cardinals smash brewers, 7-3; david freese celebrates birthday in style

April 28, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (26) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The cardinals followed last night's 13-1 rout with a closer and more interesting game, taking the lead only in the late innings. The cardinals continue to show great ease in scoring runs, including major home run contributions from throughout the lineup.

To my mind, the biggest story has been the early success of the back end of the rotation. Kyle Lohse turned in a quality start and got the win, but looked much more like ordinary Lohse than super-Lohse. While super-Lohse had not given up a homer and had been stingy with walks, today's Lohse gave up 4 walks and two homers. He was wearing down in the 6th, loading the bases on an unintentional intentional walk, then tying the game by walking in the 3rd run for the brewers.

In a key moment for the cardinals, the cards left an obviously tired Lohse out on the mound, with 2 outs, the bases loaded, and the game tied. Estrada, the starting pitcher was due to appear. With the brewers bullpen strained from last night's bludgeoning, roenicke made the fateful decision to let estrada hit, rather than pinch hit for him and let the Milwaukee bullpen absorb another 4 innings of punishment. Estrada promptly struck out, leaving the bases loaded and the game tied up.

Estrada fared poorly in the bottom of the sixth, giving up a two run homer to yadier Molina. He would not make it further than the sixth. The cards would stack up another two runs in a successful hit-and-run play off a single by skip schumaker. Behind very good relief performances by victor marte, Mitch Boggs, and Jason motte, that's how the game ended. Watch for the cards to attempt a sweep against Zach greinke and the brewers on Sunday.

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