Down 2-1 and facing the possibility of being eliminated from the NLCS without going back to Miller Park, Randy Wolf threw a gem on the biggest stage for him as a Brewer. 7 innings of two-run ball along with, finally, some timely hitting from his offense, and the series in knotted up at 2-2 with a guarantee of finishing the series at home for Milwaukee.
Game Five, however, still looms large for both teams.
If Milwaukee wins, the Cardinals are faced with the task of winning back-to-back games in front of a rowdy crowd at Miller Park on Sunday and Monday.
If St. Louis wins, the Brewers will have to beat Edwin Jackson and Chris Carpenter, the two pitchers who have picked up wins thus far in the series.
Losing Game 5 might not be automatically fatal. But it definitely would not be advisable.
For Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin, his headline off-season trade for Zack Greinke will either come to fruition or leave the Brewers wondering ‘what-if’ tonight. Greinke will get the start for the Brewers after picking up the win in Game 1 despite rough numbers.
St. Louis will start Greinke’s Game 1 counterpart Jaime Garcia, whose fifth-inning collapse gave the Brewers a lead and, eventually, the win. At home Garcia has been a different animal, with a 9-4 record and 2.55 era at Busch Stadium.
For Greinke and the Brewers, keeping the Cardinal bats silent in the first inning is key. Wolf is the only starter through Game 4 to not surrender a first inning run, and that momentum carried him through the game, picking up the win. Greinke gave up one run to start Game 1.
Game 5 may evidently come down to the two bullpens, which have been dynamite in locking down leads in the series. Wolf was the first pitcher to go more than six innings in the series.
Three two-run home runs, two of which came in a six-run fifth inning, propelled the Brewers to a 1-0 lead in the NLCS. Ryan Braun’s 463-foot blast over the Harley Davidson Deck in left-center opened it up, and homers by Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt ensued in the fifth to give the Brewers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“With the shadows it can get hard (to hit), but I’m just fortunate it went over the fence,” said a modest Ryan Braun on his first inning moon shot off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia (0-2).
However, it wasn’t all fun and games for Milwaukee, who is 4-0 at home so far in the Playoffs.
A three-run home run by David Freese in the fourth gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead against Brewers starter Zack Greinke. St. Louis added to their lead with a two-out RBI single off the bat of Lance Berkman in the fifth.
Milwaukee responded, down 5-2 in the fifth. The rally began humbly with a meager base hit through the left side by Corey Hart. Following a Jerry Hairston double to left, Braun sent a Garcia breaking ball down the line in right that barely stayed fair for a ground-rule double. 5-4. Fielder carried the momentum by launching Garcia’s first delivery into the visitor’s bullpen on a rope to give the Brewers the lead 6-5. Octavio Dotel then relieved Garcia and botched a Rickie Weeks grounder, disposing the ball into right field for a two-base error. The usual free-swinging Betancourt then put together an eight-pitch at bat before homering to the Milwaukee bullpen to make it 8-5.
Braun finished with 4 RBI with a homer, double, and two runs scored as the Brewers followed suit of the 1982 Milwaukee team to take the opening game in a Playoff series with St. Louis (the two teams met in the World Series that year).
The team that won Game 1 of the NLCS has advanced to the World Series in 16 of the past 19 years.
Milwaukee is now 17-0 at home in games Greinke (1-0) has started. Greinke, who criticized the demeanor of Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, went six plus innings, allowing all six of St. Louis’ runs, striking out six.
Takashi Saito relieved Greinke after a leadoff single from leadoff man Rafael Furcal in the seventh and immediately made Brewers fans nervous.
With Furcal running on the pitch, the Cardinals avoided a double play and wound up with a Jon Jay single to put runners on the corners with no outs and the heart of the order coming up. Saito avoiding the jam, breaking Albert Pujols’ bat for a 5-4-3 double play with Furcal coming home. A Lance Berkman pop out ended the inning and Milwaukee escaped up 8-6. A Jonathan Lucroy RBI single would get the run back immediately for the Brewers.
Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford held the lead in the eighth and ninth with no trouble as Axford picked up his second postseason save.
The Brewers starter allowed one run over eight innings, replicating his eight inning-one run performance in St. Louis in August, to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
Milwaukee won their fourth straight to move 10 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis in the NL Central, tying their largest lead of the season.
Wolf gave up four hits and struck out five to improve to 12-9, and 6-1 in his last eight starts. He contributed at the plate, as well, with two infield hits, one of which led to a two-out rally producing run in the second.
Ryan Braun and Nyjer Morgan both homered for the Crew, who won their fourth straight and extended their division lead to 10 1/2 games. Braun’s 27th blast went to center field and put the Brewers up 2-0, while Morgan’s career-high fourth homer, aided by shouts of “GET OUT!” from T.Plush, gave the Brewers a 4-1 lead.
Yuniesky Betancourt’s RBI single in the sixth gave Milwaukee a 3-1 lead.
John Axford closed the game for Milwaukee for his 41st save of the season, 38th consecutive with a three-up, three-down bottom of the ninth.
By Curt Hogg
The St. Louis Cardinals will come into Miller Park for a three-game set starting Tuesday, trailing the Brewers by 10 1/2 games for first place in the NL Central.
Probable starters: Tuesday: Edwin Jackson (3-2, 3.99) vs. Shaun Marcum (11-4, 3.38); Wednesday: Jake Westbrook (10-8, 4.75) vs. Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37); Thursday: Brandon Dickson (0-0, 0.00) vs. Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37)
Plug Out LaRussa
It seems that every time Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is in a tough spot, he diverts the attention to the other team. Last time in Milwaukee, he accused the Brewers of stealing signs, changing the lighting in the stadium, and called Brewers fans “idiots”. This upset catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but he may have been the only one to publicly come out and criticize the Cardinals skipper.
Prince Fielder, the leader of the team, has said he is over the fighting and the Brewers are focused on beating the Cards and extending their division lead. I wouldn’t be too worried about LaRussa getting into the team’s heads in this series.
If you want to hear the FUNNIEST thing ever, listen to this.
Keep Albert Down
Of course everybody who has seen a handful of Cardinals games would say that keeping the bat of Albert Pujols is key to winning, but there is more to it this time.
Pujols only has one RBI in the team’s last seven games and is in a rare period of being unproductive. He had a few big hits in Pittsburgh over the weekend, including a triple, but has not homered since August 21 against Chicago. As Pujols goes, so do the Cards. In the last 12 games in which he has homered, St. Louis is 11-1, with the one loss coming in extra innings to Pittsburgh. Dating back to July17, in games in which Pujols has not gone deep, the Cardinals are 10-19.
Does that say enough?
Welcome the New Guy
Brandon Dickson, Thursday’s probable starter for St. Louis, will be making his first Major League start. The Brewers have never seen him before, and typically do well against these pitchers. The first time through the order may be rough for the Brewers bats, but experienced hitters like Hart, Braun, and Fielder will make adjustments.
Dickson throws a good curve to mix in with an above-average velocity fastball. His strikeout numbers in the Minor Leagues show that he could do damage to the Brewers. Statistically, Milwaukee does worst against “power pitchers” that strike out a lot of hitters.
The Brewers need to get to Dickson early on and not give the Cardinals a chance late in the game.
Desco, Yadi, and Schu
You say “what the hell does that mean, Curt”? I say “Look at who did the most damage last week at Miller Park for the Cards. Desco, Yadi, and Schu.” And don’t forget the pitcher.
Daniel Descalso, Yadier Molina, and Skip Schumaker are the X-Factors to the St. Louis Cardinals offense. Sure, we know what the top five in LaRussa’s batting order can do, but holding the bottom of the order down makes the job a lot easier for Brewers pitching. Furcal, Jay, Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman can put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard, and that’s only five-ninths of this lineup. Keep an eye on the bottom three in the Cards’ order, even though Molina will be sitting out Tuesday’s game due to his suspension.
Hey Everyone, it’s Kaitlyn again! Im going to be doing another live blog for tonights game! Hopefully I’ll be able to post the entire game again tonight. Stay posted for the game!
Things to watch for:
- Ryan Braun ISN’T in the line-up tonight (he requested the day off yesterday)
- Lance Berkman is back in the line-up
- Pujols hasn’t got a hit in this series so far and is hitting only .119 againist the Brewers
- Pitching match up Yovanni (13-7) vs Carpenter (7-8)
- If the Brewers win they will be 6 games ahead of the Cardinals
- If the Brewers lose they will be 4 games ahead of the Cardinals
- Here we go! Hart up first!
- Corey with a broken bat single to right
- Morgan retires after he popped up a bunt, 1 out
- Kotsay hits a doubles down the left field line! Hart scores Brewers up 1-0
- Fielder hits a RBI single! Brewers up 2-0
- McGehee kills the rally with a 6-4-3 double play
- Furcal hits a lead off homerun, 2-1 Brewers
- Jay strikes out swinging, 1 out
- Pujols also hits a homerun, 2-2
- Berkman strikes out swinging, 2 outs
- Freese draws the walk
- Craig pops up to Fielder on the first pitch
- Betancourt has an infield hit
- Lopez lays down a bunt and Carpenter gets the lead out at 2nd, 1 out
- Lucroy flies out, 2 outs
- Yo draws the walk
- Hart grounds out for the 3rd out
- Molina flies out to Morgan, 1 out
- Theriot flies out to Hart, 2 outs
- Carpenter flies out to Hart to end the inning
- Morgan grounds out, 1 out
- Kotsay draws the walk
- Fielder hits into a 4-6-3 double play
- Furcal reaches first on an error on Lopez
- Furcal gets out a Jon Jay’s fielder choice, 1 out
- Pujols singles to center and advances Jay to third
- Berkman has an RBI single up the middle to score Jay, Pujols advances to 2nd, 3-2 Cards
- Freese hits into to double play to end the inning
- McGehee pops out, 1 out
- Betancourt singles to left center
- Lopez draws the walk
- Lucroy pops out to Pujols, 2 0uts
- Carpenter strikes out Yo, leaving 2 on
- Craig flies out to Hart, 1 out
- Molina grounds out to Betancourt, 2 outs
- Theriot flies out to Kotsay for the 3rd out
- Hart strikes out, 1 out
- Morgan singles to shallow left
- Kotsay singles to left, Morgan advances to 2nd
- Fielder chases a pitch in dirt, 2 outs
- Wild pitch from Carpenter, both Kotsay and Morgan advance
- McGehee lines one to Furcal for the 3rd out
- Carpenter strikes out, 1 out
- Furcal grounds out to Lopez, 2 outs
- Jay singles to right
- Pujols is now up
- Jay steals second, Lucroy with a late throw
- Pujols singles to left, Jay scores, Cardinals extend their lead 4-2
- Berkman singles to right, Pujols advances to third
- Pujols scores a wild pitch, 5-2 Cardinals
- Freese grounds out to Lopez to end the inning
- Betancourt with a single!
- Lopez grounds out into a double play…
- Lucroy flies out..
- Brewers need to step up their game and score some runs!
- Cameron Loe is now pitching for the Crew
- Allen Craig is up
- and hes gone, 1 out
- Molina flies out to T-Plush, 2 outs
- Theriot walks
- Carpenter strikes out to end the inning!
- Currently: sitting on my couch on facebook, twitter, watching the game, texting, and hanging with my best friend! i say its gonna be a good night
- Counsell singles up the middle!
- Hart pops out, 1 out
- Morgan hits into a double play to end the inning..
- Thats the Cardinals 4th one on the night..
- Frankie De La Cruz makes his major league debut!
- Furcal attempts to get on base by a bunt but prince is there, 1 out
- Jay strikes out, 2 outs
- Pujols hits a single to right, but the Hart lets the ball get past him and Pujols advances to third
- Berkman hits to Lopez to end the inning
Sorry, but I’m done for the night! Stay tuned for my up coming post!!
He’s been the victim of five road shutouts and all year long has been the recipient of poor run support. But when you can throw eight one-run innings, you’re in pretty good shape to get the win.
That was the case Wednesday night in St. Louis. Wolf (9-8) only gave up one first-inning run to the Cardinals as the offense supported him with five runs–much more than he would need. The Brewers’ starter’s command was impeccable throughout the night, walking none despite only striking out one batter.
Prince Fielder put the Brewers on the board with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first before his counterpart Albert Pujols tied the game in the same manner. Fielder then added an RBI double to give the Brewers a cushion that Wolf would not relinquish. With the game still in reach for the Cardinals, Corey Hart added a two-run single in the 9th off Mitchell Boggs to open it up.
As for the Brewers road woes? They are now one win away from a perfect 6-0 road trip to Houston and St. Louis, both places where the team has historically struggled.
“I think we carried over what we were doing at home and I’m hoping that this is the point where it doesn’t really matter to them whether we’re at home or road, they know we can win at both places,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “That’s important for them to feel that way.”
In Wolf’s 13 road starts in 2011, he has 3.43 era and a 1.25 WHIP yet a losing record at 4-6, obvious indicators that the offense has struggled in his starts. This was not the case Wednesday night, as the Brewers southpaw relied on his defense to get him through eight innings easily on only 92 pitches.
The Cardinals were without Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday. Berkman sat out the night due to lifetime 3-30 hitting versus Wolf, and Holliday was out after injuring his back while lifting weights.
By the end of the night, St. Louis was without their manager Tony LaRussa, who was ejected in the top of the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Josh Wilson was called safe on a bunt at first. First base umpire Greg Gibson believed Pujols never touched first, despite replays showing that his toe may have scraped the bag.
In LaRussa-esque fashion, he called it a “very undeserved ejection”. Tony’s never wrong, I guess.
With the win, Milwaukee clinched the road series victory, and extended its division lead to five games. By the end of the series, it will either be four or six games, depending on Thursday’s outcome.
Hey everyone! Curt and Kaitlyn will be giving live updates of the Brewers game here
- Away we go! Hart leading off with a walk.
- Berkman and Holliday are out tonight. Matt was injured lifting weights
- NYJER with a perfect bunt. First and second, no out
- Braun with a flair single! Hart holds at third.
- Deep fly to center, Hart scores, 1-0 Brewers! Nyjer to third, now Casey is up
- Casey takes ball four bases loaded with one out!
- Betancourt kills the rally. 5-4-3
- Furcal with a double.
- Patterson lays down a bunt to advance Furcal. 1 out.
- Pujols hit a line drive to Morgan to bring Furcal in. 1-1
- Freese hit to McGeehee to end the inning
Curt’s doing the Brewers innings. Hairston leads off. Groundout to Furcal for out number one. Kottaras double. Wolf groundout, Kotarras to third. Sorry, too lazy for bullet points. Hart pops out, inning over.
- Allen Craig is leading off the inning.
- Craig grounds out to Hairson, 1 out.
- Molina pops out to Fielder on the first pitch, 2 outs.
- Theriot singles to left.
- Jay hits a single down the left field line and Theriot advances to third.
- WestBrook flys out to Morgan to end the inning.
- Nyjer strikes out
- Braunie’s up. Good AB, draws a walk.
- Braun would have been thrown out on a steal, but the ball popped out. What a break!
- The steal pays off! Fielder drops the bat head down and doubles down the right field line.
- That RBI puts Prince 2 behind Ryan Howard of the Phillies.
- Wild pitch, but Molina should’ve blocked it. He’s struggling, clearly.
- Freese robs McGehee of an RBI.
- YUNI B! Stays back on a breaking ball, RBI single to left. 3-1 Brewers
- Inning over, but Milwaukee’s up!
- Furcal grounds out to Hairston to start off the inning. 1 out.
- Patterson flys out to Braun. 2 quick outs!
- Pujols strikes out on 3 pitches to end the inning!
- Brewers up 3-1 going into the 4th!
- I need some more article ideas. Hellppppppppp. Other than tomorrow’s game recap, obviously. I used my ideas up today.
- But anyway, here’s George Kottaras.
- And there was Kottaras.
- Wolf singles to left. Helping himself out, here is Hart
- Hey Bill Schroeder, nobody cares if the PITCHER’s swing was a little off. He got a hit
- Four pitch walk to Hart, Westbrooks’ fourth walk.
- Another rally killer. Double play
- Freese leads off the inning for the Cardinals
- Freese grounds out to Betancourt! 1 out
- Craig also grounds out but to Casey! Out number 2
- Wolf’s pitch count is looking pretty good at only 55 pitches
- Molina singles to left center to continue his hitting streak
- Hairston makes an amazing play to get Theriot out!
- End of the 4th inning with the Brewers up 3-1!
- Currently: Watching the game, blogging, getting US updates, fantasy football prepping, on the phone. Yeah, I’m a guy
- Braun groundout. Barely out
- Prince groundout
- Another groundout. Inning over.
- John Jay grounds out to McGeehee
- Westbrook flies out to Hart. 2 outs!
- Furcal pops out to end the 5th
- 3 up 3 down for Wolf! Score still stands at 3-1, Brewers
- Betancourt pop out to right.
- Hairston ground out to Freese.
- Westbrook seems to be settling down now.
- Kottaras groundout.
- Currently: holding 3 conversations at oncee, watching the brewers, blogging, playing with my dog and attempting to clean.. Multitasking Pro right here
- Patterson with a flare out to Betancourt, out 1
- Pujols grounds out to Betancourt for out number 2
- Freese grounds out to Casey for out number 3
- End of 6th and another 3 up 3 down inning.
- Brewers up 3-1
- I’d just like to say, even though I’m relegated to hitting, Wolf is looking great. Wolfie article coming up?
- Deep fly out from Randy.
- Corey Hart groundout, this will be my last inning fyi.
- I think switching it up would bring some luck. Nyjer grounds out, off to Saugy Waffles
- Alright Kaitlyn here! im taking the rest of the game!
- Craig flies out to Hart! Out number 1!
- Molina flies out to right. Out number 2.
- What do you know another 3 up 3 down inning for Wolf with Theriot grounding out to Casey!
- Braun’s leading off the 8th inning.
- Ground out to Freese.
- Fielder with a great at bat, draws the walk!
- Westbrook has over 110 pitches for the night.
- Casey strikes out looking for the 2nd out of the inning
- Betancourt strikes out to end the inning.
- I think i might have an idea for my piece!
- Randy Wolf is taking the mound again in the 8th
- Jon Jay bounces out to Fielder
- Cruz waits back on a pitch and hits a single to right
- Furcal grounds into a 5-4-3 double play!
- End of 8th inning! Score still stands at 3-1, Brewers.
- Westbrook is done after 8 innings and the Cardinals bring out Marc…. his last names just too long! im not even gonna try..
- Hairston singles to right!
- Josh Wilson is in to pitch hit for the catcher
- Wilson lays down a bunt and is safe!
- Pujols is argueing the call and wait for it..
- TONYS GONE AGAIN!
- Cardinals are bringing in a new pitcher, Axfords getting warm-uped in the pen
- Lucroy lays down a beautiful sac bunt!
- Hart rips down a shot up the middle! 2 runs score!
- Freese makes a catch over the dug out railing to get Morgan out
- Braun grounds out to end the inning!
- Brewers tact on another 2 runs to their lead! 5-1 Brewers!
- K-Rod is coming in to pitch the 9th for the Brewers!
- Patterson’s leading off the inning
- K-Rod strikes out Patterson! 2 more outs left for the Cards
- Pujols flies out to T-Plush!
- Last out for the Cards!
- Freese singles to left to keep the Cards going.
- Schumaker is pitch hitting for Craig
- Schumaker singles to right and Freese stops at 2nd
- Molina grounds out to Betancourt to end the game!
Brewers win the game 5-1 and increase their lead in the NL Central to 5 games over Cardinals!
Stay posted for both Curt’s and my upcoming articles!