Brewers hold off Cardinals in sloppy opener at Busch
By Jenifer Langosch and Adam McCalvy
ST. LOUIS -- The game was hardly as pristine as the pregame ceremonies that marked the Cardinals' home opener on Monday, but it would be the Brewers who made the most of extra chances to grab a 5-4 series-opening win.
A crowd of 47,875, the largest in Busch Stadium III history, was on hand to watch the two National League Central clubs combine for four errors, four unearned runs and several other sloppy plays in the first of 19 head-to-head games this season. Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong and Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, both typically steady fielders, each committed a pair of miscues that led to run-scoring innings.
"We let them back in the game, but we [also] did a lot of good things," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Offensively, I like the way we battled and scratched out some runs. It's good to see we can do that instead of always having to hit the home run."
The first five runs of the game were scored on balls that didn't leave the infield. Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez delivered the first RBI hit of the afternoon with a seventh-inning double that pushed the Brewers ahead 4-2. Wong's second error led to another Milwaukee run before Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright closed the inning, his final one of the day.
"It just wasn't our day," Wong said. "Nothing really clicked, and it doesn't help when I put up two errors and both runs score on my errors." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Damage control: Amid a charged atmosphere on St. Louis' Opening Day, despite the defensive miscues behind him and without command of any off-speed pitches, Garza kept his cool. In all, he limited the Cardinals to 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in his 5 2/3 innings. More >
A forgettable first: Jason Heyward would probably like a do-over in his first St. Louis home opener. His first gaffe started before the first pitch was thrown, as Heyward accidently bypassed the line of Cardinals Hall of Famers as he was introduced. Manager Mike Matheny had to nudge him back over to shake hands. Heyward then went hitless in his first four at-bats, twice stranding a runner with an inning-ending strikeout. He also made an awkward play on a second-inning fly ball by Segura that eventually dropped for a double and helped the Brewers take an early 2-0 lead. He singled in his final at-bat of the day.
Crew miscues: Aside from a slick play to start the eighth inning, Segura had a forgettable day in the field, twice throwing away double-play relays -- one of which saddled him with an error-- and committing another throwing error in the seventh that helped the Cardinals shave two runs off their deficit. Right-fielder Ryan Braun also bobbled a ball in the seventh as St. Louis rallied to make it 5-4 against Jeffress. More >
Strong at short: Peralta pulled the Cardinals to within one with a two-run double in the eighth inning. It was his third multi-hit game and gave him as many hits (nine) through six games as he had in his first 12 last season. Peralta has hit safely in all six games for the Cardinals and has a nine-game hitting streak going back to 2014.
"This is a celebration that baseball in St. Louis has begun. You always say you're going to be the exact same team every day and that consistent stuff is the right thing, but the atmosphere when this place is alive and hot, you just can't help but get sucked into it." -- Matheny, on the home opener.More >
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Wily Peralta's bid to build on his breakthrough 2014 season got off to a good start last week at Miller Park, where he pitched seven innings against a red-hot Rockies club and surrendered only two runs. Peralta will aim for a repeat performance on Wednesday night against the Cardinals, against whom he went 3-1 last season with a 2.18 ERA.
Cardinals: After an off-day on Tuesday, the Cardinals will resume their series against Milwaukee with a 7:15 p.m. CT game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday. Lance Lynn took the loss in his season debut despite allowing just two hits over six innings. Lynn's next win will be the 50th of his career. Twenty-seven of those victories have come at home.