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Nolan’s Bomb Gives Cardinals 3-1 Opening Day Win

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

After a dragging 558-day layoff, fans were allowed back in Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon, and they went home perhaps even happier than when they entered. With the game tied in the eighth, Nolan Arenado delivered a two-run, go-ahead home run to left field, and the Cardinals topped the Brewers, 3-1, on their home opener.

The Cardinals are now 5-2 on the young season and upped their winning streak to four.

The game was scoreless until the top of the third, but there was some early drama. After a walk to Kolten Wong to lead off the game, Adam Wainwright soon found himself in a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the first. Lorenzo Cain shot a ball to deep center field, and Dylan Carlson made a great running catch — likely saving three runs. And so, the game remained scoreless, and it would stay that way until the third.

Milwaukee second baseman Keston Hiura led off the third inning with a double. Wainwright attempted to pick Hiura off second, but an errant throw sailed into center field, where Carlson misplayed it. The two errors on the play allowed Hiura to score, and the Brewers had a 1-0 score that held until the final three frames.

Wainwright made it through five innings, allowing just the one run on five hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. Brewers starter Corbin Burnes looked very sharp in his start, with six scoreless frames and nine strikeouts. In fact, Burnes’s only blemishes were a Matt Carpenter hit by pitch and a triple to Tommy Edman to lead off the game.

With Burnes out of the game after six innings, Milwaukee turned to Eric Yardley for the seventh. Yardley got the first two outs quickly, but a base hit from Yadier Molina and a double from Carlson led to Yardley intentionally walking Justin Williams. With the bases loaded, Tyler O’Neill was able to sprint out a ground ball to second for a single, allowing Yadi to score the game-tying run.

After Giovanny Gallegos’s clean eighth inning, the Cardinals had to face reliever Drew Rasmussen in the bottom half of the frame. Edman struck out, and Austin Dean (Gallegos’s pinch hitter) drew a walk, setting the stage all too perfectly for Nolan to make his mark after being 0-for-3 up until that point.

With a new 3-1 lead, Alex Reyes got the call for the ninth inning, and he was able to record the final three outs. For Reyes, it was his third save of the year.

These teams are off tomorrow, but they will be back at it on Saturday. Carlos Martinez will go against Adrian Houser in a 1:15 PM game at Busch Stadium.