takes a first pitch strike. McGehee battles well, but ends terribly as he chops into an inning ending double play. Either way, the damage is done as the Brewers go up 2-0.
Bottom 1st, No Outs – Yo takes to the mound for the first time tonight, and surprisingly our LaRussa Arguing count is at zero. Expect that to change. Furcal is up and fouls off the first offering. The next one, however, was not so good and it sails into the right field stands. Brewers 2, Cardinals 1.
(Stat Time: this is St Louis’ 1st home run of the series, and Furcal’s 6th this year. Gallardo has given up 16 this season.)
Bottom 1st, One Out – John Jay strikes out almost immediately. Pujols up, expect up and in. Pujols takes one deep center and out, and ties the game right away. Brewers 2, Cardinals 2. This was Pujols’ first hit this series. Berkman up and down in about 4 pitches. Two out, nobody on.
Bottom 1st, Two Outs – David Freese up to try and give the Cards the lead here in the first. So far it’s a battle of foul balls. Instead it’s a walk to Freese, one on and two out for Allen Craig.
End 1st – Craig pops out to Prince, and the inning is over. Two solo homers for the Cards, and two K’s for Yo. It’s going to be a roller coaster tonight. Brewers 2, Cardinals 2.
Top 2nd, No Outs – Betancourt up now to help bolster the big first inning. Ironically, Furcal bobbles a hot grounder to short and Yuni gets there safely. One on, No outs.
Top 2nd, One out – Lopez gives an awful, awful bunt to second and puts out Yuni. One on, one out.
Top 2nd, Two Outs – Lucroy flies out to center, Lopez stays put and here were are with two outs, one on for Gallardo. Revenge Time? Maybe. Carpenter walks Gallardo, he obviously strikes fear in the heart of pitchers. Two on, two out for Corey.
(Stat Time: Yo should, he’s a career .222 batter. As a pitcher.)
Mid 2nd – Corey leaves Yo and Lopez on as he chops a slow roller back to Carpenter. Brewers 2, Cardinals 2.
Bottom 2nd – Future suspension server Yadier Molina up to bat against Yo, who looks to turn it on after a rough 1st. Molina pushes one deep into center, but Nyjer is at the wall, as always. One out.
Bottom 2nd, One Out – Ryan Theriot is up, and we’re looking for some of that Cub magic here. He’s hit well against the Crew, however. Lucroy got one in the groin again. I think he’s up to about 100 this year. Corey catches a right field hit by Theriot for the second out.
(Personal Note: That one hurt me, too. Stay tough Lucroy.)
End 2nd – Easy inning for Yo, a 1-2-3 2nd to the outfield. I’m still concerned about how far the Cards are hitting them, but as long as they find a glove I can’t complain. Brewers 2, Cardinals 2.
Top 3rd – Nyjer takes the first strike leading off the third. He eventually grounds out to second for the first out.
Top 3rd, One Out – Kotsay gets his second shot at Carpenter now. He works the count 3-0 real quick and trots on down to first. One on, one out for Prince Fielder.
Mid 3rd – Fielder hits a hard one right to second and induces another inning-ending double play. Not much to say here, just disappointing. Brewers 2, Cardinals 2.
Bottom 3rd – Furcal is up again, I think Yo should plunk him. Instead, Furcal hit Lopez in the chest with a bobbled grounder to second, and Furcal is on safely. One on, no outs. John Jay up, who struck out last time. John Jay hits a tough one to Casey, who gets Furcal out at second, but they lose the double play on the throw to first. One on, one out for The Machine.
(Stat Time: Pujols’ average coming in tonight against Milwaukee is .119)
Bottom 3rd, One Out – Pujols gets one up and in, surprise surprise! Yo puts one right up the middle for some reason, and he puts a single into center. Jay moves to third. Two on, one out for Berkman. Berkman hits a grounder over second base on the first pitch and scores Jay. Cardinals 3, Brewers 2. Two on, one out.
End 3rd – Freese up again after walking his last time up. Finally a double play works out as Berkman and Freese fall in a 6-4-3 to end the inning. Once again, however, the Cardinals take advantage and the lead. Cardinals 3, Brewers 2. Everything feels slightly askew right now, and the Crew looks a little deflated here in the third game.
Top 4th – Casey up to start the fourth inning and Carpenter gives him a lot of breaking balls to get behind him right away. Casey then pops up to Freese and the first out.
Top 4th, One Out – Yuni up now with one out. Betancourt drops a nice one out to left for his second hit of the night. One on, one out for Felipe Lopez. Lopez talks a stroll for Carpenter’s third walk of the game. Two on, one out for Lucroy in what could become that big inning.
Top 4th, Two Outs – Lucroy pops up to Pujols in foul territory for the second out, and brings up Yo with a little pressure on him. Yo whiffs at the last two and brings himself down on outside strikes.
Mid 4th – I’m not sure what to say here, the Brewers just look bad tonight. They’re playing sloppy and below their level right now. Carpenter is not throwing well but he’s jamming up the Brewers. Defense needs a serious step up here if anything is going to end well. Brewers 2, Cardinals 3.
Bottom 4th, One Out – Gallardo continues to scare the crap out of me as Allen Craig takes on to the warning track before being snagged by Hart. One out for Molina.
Bottom 4th, Two Outs – Molina gave it a good battle, but ends up ground out to Yuni for the second out. Yo’s second offering to Theriot is way high and inside. Easy, Tony.
End 4th – Cardinals are still hitting big, but so far only two have made an impact as Theriot puts one deep into the glove of Kotsay in Left Field. Brewers 2, Cardinals 3.
Top 5th, One Out – Corey Hart goes down on a high pitch from Carpenter for his second K of the night. Morgan Up now looking to do something against the Cardinals tonight. T-Plush puts a bloop into left field for a single. One on, one out for Kotsay once again.
Top 5th, One Out – Kotsay rips another to the opposite field and puts Morgan over to second. Prince is up with one out and two on. This is looking familiar, but hopefully with different results. Prince falls behind rather quickly 0-2. Fielder chases an ankle-high breaking pitch for a strikeout and the second out. What?
Top 5th, Two Outs – Casey McGehee up and, not surprisingly behind 0-1 on the first pitch. Molina lets a ball pass on a Wild Pitch in the dirt, and the runners move up to second and third.
Mid 5th – McGehee knocks a liner right to short and ends the inning. It’s been the case with him all season, which is difficult to handle. Brewers lose another big opportunity and strand runners number 5 and 6 on the bases tonight. Brewers 2, Cardinals 3.
Bottom 5th – Yo facing Carpenter now to lead off the 5th inning. Carpenter drops on strikes in five pitches. Oh sweet! Retro’s Pub in Oshkosh is the Tavern of the game – way to go current hometown. One out.
Bottom 5th, Two Out – Quick second out from Furcal, who hits a grounder to Lopez. John Jay is up again. Jay knocks in a big single to right field, bringing up that guy Pujols again. Pujols’ second strike is comically missed with a slip and spin. Someone’s obviously trying for another Home Run.
Bottom 5th, Two Out – John Jay stole second, and even though it was a quick throw from Lucroy, Jay got too big a lead to be denied. Albert knocks another hanging pitch for his third hit, and Jay scores. Cardinals 4, Brewers 2. Yo is losing what little is left of his command tonight.
Bottom 5th, Two Out – Berkman knocks a single just passed Fielder and Pujols makes his way to third base. We have problems tonight, folks. A Wild pitch – or passed ball, no official score yet – puts Pujols into home and Berkman into second. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2. Gallardo has thrown almost as much as Wolf did in 8 last night.
End 5th – Lopez handles a grounder from David Freese to end the 5th mercifully. Yo has been, to put it nicely, everywhere tonight. Couple that with a suddenly lackluster offense and you would swear it’s a different team out there tonight. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
Top 6th – Betancourt up and we need the bottom third to make a big impact, right about now. Betancourt makes it three hits on the night with another single to Right. Who is this guy? One on, no outs for Lopez.
Mid 6th – Not surprisingly, Lopez grounds into the third DP of the night. Anyone miss Hairston tonight? Lucroy is up to try and salvage this inning. Lucroy pops one up to Right Field, and Theriot makes a basket catch, ’cause he’s smooth like that. It was exactly the inning Carpetner needed, and the Brewers did not. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
(MLB Update: Congratulations Justin Verlander. 17 wins on the season, 100 for the career.)
Bottom 6th – Kameron Loe is into pitch for Gallardo, and he’s turned around his season in the last few appearances. To emphasize the point, Loe strikes out Craig for the first out.
Bottom 6th, Two Outs – Molina flies out to Morgan for the second out, and Theriot comes on. Theriot Walks and Carpenter will bat in the 6th. One on, Two outs.
End 6th – Carpenter falls to Loe, who puts up a decent inning again tonight with 2 K’s and 1 walk. It was the inning the defense needed for sure, now it’s time for the offense to get it going with only 9 outs left. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
(Stat Time: Gallardo’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5ER, 2 HR, 3 K)
Top 7th – Craig Counsell leads off tonight, and usually if anyone can wear down a pitcher, it’s Craiggers. This time, he just singles to center field. One on, no outs for Corey Hart. Good on you, Craig.
(Stat Time: Counsell’s 2nd hit in the series, take that Stephen Colbert!)
Top 7th, One out – Hart hits it about a mile high, and 90 feet deep to Pujols. Morgan is up with Counsell sitting tight on first base.
Mid 7th – Morgan adds his contribution to what should be a Major League record coming up soon. Four double plays for St. Louis tonight against Milwaukee. This is getting really rough to watch from an offensive standpoint. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
Bottom 7th – Frankie De La Cruz makes his Brewer Debut, fresh up from Nashville with that AAA smell still on him. He will face Furcal for his 16th MLB appearance and Furcal bunts to Fielder for the 1st out.
Bottom 7th, One Out – John Jay is swinging hilariously at De La Cruz – who has some very good looking breaking stuff. Jay Strikes out, two out.
Bottom 7th, Two Outs – De La Cruz delivers a low and away pitch to Pujols, who flared it out to Right Field. This would not have been a big issue, were it not for Corey Hart, who puts up the Crew’s second E and gets to third.
End 7th – All’s well that ends well as Berkman grounds out to Lopez to end the 7th without any real damage done. 6 outs left for Milwaukee to bring the sweep on St. Louis. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
Top 8th, One Out – Kotsay is out real quick for the first out of the 8th inning, bringing up Prince Fielder. Apparently Carpenter heard something he didn’t like from Tony Plush, and the umpires had to cool everything off. John Jay runs down a deep Left Field hit for the second out and everyone is slightly confused right now.
Top 8th, Two Outs – McGehee takes the first pitch to deep Center for a single. Yuni is up and looking to keep his 3-hit night going in the right direction.
Mid 8th – Yuni battled about as well as anyone could, until the last pitch away and in the dirt sent him to the dugout on a swinging K. It’s hard to think they’ll get as good an opportunity again tonight, even if Braun is available to hit tonight. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
Bottom 8th, One Out – The Ballad of Tim Dillard continues in St. Louis, as he gets David Freese to ground out and now faces Allen Craig.
Bottom 8th, Two Outs – Craig knocks a grounder to Fielder deep, who flips it to Dillard and two are away in another good inning. Molina falls quickly to 1-1 and we might get out of this unscathed again. Perhaps I spoke too soon, as Molina hops one over the pitcher and into center field for his 14th consecutive game with a hit. One on, two outs.
End 8th – Brewers get out easy as Theriot grounds to Betancourt to end the inning. Lopez, Lucroy and whoever bats for Dillard are the last hope for Milwaukee tonight. Cardinals 5, Brewers 2.
Top 9th – Lopez up to lead off against Salas, the St. Louis closer.
Top 9th, One Out – Lopez strikes out faster than I can update. One out.
Top 9th, Two Outs – Salas strikes out Lucroy and things are looking bad., Bring on Kottaras for the Crew’s last call.
End – Kottaras pops out to Pujols and the game ends every bit the opposite as it had began. Brewers 2, Cardinals 5.
WP: Chris Carpenter (8-8)
LP: Yovani Gallardo (13-8)
SV: Fernando Salas (22)
HR: Pujols (28), Furcal (3)
RBI: Furcal, Pujols -2, Berkman, Fielder, Kotsay
LOB: Brewers – 7, Cardinals – 6
The Brewers appeared to be everything they haven’t been tonight: streaky, inconsistent and anemic on offense. It was a tough game, and even though the series win is still ours, a game like this can’t help but leave a bit of a sour taste. Yo was off fromt he very beginning, and save some moments of brilliance it was mostly a start he would like to have back. For Carpenter, he gets his first win against the Crew since 2009, and it was one that he earned. He didn’t pitch lights out. but he worked the Brewers Batting Order over pretty well.
Milwaukee goes back home tomorrow to play the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it should be a good rebound for the Crew, as the Bucs have yet to best the brewers this season. That’s all from my living room tonight, thanks for reading as always. After a game like that, I need (another) beer.