A day after clinching the NL Central, the Brewers awoke from their post-celebration slumber this morning and faced the stark realization that they still had to go to the ballpark and face Richie Palacios and the St. Louis Cardinals.
That sentence, from start to finish, is not one that I thought I’d be writing six months ago. Not in a million years.
Here are the lineups for the Cardinals and the Brewers tonight in Milwaukee:
- Tommy Edman, 2B
- Jordan Walker, RF
- Luken Baker, 1B
- Juan Yepez, DH
- Lars Nootbaar, CF
- Ivan Herrera, C
- Juniel Querecuto, 3B
- Richie Palacios, LF
- Masyn Winn, SS
Zack Thompson - SP
And the Brewers:
- Sal Frelick, RF
- William Contreras, DH
- Tyrone Taylor, LF
- Victor Caratini, C
- Rowdy Tellez, 1B
- Andruw Monasterio, 2B
- Blake Perkins, CF
- Brian Anderson, 3B
- Brice Turang, SS
Wade Miley - SP
Welp, the Cardinals got up, then surrendered that lead thanks to a few bone-headed defensive plays, and then had a great chance to win it in the ninth. Jordan Walker got a center-cut fastball from Devin Williams, but just missed it.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals just want to end the season with 69 wins. I get it.
Tommy Edman swung at the second pitch of the game and pushed a ground ball base hit into right field. Jordan Walker followed and swung at the first pitch he saw (so Miley’s third of the game) and hit the ball right back to Miley, which quickly turned into a double play. Luken Baker worked a seven-pitch walk to keep the inning alive, but Juan Yepez flew out to left for out number three.
Thompson struck out Sal Frelick and William Contreras, both with fastballs, and then Tyrone Taylor flew out to shallow right field to end the inning.
Lars Nootbaar led off the second with an infield single, chopped slowly towards Brice Turang at short. Ivan Herrera followed with a 110 mph ground ball up the middle and into center field, moving Noot into scoring position. Juniel Querecuto tried to give himself up with a sac bunt, but it actually turned into a bunt single down the third base line, loading the bases with nobody out. It was Querecuto’s first base hit in exactly seven years.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Richie Palacios flew out in foul territory, and it was not deep enough for anyone to move. Rookie shortstop Masyn Winn came up big with a 373-foot sac fly to deep center field, scoring Nootbaar and putting the Cardinals on the board first. Edman grounded into a force out for the third out, with St. Louis up 1-0.
After Victor Caratini grounded out, Thompson handed out a one-out walk to Rowdy Tellez and plunked Monasterio with an 0-1 curveball. But Blake Perkins swung over the top of a cuveball, hitting a ground ball to second that turned into an inning-ending double play.
Wade Miley worked his first 1-2-3 inning in the third. Walker hit a ground ball the other way down the first base line, but was robbed of extra bases by Tellez, who dove out and snagged it before it could leak out of the infield. Baker got ahead of Miley 3-1, but wound up striking out for out number two, and Yepez flew out to right.
Brian Anderson and Brice Turang reached with back-to-back singles to start the third inning — Anderson’s was a line drive and Turang’s was a short little bunt. Frelick flew out to shallow left for the first out and Contreras flew out to center field, but neither was deep enough for Anderson to tag up. Taylor struck out swinging to send this one to the fourth.
Another 1-2-3 inning for Miley. Nootbaar hit a slow chopper down the first base line, and Miley ran over, grabbed it and backhand flipped to first base to beat Nootbaar for the first out. Herrera grounded out to third for out number two, and Querecuto struck out looking on three pitches.
Thompson punched out Caratini with a high fastball to start the inning, but hung a first-pitch curve to Tellez and the thick first baseman drove it down into the right field corner for a one-out double. Monasterio grounded out to short for out number two, and Perkins popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
Palacios reached base with an infield single towards second base to start the top of the fifth. Winn muscled a fat, 2-0 changeup out to deep center, but Perkins was able to make the catch on the warning track for the first out of the inning. Edman ripped a 103 mph single up the middle, his second base hit of the game. With two runners on and one out, Walker hit it softly right back to Miley, who pivoted and threw to second to start the inning-ending double play.
Anderson struck out to start the inning, followed by a Turang groundout and a Sal Frelick popout in foul territory.
Abner Uribe replaced Miley in the top of the sixth after five solid innings, although Miley would’ve liked to go deeper when he threw 89 pitches. Luken Baker continued the parade of infield hits tonight, tapping a soft ground ball towards Anderson at third base. The throw to first was high and well over the head of Tellez, but Baker might’ve beaten it anyway and was awarded a hit.
Yepez struck out for the first out of the sixth inning, but Uribe walked Nootbaar after seven pitches to put two runners on. Uribe’s first pitch to Herrera was a 100 mph fastball that went way off the plate and all the way to the backstop, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Herrera ended up striking out on a slider without scoring either runner. Querecuto didn’t directly drive one in either, but Uribe’s 1-0 pitch to him was a sinker that went too far inside, and Caratini couldn’t grab it. It went all the way back to the backstop for Uribe’s second wild pitch of the inning, allowing Baker to score and make it 2-0 St. Louis. Querecuto eventually grounded out for the third out.
Down 2-0, Contreras got the Brewers’ offense going with his 38th double of the season. Taylor followed that up with a double of his own, pulling it down the third base line to score Contreras and make it 2-1 St. Louis. Palacios throw back into the infield was not anywhere close to third, which caused Querecuto to vacate and go catch it in foul territory. Meanwhile, nobody covered third so Taylor moved up to third base on the error.
Caratini popped out to first base for the first out, with Taylor holding at third. With one out, the infield moved in. It paid off, as Tellez hit a ground ball to Luken Baker at first base, who double clutched before throwing home, where Herrera was waiting. Herrera caught Baker’s throw in time, but clearly thought there was a force at home — there was not. Herrera stepped on the plate and then looked towards first base, making absolutely no effort to tag Taylor, who jogged across the plate to score the tying run. Tellez was also safe at first. Herrera was not charged with an error, but was certainly deserving of one.
That snafu was the last straw for Marmol, so he went to pull Thompson. He brought in right-hander Jacob Barnes, a former Brewer, to face six and seven hitters. He got both Monasterio and Perkins to fly out to center field to end the sixth inning, all tied up 2-2.
Right-hander Joel Payamps took the ball in the seventh for Milwaukee. He struck out Palacios, struck out Winn, and got Edman to fly out to left field.
Anderson led off the bottom of the seventh against Barnes and took the first pitch he saw the other way into right field for a double — as the go-ahead run.
Marmol went out to the mound and took the ball from Barnes and called in Matthew Liberatore to face two upcoming lefties — Turang and Frelick. Turang hit a soft, weak popup that Winn caught for the first out, and Frelick looked at a curveball for strike three for the second.
But then Liberatore faced a right-handed hitter, Contreras. He intentionally walked him to face Taylor instead, but he paid for it dearly as Taylor laced his second double of the game into center field, scoring Anderson to put Milwaukee up 3-2. After Tyrone gave the Brewers the lead, Caratini grounded out to third to end the seventh.
Left-hander Andrew Chafin, who had a tough time throwing strikes in game one, took the mound in the eighth with a one-run lead. Walker greeted him with a line drive single to right field. Chafin walked Baker on five pitches, putting the potential go-ahead run on base as well as the tying run. Yepez continued his tough day by popping out on the infield for the first out.
With one out, Nootbaar hit a ground ball to the right of Tellez at first. The burly first baseman (and friend of Dylan Carlson) dove out and made the play, and then threw across his body to a covering Chafin. The pitcher did beat Nootbaar to the bag, but upon review he never had the ball in his glove when he stepped on the bag, so the out call was reversed and Nootbaar was ruled safe to load the bases.
With one out, Herrera hit a soft ground ball to second base and rolled into an inning-ending double play, stranding all three runners. The kicker was that he slid feet-first into first base, which has been proven, over and over, to actually take longer!
Libby came back out for the bottom of the eighth to face Tellez, and got him to ground out. Then Oli brought in swingman Casey Lawrence, who got Monasterio to line out to third base and then struck out Perkins with a slider that appeared to slide down and out of the zone, but home plate Jeremy Riggs was ready for this game to be over, just like us.
Juniel Querecuto, the proud owner of two career hits, faced Devin Williams first and hit a soft line drive towards Turang at short. Turang leapt up and made the catch. Palacios struck out for the second out, but then Winn worked a long at-bat against Williams and earned a walk on the eighth pitch. Williams followed that up by walking Edman on four straight, which put the tying run in scoring position.
Knowing Williams was dying to get back in the zone, Jordan Walker jumped on the first pitch he saw, hammering it into left field where it ultimately died on the warning track for the final out of the game.
FINAL: Brewers 3, Cardinals 2
The Cardinals (69-89) can win this final series of the season tomorrow against the Brewers (89-69), but to do it they’ll have to beat Corbin Burnes (10-8, 3.46 ERA). St.Louis will counter with Dakota Hudson (6-2, 4.95 ERA), and first pitch is set for 3:10 p.m. in Milwaukee.
Around the Central
Guardians 4, Reds 3
Phillies 7, Pirates 6
Braves 6, Cubs 5