Brent Suter handled the Cardinals with ease in the top of the 1st. Benefiting from Gary Cederstrom’s generous zone away to righties, he got Carpenter to ground out to 2B, Martinez to strike out on an elevated fastball, and Pham to fly out just short of the track in LCF. He threw 13 pitches.
Luke Weaver did his counterpart one better. Getting a similarly generous zone, he got Cain to ground out on a first-pitch, hot shot to Gyorko at 2B, and then struck out Yelich & Aguilar. He, too, threw 13 pitches.
The Cardinals got some hard contact in the 2nd, but still nothing to show for it. After Gyorko flew out to CF on the first pitch, Marcell Ozuna lined a well-struck single to RF. Then, Harrison Bader smacked a liner off Brent Suter’s chest, which the Brewer lefty then was able to corral and retire the fleet Cardinal outfielder at 1B. Yairo Muñoz then struck out swinging. He was at 26 pitches.
But it was the Brewers who were the first the break through. After Shaw grounded out to SS on a ball that almost pegged Weaver, Ryan Braun laced a double into the RF corner. Then, after Villar got robbed by a diving Jose Martinez, Manny Piña knocked an RBI single to CF. Weaver recovered and struck out Saladino with his 31st pitch. 1-0 Brewers.
Suter kept on rolling. He struck out Peña and got Weaver to flyout on a ball hit surprisingly deep to the LCF gap, but still reined in by Cain. Then Matt Carpenter dropped another bunt to beat the shift, but Martinez popped out to RF to make it for naught. Suter was at 42 pitches.
Now it was the Brewers’ turn to barrel some balls up. Suter lined out on a hot shot to 2B, and Cain broke his bat on a middle-middle cookie change up and flew out to LF. But Weaver fell behind 2-0 to Christian Yelich and served up another cookie, which Benny The Jet took yard to the seats in RCF. Weaver then fell behind Aguliar 3-0, but the Brewer first baseman got the green light and grounded out on a hot shot to SS. Weaver was at 45 pitches. 2-0 Brewers.
Suter mowed the middle of the Cardinals’ order down in the 4th. He struck out Pham & Gyorko, then got Ozuna to tap out weakly to 1B, as is his wont. The 10-pitch inning brought his pitch count up to 52.
Despite the shadows creeping in between the pitcher and the hitter, the Brewers continued their assault on Weaver. After Shaw popped out to RF, Braun ripped a single to RCF. He advanced to 2B on an errant pick off throw, and then Villar & Saladino worked walks around a Piña pop out to bring up... Brent Suter. The Brewer pitcher worked an 8-pitch PA and ended it with a hot shot under Martinez’s glove that scored 2. The stone-handed first baseman was immediately disgusted with himself, and left the ball for Jedd Gyorko to retrieve. Fortunately, Jedd was hustling, and was able to gun down Saladino at home. Weaver’s pitch count ballooned to 76, and his afternoon was over. 4-0 Brewers.
The Cardinals collected themselves, and picked up their embattled starter & first baseman. Harrison Bader led the charge with a lead off single to LF, followed quickly by Yairo Muñoz’s first career HR, to LF. After Peña grounded out to 3B, and pinch-hitter Tyler O’Neill struck out swinging, Matt Carpenter got in on the fun and lined an inside fastball over the RF wall. With the bullpen stirring, Suter got Martinez to pop out to RF with his 73rd pitch. 4-3 Brewers.
Mike Mayers relieved Weaver, and fared little better. He walked Cain to lead the inning off and, after getting Yelich to ground into a fielder’s choice, the bloops began. Mayers got in on Shaw’s hands, but the Brewer third baseman was able to muscle a bloop into RF. Then Mayers got in on Braun’s hands, and that colossal <redacted> was able to muscle a single to CF, on which both he and Shaw were able to advance an extra base on Pham’s error in CF. Mayers finally got Villar to strike out to end this terrible inning. 5-3 Brewers.
Taylor Williams relieved Suter. Mixing a 96mph fastball with a wipeout slider, he got Pham to line out to RF, Gyorko to strike out with an ugly swing at a slider off the plate, and Ozuna to ground out to 2B.
Mayers remained in for a second inning of work. After allowing a lead off double to Manny Piña, he got a trio of hard-hit fly outs from Saladino, pinch-hitter Domingo Santana, and Cain. In two innings of work, Mayers threw 49 pitches.
Matt Albers relieved Williams. He set the bottom of the order down with ease, getting Bader to ground out to 3B, and striking out Muñoz & Peña swinging. The word “bleak” comes to mind.
Brett Cecil relieved Mayers to wave the white flag. Yelich greeted him with a single to RF (which featured an odd interference by Martinez that did not cost the Cardinals a base), and soon after stole 2B on questionable call. Then, after Aguilar flew out to CF and Shaw struck out swinging, Matheny opted to walk Braun to face Villar, which seemed like a wise strategy at the time. Unfortunately, Villar deposited the third pitch he saw into the Brewers bullpen. Pina grounded out sharply to 3B to led Cecil off the hook. 8-3 Brewers.
With the lead firmly in hand, the Brewers left Matt Albers in for a second inning of work. He walked pinch-hitter Greg Garcia, but Matt Carpenter struck out in a 8-pitch battle, and Martinez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. In two innings of work, Albers threw 38 pitches.
John Brebbia relieved Cecil and turned in the best pitching performance of the afternoon. He struck out Saladino, and then got pinch-hitter Eric Sogard and Cain to each pop out to 3B.
Jacob Barnes, fresh up from AAA, closed this one out. He struck out Pham on a foul tip into Piña’s glove before surrendering a double down the RF line to Jedd Gyorko. But he then got Ozuna to ground out to 2B, and Bader to pop out to the same place. Brewers win 8-3.
Luke Weaver: 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 35 GSc, 76 pitches.
Brent Suter: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 45 GSc, 74 pitches.
- All 8 Brewers runs were scored with 2 outs.
- Something has got to give with Jose Martinez. His bat is no longer carrying his bad glove. With Fowler on the shelf, there’s an opportunity to stash him in RF, move Carpenter to 1B, and start Gyorko & Wong every day.
- Brett Cecil looked like 2017 Brett Cecil today.
- The Cardinals’ 2 errors today pulled them up to a tie with the Chicago Cubs for third-most in the NL, with 35.
- Memorize and perform “Hey Ya” for your family to undo the 7 years of bad luck caused by Ryan Braun’s face.
Matt Carpenter had 16 hits in his first 34 games. He has 20 hits in his last 12.— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) May 28, 2018
The Cardinals look to pull even in the series tomorrow, sending Michael Wacha to face Zach Davies. Game starts at 6:40 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.