Cardinals defeat Brewers, lose Wainwright to ankle injury
By Adam McCalvy and Jenifer Langosch
MILWAUKEE -- The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright to an ankle injury after four innings but won another ballgame, 5-3 over the Brewers, and opened a 10-game gap between the top and bottom teams in the National League Central.
Kolten Wong tripled home a run and scored on an error in the second inning, and Matt Holliday hit three-run home run in the seventh as St. Louis won for the ninth time in 10 games. The Brewers snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak against the Cardinals by scoring three runs in the eighth, but lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
Wainwright was hurt during a fifth inning at-bat and did not log the innings needed for a victory. It went instead to Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle, who struck out Ryan Braun and Adam Lind to strand a pair of runners on base in a two-run game in the sixth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wainwright leaves injured: After facing the minimum and throwing just 35 pitches through four innings, Wainwright had his evening abruptly end when he suffered an injury to the back of his left ankle striding out of the batters' box. Leading off the top of the fifth, Wainwright stumbled after hitting a pop up and then had to be helped back to the dugout. The severity of the injury was not immediately known. Wainwright will undergo an MRI in St. Louis on Monday.
"Well, I mean, it was by far the best I felt this year," Wainwright said of his first four innings. "I really had things working. I started changing up arm angles a little bit and working in and out better than I had and was just having a lot of fun out there. It reminded me a lot of last year. Those strides I was talking about making over the course of the year, I was starting to make them today. That was the hardest part, knowing that I was making such good adjustments and now I have a setback." More >
Little League homer: The Cardinals scored first for the second straight night, plating a pair of runs when Wong circled the bases in the second inning. Wong hit an RBI triple off Brewers starter Wily Peralta, then trotted home when Brewers shortstop Jean Segura's errant throw to third base skipped into the visitor's dugout. It was a bad omen for the Brewers, whose opponents have scored first in 12 of 18 games this season, all Milwaukee losses.
Anchors Aweigh: Four days after getting his Major League summons, Lieutenant Mitch Harris made his Major League debut in relief of Wainwright. With his appearance, Harris, a 2008 draftee who returned to the organization in 2013 after serving five years in the United States Navy, became the first graduate of the US Naval Academy since Nemo Gaines in 1921 to appear in a big league game. Harris struck out the first batter he faced (Lind) and threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
"It means a lot," Harris said of representing the US Naval Academy. "That place was special to me. The Navy was special to me. To be able to represent them and bring light to them means the world to me." More >
Holliday homers: After opening the year with 18 singles and a double, Holliday connected for his first home run, a three-run shot off Jeremy Jeffress. With the blast, Holliday extended his on-base streak to 18 games, second-longest in the Majors behind teammate Matt Carpenter, who has reached in 23 consecutive games.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers are only the 11th Major League team in the divisional era (since 1969) to lose at least 15 times in the first 18 games of a season, and the first since the 2010 Orioles started 2-16. There are only four National League teams on the list: the 1973 Cardinals, 1988 Braves and this year's Brewers (each of whom started 3-15) and the 1997 Cubs (2-16). More >
Wainwright's four scoreless innings lowered the rotation's ERA to 1.97 mark, easily the lowest of any starting staff in the Majors this year. It's also the lowest by a Cardinals rotation through 16 games since the 1943 rotation had a 1.78 ERA during the same timeframe.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke improved to 4-0 in challenges this season after a lightning-quick review in the sixth inning. Segura was initially called out by first-base umpire CB Bucknor on a Cardinals double play, but replays showed Segura beat the relay throw by a split-second. When Gerardo Parra followed with a single, the Brewers had the tying runner on base, but Belisle came on to strike out Braun and Lind to end the threat.
But the Brewers challenged again in the ninth inning -- it was bench coach Jerry Narron this time -- and lost their perfect record. Replay confirmed that Segura was out at first base on a game-ending groundout.
ROENICKE GETS RUN
Both of those called third strikes in the sixth came on borderline pitches called by home-plate umpire Dale Scott, who ejected Roenicke after a pitching change in the top of the seventh inning. It was Roenicke's first ejection this season. More >
Cardinals: They will close out a six-game road trip with Sunday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. CT in Miller Park. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn will take the mound looking for his second win this year. He's allowed only one earned run in each of his three starts but has garnered a total of just five runs of support.
Brewers: Right-hander Mike Fiers is still seeking his first quality start of the season as he takes the mound against the Cardinals to cap Milwaukee's second homestand. Fiers last pitched Tuesday against the Reds in a 16-10 loss and became the first pitcher in five years to surrender two grand slams in the same game.