Bats break out vs. Lynn as Crew takes finale from Cards
By Jenifer Langosch and Adam McCalvy
MILWAUKEE -- Featuring a lineup without Ryan Braun or Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers broke out of their recent funk to salvage the final game of their homestand with a 6-3 victory over the Cardinals at Miller Park on Sunday.
All six runs came off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, who had allowed just three earned runs in his previous three starts. But Milwaukee slugged six extra-base hits against him, including an RBI triple from Gerardo Parra, a two-run homer from Adam Lind and consecutive run-scoring doubles by Khris Davis and Elian Herrera. Those doubles came in a three-run fifth that padded what had been a two-run Brewers' lead. The six extra-base hits tied a season high, while the half a dozen runs marked the second-largest output by Milwaukee's offense this year.
"We did everything that we know we can do." said Brewers starter Mike Fiers, who credited his bullpen for hanging on after Fiers pitched four high-traffic innings. "Hopefully, this is one of those games that jump-starts us and gets us going."
The Cardinals, despite winning the series and taking four of six games on their road trip, welcome a flight out of town. They leave Milwaukee having lost Yadier Molina (right knee), Adam Wainwright (left Achilles) and Jason Heyward (left groin) to injuries. Heyward's injury came as he ran down Parra's triple into the right-field corner on Sunday. The club had a late scare, too, when left fielder Mark Reynolds was slow to get up after running hard into the wall after making a leaping catch. He remained in the game.
"We don't play the game to avoid injury," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Guys go hard and injuries happen in this game. We just have to be able to have somebody else step in."
St. Louis had Fiers on the ropes early but allowed him to wiggle out of bases-loaded jams in the second and third. Sunday's win for Milwaukee was its ninth in its last 32 regular-season home games against St. Louis.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED First on the board: Parra carried a .424 OPS into his first start in the three-hole in six years, but boosted that figure with a third-inning triple that scored Logan Schafer for a 1-0 lead. It marked only the seventh time in 19 games this season that the Brewers scored first. Lind followed by making it 3-0 with a 411-foot home run to right field.
"To get three runs early, to get a lead, and to get it with a home run which we haven't many of," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, "I thought that was huge to just get us going and get that good feeling again."
Heyward hobbling: In a series where Molina and Wainwright had already exited games early due to injury, the Cardinals pulled Heyward out in the third inning on Sunday when he came up hobbling after chasing a hit into the right-field corner. The Cardinals later announced the injury as left groin tightness. Heyward is listed as day to day. It is not expected to land Heyward on the disabled list. More >
"It was just a weird play," Heyward said. "I went into the corner trying to get it in as quick as possible and my back foot kind of stuck in and slid at the same time."
Short leash: Fiers, coming off a loss to the Reds in which he served up a pair of grand slams, stranded eight runners on base while throwing 71 pitches in the first three innings, twice leaving the bases loaded. But when he surrendered a run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth on a long Mark Reynolds home run, Roenicke made an early call to the bullpen. Fiers' 4-plus inning outing snapped the team's streak of quality starts at four games. More >
Squandered scoring opportunities: The Cardinals had multiple chances to take an early lead but stranded eight runners over the first three innings. The club loaded the bases with two out in the second, only to watch Heyward hit into an inning-ending force out. Fiers then navigated his way out of third-inning trouble by striking out Peter Bourjos and Tony Cruz with the bases again full. St. Louis stranded 14 runners in all. More >
"Obviously, if we take the lead, it deflates them and they don't have as much energy," Reynolds said. "Fiers made the pitches when he needed to, and the bullpen did a great job coming in, didn't give up the big hit."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Matt Carpenter had his hitting streak snapped at 12 games, but by drawing a second-inning walk, he extended his on-base streak to 24 games. It is the longest such active streak in the Majors.
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: The Cardinals will open a 10-game homestand on Monday with the first of four games against the Phillies. John Lackey draws the start for St. Louis against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. Lackey was knocked around for five runs in an outing against the Nationals last week but is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA in six career starts at Busch Stadium.
Brewers: The Brewers hit the road for a weeklong trip to Cincinnati and Chicago, finishing a stretch of 22 consecutive games against National League Central opponents that has not gone well. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee's most consistent starting pitcher so far with a 1.35 ERA, starts Monday night against the Reds' Jason Marquis at 6:10 p.m. CT.