MILWAUKEE – It was a rough start for Adam Wainwright Saturday as the Milwaukee Brewers tagged the St. Louis Cardinals’ ace for five hits and a pair of runs in the first inning, but the offense bailed him out, hitting three home runs on the way to a 7-6 win over the Brewers.
Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso launched home runs that gave the Cardinals’ the lead while Allen Craig had his first homer of the year to extend the lead. But it was a single, error and a stolen base that won the game.
“That is probably the first time it has happened,” Jay said of himself, Craig, and Descalso all homering in the same game. “So it is nice to say that we were all able to contribute to the game. We had a part in the win today.”
After giving up the lead for the second time in the bottom of the eighth, Shane Robinson led off the ninth with a single and took second on an error by the centerfielder. Then Robinson stole third base on such a good jump, that it went uncontested. Jay drove in Robinson and picked up his fourth RBI of the game.
Jay finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, a run scored and a career-high 4 RBIs.
“Jon, what a big day he had,” Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny said. “He showed some real juice off the bat with the home run. … The ball sounds different coming off his bat right now. He is seeing the ball well and his timing looks right.”
The game went back and forth all day though with five lead changes.
“They just kept fighting and kept going,” Matheny said. “It’s that same kind of resilient team I think we saw that really defined that club last year. I think we are starting to see some of those tendencies again.”
Milwaukee scored twice in the bottom of the first inning when Jean Segura blasted a two-run homer. However, St. Louis countered with a three-run shot in the top half of the inning when Jay drilled his third home run of the season to score Craig and David Freese.
St. Louis added a short-lived insurance run in the top of the sixth inning, when Craig hit over the right field fence to put the Cardinals up 4-2.
But, Wainwright was unable to hold the lead.
“I had to fight with location a little bit,” Wainwright said. “It wasn’t erratically out of the zone. I left some balls over the middle of the plate more than I normally would. They (Milwaukee) have a very good lineup over there and will hurt you if you do that.”
Page 2 of 3 - In the bottom of the sixth, Wainwright gave up a gopher ball to Carlos Gomez. The solo shot was the sixth of the year for Gomez.
A single and a double then put runners in scoring position for Milwaukee with one out. With the pitcher’s spot up in the order, Jonathan Lucroy pinch-hit for Brewers’ starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo and came up with a two-run single that drove in the first runs of the game not to come off a home run.
That gave Milwaukee the lead, but as with the theme of the day, the Brewers’ pen was unable to hold a lead either.
Tom Gorzelanny took over for Gallardo and he started the inning by walking Jay. Pete Kozma then singled, advancing Jay to second. But, Jay kept going and tried to take third on the hit. He was thrown out on a perfect throw by Brewers rightfielder Ryan Braun.“I am going to tell (Jay) again what aggressive base running that was,” Matheny said. “That is what we have got to do. They have to put the throw right on the money and we want our guys to be aggressive. We don’t want them tentative, especially a guy like Jon. That is part of his game. That is the kind of base running team we need to be. We are not going to steal a ton of bags, but we have got to get that extra one. He made his mind up from the start and a perfect throw got him. Tip your hat and we are going to do it again next time.”
That’s when Descalso came to the plate for his first at bat of the day. Descalso deposited Gorzelanny’s third offering into the right field seats for a two-run shot. The home run was Descalso’s first of the season and it gave the Redbirds a 6-5 lead.
Milwaukee outhit the Cardinals 14-10, with the top three spots in the Cardinals’ lineup going a combined 0-for-14 with four strikeouts. However, St. Louis outhomered the Brewers 3-2 with six of its seven runs coming off the long ball.
After his shaky first inning, Wainwright settled into a groove for a few innings. At one point, he retired eight straight batters with Milwaukee managing only two hits off the Cardinals’ starter from the second inning through the fifth inning, but he was unable to make it out of the sixth.
“In the sixth inning, I got ahead 0-2 on both the guys that had damaging hits,” Wainwright said. “Lucroy and Gomez, I just didn’t put them away. I had three 0-2 hits today, so I will work on that and make sure I execute better when I am ahead in the count.”
Page 3 of 3 - Joe Kelly relived Wainwright and got Segura to ground into an inning-ending double play to end Milwaukee’s rally.
Wainwright struck out five and walked none. However he allowed 11 hits and hit two batters, Milwaukee’s Norichika Aoki twice. Additionally, Wainwright was charged with five runs, all of which were earned.
Rookie Seth Maness pitched 0.2 innings to earn his first major league win in his second appearance, while Edward Mujica worked a 1-2-3 in the ninth for his eighth save of the season.
“What a great job,” Matheny said. “He had the foul ball that was hit hard, then after that he got the ball down and gets a big double play in the eighth. It was huge.”
The Cardinals will look to complete the four-game sweep this afternoon when St. Louis and Milwaukee conclude the four-game series.