The Cardinals continued their road trip with the second game of a three-game set against the Brewers on Wednesday. John Gant took the bump for the Cards across from Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant through the early part of the 2021 season. Gant continued to struggle with control issues, walking three while hitting one batter, but was able to keep the Cards within striking distance with a little help from the bullpen. The bullpen couldn’t hold the game in the end though, as Ryan Helsley eventually gave up three runs to put the game out of reach. Woodruff was almost unhittable for seven innings and his only real blemish was a home run given up to Tyler O’Neill, but the bullpen held the lead up with help from a 31-pitch save from Josh Hader.
Tommy Edman led off the game with a soft lineout to short on a 1-1 fastball. Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt followed with swinging strikeouts, both on fastballs low in the zone, to sit the Cardinals down in order.
Kolten Wong jumped on the first pitch and grounded it to Edman for the first out. Lorenzo Cain worked the count full and got an infield hit on a swinging bunt. Daniel Vogelbach took a soft grounder the other way against the shift for another single on a ball that never touched the outfield grass. Travis Shaw struck out swinging way behind a fastball for the second out. Avisail Garcia, with two on and two away, skied an 0-1 changeup to left, stranding both Brewers runners.
Arenado kicked off the second by reaching on a fielding error by Vogelbach, who couldn't corral the throw to first from Wong. Paul DeJong lifted a slider high to center field for the first out. Molina ripped a 107 mph line drive to left, but Jackie Bradley, Jr. was positioned perfectly to catch it for the second out. Tyler O’Neill got under a 2-2 fastball for a flyout to bring the top of the inning to a close.
Bradley, Jr. saw eight pitches before chopping out to second to begin the bottom of the inning for Milwaukee. Luis Urias grounded a 2-2 fastball to short for the second out. Manny Pina got ahead 3-1 in the count before lining out to O’Neill in left for the final out of the inning.
Harrison Bader popped a 1-2 breaking ball into foul territory, where Vogelbach caught it for the first out of the third. Gant struck out swinging through a fastball. Edman followed suit, swinging over a curveball to retire the Cards in order again.
Woodruff grounded out to Goldschmidt on a 2-1 slider to lead off the third for the Crew. Wong hit a sinking line drive to left, where O’Neill made an impressive diving catch to rob Wong of a hit.
Cain walked on a 3-2 sinker that missed high and tight and stole second on the first pitch to Vogelbach. Vogelbach then walked on another errant sinker, giving the Brewers two on with two away. Shaw popped a 2-0 changeup to shortstop to get Gant out of the jam.
Carlson grounded a 1-2 curveball to first, where Vogelbach took it unassisted for the first out. Goldschmidt popped out, also to Vogelbach, on a 2-1 fastball. Arenado ended the inning, swinging through a fastball as the Cards struggled to get anything going through four.
Garcia struck out looking at a high changeup that caught the corner. Bradley, Jr. got tied up on a high and tight fastball for Gant’s second strikeout of the inning. Urias went down swinging at a slider as well as Gant struck out the side in the fourth.
DeJong was punched out on a sinker that caught the inside corner of the plate to start the fifth. Molina hit a sharp grounder back up the middle on a first-pitch slider for the second out as Urias made a great diving stop to rob him of a hit.
O’Neill went down swinging, failing to check his swing on a 1-2 fastball and keeping the Cards hitless through five innings.
Paul DeJong was replaced with Edmundo Sosa at shortstop in the bottom of the fifth. Pina grounded a 1-1 sinker back up the middle for a leadoff single. Woodruff tried to drop a bunt, but got under it and popped it to Gant who caught it and threw to first for a 1-4 double play as Edman covered the bag. Wong skied a 2-2 sinker to right to end the inning.
Bader lined a first-pitch fastball to center to finally break up Woodruff’s no-hitter. Gant got a sac bunt down to move Bader to second. Edman tried to drop another bunt for a hit, but Woodruff made a quick barehanded play to get him at first as Bader moved to third. Carlson then struck out swinging through a fastball to strand Bader at third.
Cain led off for the Brewers in the sixth and got hit by a 1-0 fastball. Vogelbach walked on five pitches, after which Gant was pulled in favor of Genesis Cabrera. Shaw flew out deep center, but Bader slipped while making the catch and lost the ball on the transfer, allowing Cain to score after tagging up from second for a 1-0 Brewers lead.
Garcia drew yet another walk, giving the Brewers two on with one out. Bradley, Jr. grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on a 1-2 fastball to end the sixth.
Goldschmidt flew out to right on a 2-2 curve to start the seventh. Arenado took a 1-2 fastball the other way, lining out to Garcia in right for the second out. Sosa struck out on three straight pitches as Woodruff continued his dominant performance.
Urias grounded out on a 2-2 sinker from Cabrera. Pina lifted a 1-0 changeup to left for the second out. Woodruff struck out looking at a fastball down the middle to send the game to the eighth.
Molina struck out on three pitches, swinging through a fastball to become Woodruff’s tenth strikeout victim. O’Neill took a first-pitch slider the other way and got just enough of it to put it into the seats to tie the game 1-1.
Bader dropped a hit into right field on another first-pitch slider, bringing up Matt Carpenter to pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot with one on and one out. Bader tried to swipe second on the second pitch to Carp but was called out after a short replay review. Carpenter drew a walk to extend the inning to Edman and knock Woodruff out of the game. Devin Williams got the call out of Milwaukee’s pen and got Edman to ground out to short on an 0-1 changeup to retire the Cardinals’ side.
Ryan Helsley came in to pitch the eighth for St. Louis. Wong led off the Brewers’ half of the inning with a flyout to center on an 0-1 fastball. Cain flew a 2-2 fastball to right for the second out. Vogelbach swung at strike three, but it was a 101 mph fastball over everyone’s heads, allowing Vogelbach to reach on the strikeout. Pablo Reyes was brought in as the pinch-runner for Vogelbach, and was immediately knocked in with a double from Shaw to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Garcia then launched a long homer off Helsley, scoring two to stretch the lead to 4-1.
Tyler Webb came in for Helsley after the home run and walked Bradley, Jr. Urias then struck out looking to send the game to the final frame.
Josh Hader got the call to convert the save for Milwaukee in the ninth as Reyes remained in the game to play third and Shaw moved to first. Carlson managed to work a full count but went down on a foul tip for the first out. Goldschmidt doubled down the third baseline on a 1-2 slider. Arenado worked a full count and drew a walk on the ninth pitch of the plate appearance to put the tying run at the plate. Sosa grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring Yadi up with two runners on and the game on the line. Unfortunately, Yadi swung over a back-foot slider to end the game in a Cardinals loss.
The Redbirds drop to 22-15 on the season as the Brewers improve to 20-17 with the win. Jack Flaherty is slated to start Thursday’s finale against Corbin Burnes for the Brewers, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:40 CT.
DeJong exited the game in what looks like a precautionary move as he left with left side tightness.
The Cardinals’ pitchers have now issued 154 walks, which leads the MLB.
Hader threw 31 pitches in Wednesday’s game in addition to 15 pitches in Tuesday’s matchup, meaning he will likely be unavailable for the series finale on Thursday.
Final Pitching Lines
Gant: 5 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Helsley (L, 3-1): 0.2 IP / 2 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 1 HR
Webb: 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Woodruff: 7.2 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 10 K / 1 HR
Williams (W, 1-0): 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Hader (S, 8): 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR