Jack Flaherty put in a solid six inning effort, but solo homers from the Brewers, combined with defensive miscues and a pivotal wild pitch from Alex Reyes, sunk the Redbirds in extra innings.
The Cardinals continued a series with the Brewers on Wednesday as Jack Flaherty got the start across from Freddy Peralta. Flaherty had a good start, tossing six strong innings but getting tagged for two solo home runs.
The Cards got to Peralta early and put up three runs but were shut down by the bullpen after Peralta left the game in the third with an injury. The Brewers tied the game in the ninth with a home run off of Alex Reyes, then put up three more in the top of the tenth as the wheels came off for the Cards. Reyes threw a ball away on a soft grounder back to the mound and then, after recording two outs, spiked a wild pitch in the dirt that allowed the Brewers to take the lead. Lars Nootbaar then misplayed a line drive in right, allowing a third run to score in the tenth. The Cards got one run back in the bottom of the tenth but it was too little, too late as the Brewers came back to win 6-4.
Kolten Wong led off for the Crew and chopped a fastball to short for the first out. Willy Adames went down looking at a fastball at the knees. Christian Yelich then grounded out to second to retire the side in order.
Tommy Edman popped a curveball to shallow right where Wong made an over-the-shoulder catch. Paul Goldschmidt turned on a fastball in on the hands and grounded it down the third baseline for a double. Nolan Arenado went down on three pitches as he was rung up by the first base ump on a check swing. Tyler O’Neill grounded a 3-0 slider through the left side for a hit, scoring Goldschmidt to give the Cards a 1-0 lead. Yadier Molina got hit by a fastball up and in, putting two on with two outs for Lars Nootbaar, who singled to center to score O’Neill and stretch the lead to 2-0. Paul DeJong grounded out to third to end the frame.
Eduardo Escobar grounded out to second on a 3-2 fastball to open the second. Omar Narvaez jumped on a first-pitch sinker and grounded it softly to second for the second out. Avisail Garcia then chopped a 1-1 slider to short to put the Brewers down in order for the second inning in a row.
Harrison Bader grounded a 1-2 fastball to first for the first out in the bottom of the frame. Flaherty popped out to first. Edman doubled down the right field line on a 2-2 curveball below the zone. Goldschmidt followed with another double off the right field wall, scoring Edman to make it 3-0. Arenado struck out swinging over a slider for the last out.
Rowdy Tellez grounded out softly to short for the first out of the third. Jackie Bradley, Jr. struck out swinging over a curveball for out number two. Peralta followed with a four-pitch strikeout as Flaherty pitched perfectly through three frames.
Hunter Strickland replaced Peralta on the mound after Peralta appeared to injure himself on an off-balance swing at a slider in the top of the inning. O’Neill flew out to center. Yadi followed with a popout on an 0-1 fastball. Nootbaar walked to extend the inning to DeJong, who flew out to right to end the frame.
Wong flew a first-pitch fastball to center for the first out. Adames took an outside fastball to right field, lifting it just over the wall for a solo home run to bring the score to 3-1.
Yelich was called out on a 3-2 fastball that probably should have been ball four for out number two. Escobar followed with a single to left, but Narvaez lined out to right to send the game to the bottom of the fourth.
Bader swung at a first-pitch fastball and skied it to center for the first out. Flaherty worked a walk after an eight-pitch plate appearance. Edman then flew out to center and Goldschmidt popped out to first to strand Flaherty.
Garcia hit an 0-1 curve into the Brewers’ bullpen to close the score to 3-2.
Tellez singled on a swinging bunt down the third baseline and moved to second after the off-balance throw to first from Flaherty went wide. Bradley, Jr. was frozen by an 0-2 fastball in the zone for out number one. Tyrone Taylor pinch hit for Strickland and struck out swinging at a 1-2 slider. Wong then grounded out to Flaherty as Milwaukee failed to capitalize on the scoring opportunity.
Jake Cousins relieved Strickland and retired Arenado on a groundout to second. O’Neill then struck out swinging and Yadi went down looking, both at sliders.
Adames drew a leadoff walk. Yelich grounded softly into a fielder’s choice at second. Escobar struck out chasing a high fastball. Narvaez did the same, chasing a sinker way off the outside corner of the plate.
Brent Suter came out of the Brewers’ pen to pitch the sixth. Nootbaar chopped out to second to lead off the bottom of the frame. DeJong drew a four-pitch walk. Bader then singled to put two on. Jose Rondon pinch hit for Flaherty and struck out chasing an elevated fastball. Edman rolled a first-pitch fastball to Wong for the final out.
Genesis Cabrera pitched the seventh and retired Garcia on a groundout to first. Tellez followed suit with another groundout to Goldschmidt. Bradley, Jr. then grounded an 0-2 fastball to second for the third out.
Miguel Sanchez replaced Cousins for the Brewers in the seventh and he retired Goldschmidt with a groundout to second. Arenado struck out on another appeal to first on what looked like a checked swing for the second time on the night. O’Neill beat out a swinging bunt to third for a two-out base hit. He was stranded there, however, as Molina grounded a changeup to second to close the frame.
Arenado was ejected before the top of the eighth after he had more words for the first base umpire regarding his two check swings. The ejection definitely seemed weak as Arenado was yelling towards the first base umpire on his way to his position at third and didn’t seem to be trying to show up the ump. Edmundo Sosa took Arenado’s place at third.
Giovanny Gallegos replaced Cabrera to face the pinch hitter Luis Urias. Urias went down chasing a slider low and away. Wong followed with a single to center and stole second on a high throw from Yadi during Adames’ plate appearance. Ademas walked to put two on. Yelich popped a 2-2 fastball to third for out number two. Escobar struck out looking at a high 3-2 fastball, stranding both runners.
Daniel Norris came in to pitch for Milwaukee as Urias stayed in to play third after a double switch. Nootbaar struck out swinging at a changeup below the knees. DeJong worked a six-pitch walk. Bader followed and grounded into a fielder’s choice. Austin Dean pinch hit for Gallegos and struck out swinging at a low 1-2 changeup.
Alex Reyes came in to close the game in the ninth and struck Narvaez out looking at a slider way off the plate. Narvaez argued the call (rightfully so) and was ejected, followed by the ejection of Craig Counsell. Garcia followed the ejections with his second home run of the night, tying the game at 3-3 (highlight in the tenth inning section). Tellez then grounded out to short and Bradley, Jr. flew out to center to send the game to the bottom of the frame.
Josh Hader came in to pitch the ninth for the Brewers and hit Edman on the back foot with an 0-2 slider. Goldschmidt popped out to first. Sosa lined out to right field. O’Neill chased an outside changeup, striking out to send the game to extras.
The Brewers started the first with Bradley, Jr. on second base. Urias tapped a fastball back to Reyes, who threw the ball away trying to get Urias at first. Runners ended up at second and third with no outs. Wong swung at a first-pitch fastball and skied it to shallow left for out number one. Adames struck out swinging at a slider in the dirt for the second out. Reyes then spiked a changeup in the dirt that got away from Yadi, allowing Bradley, Jr. to score from third to give the Crew a 4-3 lead. Yelich then dropped a bunt to Sosa and beat the throw, scoring Urias from third to stretch the lead to 5-3. Jace Peterson pinch hit for Hader and singled to right field. Nootbaar misplayed the hop as the ball bounced high and away from him, allowing Yelich to score from first to make it 6-3. Manny Pina, hitting in place of the ejected Narvaez, struck out to end a nightmare inning for the Cards.
Devin Williams came in to convert the save for the Brewers as O’Neill started on second base for the Cardinals. Yadi laced a changeup down in the zone to center field for a hit, scoring O’Neill to close the deficit to 6-4.
Nootbaar grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out. DeJong and Bader both went down swinging, securing a 6-4 win for Milwaukee.
The Cards drop to 61-58 after the loss and now sit 12 games back in the decision which is likely well out of reach. The Reds and Padres also lost on Wednesday, so the Cardinals still sit 4 games back of the second Wild Card spot, with Cincinatti second in the race at 1.5 games back. The Cards look to avoid the sweep on Thursday as Jon Lester faces off against Brandon Woodruff at 6:45 PM CT.
The umpiring crew had a pretty rough game on Wednesday. It’ll be interesting to see what the umpire scorecard looks like for the strike zone, but both teams were frustrated by what seemed like an inconsistent zone for the whole game. That, combined with bad calls on Arenado’s check swings and his ejection made for a bad look for the umpiring crew. Arenado could have and maybe should have let the issue rest after going back to the dugout, but his behavior didn’t seem egregious enough to warrant ejection unless you count his dispute as arguing balls and strikes.
Final Pitching Lines
Flaherty: 6 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / 2 HR
Cabrera (H, 21): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Gallegos (H, 20): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Reyes (L, 5-6)(BS, 2): 2 IP / 3 H / 4 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 1 HR
Peralta: 2 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Strickland: 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Cousins: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Suter: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Sanchez: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Norris: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Hader (W, 4-2): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Williams (S, 3): 1 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR