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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Cards rally to beat Brewers, take series

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  • ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals started a new addition to their starting rotation for the second straight day Sunday afternoon and just like Saturday, it was a victorious debut as the Cardinals rallied to beat the Brewers 3-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Busch Stadium III.
    “You obviously want to do well in a new place for sure,” Cardinals’ starting pitcher John Lackey said of his debut with St. Louis.
    Lackey was excited to come to St. Louis and join the Cardinals’ rotation.
    “It was great,” he said of making his first appearance in front of the hometown fans in his new home ball park. “That is one of the reasons I wanted to come over. I know it is a great baseball town and the atmosphere was awesome.”
    For six innings, Brewers’ starter Matt Garza dominated the Cardinals. St. Louis didn’t get its first hit until the bottom of the fifth when Matt Adams doubled to open the frame. But the slugging first baseman was eventually left stranded on third.
    “(Garza) wasn’t giving us much room,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “Their bullpen has been very good as well, so I didn’t think necessarily once we got him out of the game we were going to be able to just do as we wanted.”
    Things changed though in the seventh inning. Garza pulled himself from the game after tweaking his left oblique. So, the Brewers pinch hit for their starting pitcher in the top of the frame. Garza finished the day having thrown 71 pitches over six shutout innings while allowing just one hit and hitting one batter. However, he took a no decision as the Milwaukee bullpen could not hold the 2-0 lead.
    “(Garza) is a great pitcher,” Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras said through a translator. “But we got an opportunity to come back in the game later and we got some good at bats.”
    In the bottom of the seventh, Zach Duke took over on the mound and that’s when things fell apart for Milwaukee. Duke got Kolten Wong to ground out to start the inning but did not retire another batter.
    Matt Holliday launched a 3-1 offering 442 feet into the seats for a home run, cutting the Cardinals’ deficit to 2-1. When Adams singled, the Brewers’ manager quickly pulled Duke. But a pinching change didn’t stop the Cardinals’ hitters.
    “The homer that Holliday got was kind of theme with everybody getting excited,” Taveras said with the help of a translator. “We always compete and that is the way we are going to do it.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Jhonny Peralta singled to put runners on first and second. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single to right field that allowed Adams to score from second to tie the game at 2-2. Oscar Taveras then drove in Peralta with an RBI single for the Cardinals' fifth straight base hit, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
    “I went up there looking for a fastball,” Taveras said through an interpreter. “I got it and got a hit.”
    Matheny was pleased with how his team kept battling.
    “The guys put together some great at bats,” Matheny said. “Obviously with Holliday getting us going. Then right after that with Adams and then Peralta, then Pierzynski, and Taveras all getting big hits, just those tough, grinding at bats.”
    Since joining the lineup on a full time role with the trade of Allen Craig, Taveras has a four-game hitting streak with a home run, two doubles, and the game-winning RBI on Sunday.
    “I have had some good results the last few days,” Taveras said. “I have been working on my defense and offense and that is something I have never stopped (working on).”
    Lackey (12-7, 1-0 NL) threw 109 pitches over seven innings in his Cardinals’ debut while allowing only two runs and scattering seven hits. Lackey did not issue any walks and struck out four.
    “As far as a win for me, that is great,” Lackey said. “But more importantly, it is for the team. I am just glad we won the game.”
    The win was the 150th of Lackey’s career. He won 113 games as a member of the Angels and 36 more while with the Red Sox.
    “It was kind of cool to reach that number with the new team,” Lackey said. “It was a good day for sure.”
    The right hander pitched out of several jams. He got one double play ball and stranded five Brewers on the bases.
    “He had a great day for us,” Matheny said. “He mixed it in well. I thought he had good movement on his fastball when he wanted it. He had that good life that you saw right from the beginning with the ball jumping right out of his hand nice and easy. You have to admire his disposition out there. I felt like he was in control of the game and the next thing you look up and he has made it through the seventh.”
    Lackey allowed the two runs early. Ryan Braun doubled in the first and scored on an Aramis Ramirez single. In the second, Mark Reynolds blasted a 421-foot home run and that was it run-wise for the Brewers.
    Page 3 of 3 - “I felt good,” Lackey said. “I started locating some balls better as the game went on. I threw a bad slider for the homer and maybe one too many fastballs there in the first inning with a base open to Ramirez. I probably could have pitched around him a little bit more.”
    Pat Neshek came in and threw a scoreless eighth inning, allowing just a lone two-out single to Ramirez. Neshek gave way to Trevor Rosenthal, the Major League leader in saves, for the ninth. Rosenthal made it interesting, but struck out the side for his 34th save of the season.
    Rosenthal saved both of the Cardinals’ wins over the Brewers during the current home stand.
    The Cardinals are now tied with the first place Brewers in the loss column. However, St. Louis still trails Milwaukee by two W’s in the win column.
    “They have a great team and play hard,” Taveras said via his interpreter. “But we are too. It was a great game and thank God we got the result that we got against (Milwaukee).”
    After an off day on Monday, the Cardinals will start a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Boston will look completely different from the team the Cardinals lost the 2013 World Series to.
    NOTES: Rosenthal struck out Scooter Gennett for the second out of the ninth inning for his 200th career strikeout. … Holliday’s home run was the 25th of his career against the Brewers, his most against any one team. … Former Cardinal Joe Kelly is slated to pitch against his old team for his new team on Wednesday. Pitching opposite of Kelly will be Shelby Miller. Miller was the best man at Kelly’s wedding.

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