The Cardinals opened a series with the Brewers in St. Louis on Tuesday, with Adam Wainwright taking the bump across from Corbin Burnes. Both pitchers pitched six innings and benefited from what seemed like a pretty big strike zone. However, while Burnes took a no-hitter into the sixth, Wainwright was working around difficult situations almost every inning. It wasn’t until the sixth that Wainwright put the Brewers away in order for the first and only time in his outing. He ultimately was tagged for two runs, one each in the second and third innings. Meanwhile, the offense could hardly touch the Brewers’ pitching. There were some wasted scoring opportunities by the Redbirds, and after going through the at-bats on Gameday it seemed like Brewers pitching left a good number of pitches over the plate. With the kind of raw stuff Burnes and company had on Tuesday, however, it allowed more room for error as the Cardinals’ hitters had trouble squaring anything up in the 2-0 loss.
Kolten Wong led off for the Brewers and got hit by an 0-1 curveball to take first base. Willy Adames singled through the left side to put two on. Christian Yelich struck out looking on three pitches. Eduardo Escobar singled to left and Wong tried to score on the hit, but Tyler O’Neill threw a dime to Yadier Molina at home, earning the outfield assist for out number two. Omar Narvaez then drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases, but Avisail Garcia grounded out to second to strand everyone.
Tommy Edman chopped out to short to begin the bottom of the inning. Paul Goldschmidt followed and did the same. Nolan Arenado drew a walk and then practically walked to second on a strange delayed steal during O’Neill’s at-bat. Arenado was left on second, however, when O’Neill went down chasing an outside curveball.
Rowdy Tellez doubled to center past a diving Harrison Bader to lead off the second. Lorenzo Cain followed with a lineout to left. Burnes grounded out to first for the second out. Wong popped an 0-2 curveball to left field. Arenado, Edmundo Sosa, and O’Neill converged on the landing spot, but the ball hit off of Arenado’s glove and fell to the ground, allowing Tellez to score. Sosa then threw to second trying to get Wong there, but the throw was wide and Wong moved to third on the throwing error. Sosa seemed to have the best angle initially to make the catch and probably should have called off Arenado, but it was by no means a sure play either way.
Regardless, the Brewers sat with a 1-0 lead and a runner on third and two outs after the play. and Adames went down swinging at a low cutter to retire the Brewers’ side.
Molina flew out to center to open the bottom of the frame. Lars Nootbaar, filling in for an injured Dylan Carlson in right, chopped out to short. Bader went down swinging at a curveball well below the knees for the final out.
Yelich doubled down the first baseline. Escobar grounded out to first, moving Yelich to third. Narvaez golfed a low curveball to the wall in right, scoring Yelich to make it 2-0 in Milwaukee’s favor. Garcia moved Narvaez to third on a groundout, but Tellez chopped out to second to strand him there.
Sosa skied a curveball to right for the first out. Wainwright grounded out to short. Edman topped a changeup to first, putting the Cards down in order.
Lorenzo Cain flew a 1-1 sinker to center for out number one. Burnes got a cutter low and away and laced it to center for a hit. Wong jumped on a first-pitch sinker that one-hopped into the bleachers for a ground-rule double. Adames walked on a low sinker, loading the bases for Yelich, who struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball that caught the outside corner. Escobar got another chance to cash in on the bases-loaded opportunity, but he grounded out to first as Wainwright worked out of the jam.
Goldschmidt drew a leadoff walk on four pitches. Arenado followed the walk with a popout to center on a sinker that jammed him. Goldschmidt advanced to second on a wild pitch, but O’Neill struck out looking at a borderline cutter at the knees after working a 10-pitch at-bat. Yadi got a cutter middle-middle on the first pitch of his at-bat and flew it to the warning track in right for the last out.
Narvaez skied a high 1-1 fastball to left for the first out of the fourth. Garcia followed with a single on a 2-1 curveball. Tellez flew a sinker to left for out number two, and Cain lined a meatball of sinker to Bader for the final out.
Nootbaar grounded out to second to kick off the bottom of the frame. Bader skied a curveball to right for the second out. Sosa then grounded a hanging curveball to second, putting the Cards down 1-2-3 again.
Burnes chased an outside curveball and tapped it back to Wainwright for the first out. Wong rolled a first-pitch changeup to first for out number two. Adames went down swinging at a cutter that carried off the outside corner, putting the Brewers away in order for the first time in the game.
Jose Rondon pinch hit for Wainwright and flew out to left on a 2-2 cutter. Edman laced another cutter to left, this time for a single and the Cardinals’ first hit. Goldschmidt followed with a single back up the middle, moving Edman to third to put runners at the corners with one out. Arenado and O’Neill both swung at first-pitch curveballs and both popped out into foul territory, squandering a great scoring chance for the Cards.
T.J. McFarland relieved Wainwright in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Yelich. Escobar struck out chasing a sinker way out of the zone. Narvaez lined a sinker straight at Sosa for the second out. Garcia took a first-pitch changeup to right field for another single, putting two on with two outs. Tellez was called out looking at a borderline sinker off the corner of the plate.
Brad Boxberger replaced Burnes in the bottom of the frame and surrendered a single to Yadi. Nootbaar swung at a first-pitch slider, chopping it softly to short for a fielder’s choice at second. Bader struck out again, chasing an elevated fastball. Sosa then chopped another fastball to second for the force out as the Cards offense continued to flounder.
Cain jumped on a first-pitch sinker from the new pitcher Luis Garcia, grounding it to Arenado for the first out. Jace Peterson pinch hit for Boxberger and grounded a splitter to first for out number two. Wong and Adames both singled to put runners at first and second, but Yelich struck out chasing a sinker way out of the zone for the last out.
Devin Williams replaced Boxberger for the Crew in the eighth and struck out Matt Carpenter, pinch hitting for Garcia, with a 3-2 fastball down the heart of the plate. Edman followed and skied a changeup to left for out number two. Goldschmidt singled to center to extend the inning to Arenado, who grounded out to Adames to end the frame.
Andrew Miller got some work out of the Cards’ pen in the ninth and retired Escobar with a groundout to first. Narvaez followed suit, grounding a slider to Goldschmidt. Garcia smashed a slider left in the zone off the wall in left, but he hit it so hard that O’Neill had time to play the bounce and throw a strike to second for his second outfield assist of the game.
Josh Hader unsurprisingly came in to close the game in the ninth and struck out O’Neill, though it took him eight pitches. Yadi drew a walk on five pitches. Austin Dean pinch hit for Nootbaar as the Cards tried to work a platoon advantage, but Dean went down on three pitches. Bader got jammed and flew a fastball to left for the final out, securing the 2-0 win for the Brewers.
The Cards drop to 61-57 with the loss and now sit 11 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. The good news is they sit only 4 games back of the Padres for the second Wild Card spot, with the Reds (1.5 GB of the Padres) being the only other team ahead of them in the chase. The Cards look to even the series on Wednesday, with Jack Flaherty facing off against Freddy Peralta at 6:45 PM CT.
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright (L, 11-7): 6 IP / 9 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / 0 HR
McFarland: 1 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Garcia: 1 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Miller, A: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Burnes (W, 8-4): 6 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Boxberger (H, 18): 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Williams (H, 19): 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Hader (S, 24): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR