With the Cardinals officially eliminated from postseason contention and Adam Wainwright’s chase for 200 wins over, the enthusiam and motivaton for the team to compete and — let’s be honest — the fans to tune in is waning (if it wasn’t already). But if you ask Oli Marmol, the team is still competing every single day trying to win every single game. In all reality, these final 10-15 games are probably best used to see which complementary pieces could potentially fill out a roster next season. Guys like Luken Baker, Jose Fermin, and Richie Palacios aren’t playing for this year, they’re playing for next year...
Here are the lineups for the Brewers and Cardinals Wednesday night:
- Mark Canha, DH
- William Contreras, C
- Carlos Santana, 1B
- Willy Adames, SS
- Josh Donaldson, 3B
- Tyrone Taylor, LF
- Sal Frelick, RF
- Andruw Monasterio, 2B
- Blake Perkins, CF
Adrian Houser - SP
And the Cardinals:
- Lars Nootbaar, CF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Jordan Walker, RF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Richie Palacios, LF
- Luken Baker, DH
- Jose Fermin, 2B
- Juniel Querecuto, 3B
- Masyn Winn, SS
Zack Thompson - SP
Well, the long ball stung the Cardinals in this one. Tyrone Taylor hit two bombs, but Josh Donaldson — the “Bringer of Rain” — hit the one that mattered, a three-run shot in the first inning off Zach Thompson. As it turns out, the Brewers could have given up every at-bat after the Donaldson homer and still won.
For some reason, I thought Taylor had much better numbers against the Cardinals in his career, but he actually came into this game with a .784 career OPS against St. Louis. It went up tonight, though...
Mark Canha, who has been scorching hot since joining the Brewers, popped out to start the game. The smaller Contreras poked a one-out double to left field to put a runner in scoring position for Milwaukee, but Carlos Santana lined out to second base for the second out, holding Contreras at second. Zack Thompson handed out a two-out walk to Willy Adames to extend the inning to Josh Donaldson, who crushed a 1-1, center-cut fastball over the Brewers bullpen in left field for a three-run homer — his second with the Brewers. His homer traveled 415 feet and made it 3-0 Milwaukee. Tyrone Taylor flew out to center for the third out.
The Cardinals got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to the top of their order. Lars Nootbaar led off with a double to right field, and Paul Goldschmidt drove him in with a soft bloop single into right field to make it 3-1.
Adrian Houser struck out Jordan Walker on three pitches for the first out, and then walked the bigger Contreras. But after getting ahead 3-0, Richie Palacios flew out to left, and Luken Baker popped out in foul territory.
Thomspon started the inning by striking out Sal Frelick and Andruw Monasterio, and then gave up a two-out single to Blake Perkins. After the hit, Canha flew out to Walker in right for out number three.
It was a quick 1-2-3 inning for Houser, all on the ground. Jose Fermin, Juniel Querecuto, and Masyn Winn all grounded out.
The baby Contreras singled the other way to start the third — his second hit in two at-bats. Santana grounded into a force out at second base for the first out, with Querecuto throwing over to Fermin for the first out. Adames did the exact same thing for the second out, and Donaldson flew out to center for the third out.
Nootbaar once again led off an inning with a hit, slapping a base knock into left field to start the third. But Goldschmidt did not drive him in this time — instead he hit a ball softly to second that turned into an easy double play. Houser walked Walker with two outs, but the bigger Contreras grounded into a force out at second base to end the third inning.
Tyrone Taylor led off the fourth inning with a line drive to left field that just barely got above the wall and landed in that little dirt basket/nook/thing, before slapping against the higher wall and coming back into play. It was ruled a homer, and put Milwaukee up 4-1.
Thompson got three consecutive outs after the homer, with Frelick grounding out to first, Monasterio striking out again, and Perkins grounding out to shortstop.
Houser got groundouts from Palacios and Baker to start the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Jose Fermin hit a chopper towards Donaldson at third, who charged it and tried to make a barehanded play, but was unsuccessful. It was ruled an infield single for Fermin, raising his season-long OPS to.... .473. Juniel Querecuto was called out on strikes to end the inning.
After allowing the homer in the fourth, Thompson retired all three batters he saw in the fifth. Canha flew out to left, Conteras struck out swinging, and Santana grounded out to second.
The Cardinals were also retired in order in the fifth. Winn and Nootbaar both grounded out, and Goldschmidt struck out swinging at an inside fastball.
Right-hander Jacob Barnes took over on the mound for St. Louis after five innings from Thompson. He sat down all three batters in the sixth — Adames struck out swinging, Donaldson grounded out to second, and Taylor struck out swinging.
Houser came back out in the sixth and did the same, getting three outs on 12 pitches. Walker was called out on strikes on a sinker that was down and out of the zone, and then both Contreras and Palacios flew out to right field.
Frelick swung at the first pitch from Barnes in the seventh and hit the ball 101 mph into center field, but Lars Nootbaar was able to make the catch while running directly back towards the wall. Monasterio fell behind 1-2 against Barnes and then singled to right field. With Perkins hitting, Monasterio was thrown out by Ivan Herrera trying to steal second, for the second out (Herrera replaced Conteras in the sixth inning after he injured his wrist).
With two outs, Perkins hit a ground ball to the left of Fermin. The infielder dove out for it and then made a throw from his knees, but Goldschmidt got his own feet tangled up in an awkward position and Perkins was ruled safe at first — it appeared Goldschmidt may have shuffled his feet around and left the base momentarily. After a review and a challenge, the call was overturned and Perkins was ruled out. It looked really awkward, but Goldschmidt did keep a foot on the bag.
Right-hander Bryse Wilson was the first Milwaukee reliever of the game. He entered the game and immediately walked Luken Baker. Fermin popped out in foul territory, Querecuto flew out to left field, and Winn grounded out to first.
Right-hander Casey Lawrence was the second St. Louis reliever to pitch after two innings from Barnes. Canha pulled a ground ball down the third base line to start the inning that appeared to go over the bag, and he rounded first to turn it into a double. But the ball was called foul, Canha was sent back to the plate, and he eventually popped out to Goldschmidt at first. Contreras lined out to Nootbaar in center for the second out, and Santana flew out to Palacios in left.
Dominican right-hander Joel Payamps had the eighth inning. Nootbaar flew out to left and Goldschmidt grounded out to shortstop for the first two outs, but a Jordan Walker base hit and an Ivan Herrera hit by pitch brought Palacios to the plate as the potential tying run.
He didn’t tie the game, but he did push a base hit up the middle and into center field to drive in Walker, making it 4-2 in the eighth. Milwaukee pitching coach Chris Hook visited with Payamps with Luken Baker looming as the go-ahead run.
His first pitch to Baker was a backup breaking ball on the inside, a few inches off the plate. It was called a strike. Payamps threw the same pitch again, but this time it broke right down the middle for an actual strike. Baker eventually popped out to Donaldson at third to end the inning.
Lawrence struck out Adames and got Donaldson to pop out for the first two outs, and then th Brewers cooked up a two-out rally that was tough to watch. Tyrone Taylor started it off with his second homer of the game, a solo shot into the Milwaukee bullpen on an 0-2 slider that broke over the middle.
Then, Frelick slapped an opposite-field double down the third base line. Monasterio followed with a hard ground ball down the third base line as well, but Querecuto dove and was able to make the stop. He wasn’t able to throw him out at third, but stopping the ball kept Frelick from scoring. Lawrence walked Blake Perkins to load the bases with two outs, and Mark Canha brought them all home with a bases-clearing double down into the left field corner, making it 8-2 Milwaukee.
The little Contreras flew out to center field to send this one to the bottom of the ninth.
Right-hander J.B. Bukauskas, was called up from Triple-A earlier today, entered the game in the ninth, up six runs. He fell behind 3-0 to Fermin but worked back and struck him out. Querecuto grounded out to first base for the second out, and Winn grounded out for the fourth time in the game to end it.
FINAL: Brewers 8, Cardinals 2
Game four of this series is an afternoon tilt and will pit Miles Mikolas (7-12, 4.84 ERA) against Wade Miley (8-4, 3.38 ERA). Over his last seven starts, Mikolas is 1-4 with a 7.02 ERA. First pitch at Busch Stadium is set for 12:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 11, Cubs 7 - BOT 8
Twins 5, Reds 3