By Jenifer Langosch and Adam McCalvy
MLB.com |@AdamMcCalvy |
ST. LOUIS -- Having limped into July on the heels of their worst month in four years, the error-prone Cardinals took advantage of another club's miscue and Jaime Garcia's eight-inning effort to halt a seven-game home losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Brewers. Friday night's victory was the Cards' first at Busch Stadium since June 5.
After trading runs early, the Cardinals broke the game open with a five-run fourth. Ten batters came to the plate in the frame against Matt Garza, whose inability to make a routine fielding play compounded the inning. Yadier Molina followed the error with a go-ahead RBI single. Garcia contributed a run-scoring hit, and Matt Holliday punctuated the inning with a two-run single.
"Singles and two-out hits," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose club went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. "Overall, I thought the guys did a good job of the situational hitting, just putting together whatever they'd give us."
Holliday paced the Cardinals' offense with a three-RBI game, his sixth this season. His second run-scoring hit knocked out Garza, who allowed nine hits and seven runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings. Garza's career ERA at Busch Stadium rose to 5.94.
"We haven't played well against this team," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Lately it's felt like in a couple series they've swung the bats really well and scored a bunch of runs against us. Tonight was a little bit of both -- we didn't get anything going offensively and gave up too many runs. But I don't have any explanation for it. We just haven't played well."
The last time Garcia pitched this deep into a game was back on April 14, when he twirled a one-hit shutout against the Brewers. He scattered four hits en route to his sixth win and gave up just one hit after escaping a bases-loaded mess in the fourth.
"It has nothing to do with them not being a good team," said Garcia, whose 11 wins against the Brewers are his most against any opponent. "I knew it was going to be tough. They've got a lot of guys hitting well in that lineup, but I was able to keep the ball down and keep them off balance."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Back on track: Cardinals rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz didn't miss a beat after sitting for three days to allow swelling around his right eye to subside. Diaz delivered an RBI double in his first at-bat since fouling a ball off his face against the Royals and finished with a pair of hits. Over his last three games, Diaz has tallied six extra-base hits. In the field, Diaz recorded 11 assists, the most by a Cards rookie since Stu Martin had 11 as a second baseman in 1936. More >
"He throws a lot of strikes, a lot of sinker balls so it was a lot of ground balls," Diaz said of playing behind Garcia. "It was a busy day, but a good win for us."
First to 20:Chris Carter became the first Brewers hitter to reach the 20-homer plateau when he took Garcia deep leading off the second inning, tying the score at 1. More than half of his hits this season have gone for extra bases (35 of 63), though most of that damage has come in home games. Friday's homer was Carter's sixth of the season on the road.
Home Sweet Home: The Cardinals' recent inability to win at home has been tied to an absent offense. The unit finally broke out by scoring more runs (five) in the fourth inning than it had in any of its previous seven home games. The club had averaged two runs per game during its losing streak. With the win, St. Louis avoided losing eight straight at home for the first time since 1958.
"We've won at home. And we'll win a lot more at home," Matheny said, downplaying the change of fortunes at Busch Stadium. "Maybe it won't be talked about as much here for a couple of days. Hopefully we can roll off quite a few in a row."
Error haunts: Garza wasn't hit all that hard in the Cardinals' big inning; of the five singles in the frame, only Garcia's, at 99.8 mph, according to Statcast™, had an exit velocity exceeding 93 mph. But Garza compounded his trouble by being unable to throw to first base for the second time in his last three starts. Garza's off-target shovel pass on Matt Adams' comebacker extended the inning for three of the five runs to score unearned. More >
"No, if anything it helps our focus. They're a good team. They always go out and compete every day. It just seems like things don't go our way sometimes here. When things don't go our way, we don't quit and fold up. But they're definitely a team that we want to beat." -- Milwaukee second baseman Scooter Gennett, asked whether the Brewers put too much pressure on themselves against the Cardinals
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With two hits on Friday, Molina sits one shy of 1,500 for his career. That next hit will make Molina the 34th catcher in Major League history to reach that milestone.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Milwaukee begins a stretch of three straight day games as the series continues on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. CT. It's a tough matchup for scheduled starter Jimmy Nelson, who is 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA over his last five starts, and 0-5 with a 9.51 ERA in six career games (five starts) vs. the Cardinals. He's given up seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings over a pair of appearances at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals: Right-hander Adam Wainwright has more wins (12) over Milwaukee than any other club in the Majors, and he'll have a chance to add another on Saturday when he starts the middle game of the series. This will be Wainwright's first start against the Brewers since he exited an April 2015 outing against them after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.