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Milwaukee played to the series script again tonight, the hero coming on late. Tonight’s hero was an understudy of sorts. Playing the part of Billy Hall, Ryan Braun clobbered a ninth inning mistake pitch by closer Ryan Franklin, with a man on base no less, putting the Brewers up 4-3 and Saloman Torres closing as a closer is supposed to, with plenty of rest and one inning to throw.
Once again the Cards didn’t get much out of a starter, Todd Wellemeyer going only five innings. He gave up only two runs, but got into a little too much trouble with walks, issuing five free passes to only two strikeouts, using 92 pitches just to get through the five innings he threw.
The Cards took an early 1-0 lead when Rick Ankiel singled home Skip Schumaker. They added a run in the third, Kennedy walking, advancing to third on an Aaron Miles double, then scoring on an Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.
The Brewers cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth when Wellemeyer walked Jason Kendall with the bases loaded.
Wellemeyer made up for his free pass in the bottom of the fourth. After a Ryan Ludwick walk, Wellemeyer got a basehit to right field that got past Corey Hart and rolled all the into the right field corner. Ludwick scored from first base on the play, putting the Cards back up by two at 3-1.
Milwaukee put together a couple singles, a walk, and a fielder’s choice to score in the fifth, bringing them back within a run at 3-2.
Russ Springer relieved Wellemeyer, pitching a scoreless sixth, walking one and striking out one.
Kyle McClellan took over from there, giving up a one-out basehit in the seventh, then asking for trouble by walking a batter. A middle infield consisting of Aaron Miles at shortstop and Adam Kennedy at second combined for a double play, however, to get the Cards out of the jam.
McClellan started the eighth, most likely an effort by La Russa to cut down the amount of outs Franklin would have to throw in closing. After one out and a single, Franklin did get the call. The Cards got out of the inning, but weren’t so lucky in the ninth, when Franklin threw two mistake pitches in a row to Ryan Braun, the first one went for a strike, the second went for a ride, into the left-center field bleachers, the Brewers taking the lead late on the Cardinals’ bullpen once more, this time, 4-3.
The Brewers swept in what now seemed so scripted, the last show in St. Louis tonight, and Cardinal Nation glad the show is leaving town. The Brewers played in all the starring roles, but to Cardinal Nation, it was like more like a tragedy.
photo by Barbara Moore
On-deck: The Cardinals will try to avoid a sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Game time is 7:15 CDT.
Probables: MIL-Ben Sheets RHP (10-3, 2.88) vs. STL-Todd Wellemeyer RHP (8-4, 4.22).
Birds’ Perch: The Cards currently hold third place in the NL Central, three games behind the first place Cubs, who won last night. The Brewers are two games ahead of the Cards in second place, having beaten the Cards for the third time in a row last night.
Chris Carpenter rehab: The former Cards’ ace is still slated for a start tomorrow night for the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds. Although the hopes of the Cardinals’ front office is that Carpenter will go to the parent club for a start against Atlanta next week, Carpenter feels it is more likely he will need another minor league start to properly prepare.
Colby Rasmus injury: It is now likely after the results of an MRI that revealed a strain to his left knee that the Cardinals’ number one prospect will be out for about a month. This will cause him to miss the summer olympics and could end his chances for a September call-up to the parent club.
Hot and cold: Since the All-Star break, the Cards have won four in a row, and are now in danger of losing four in a row.
Ballpark VIllage update: Reportedly, the eyesore of a hole in the ground next to Busch Stadium now has its future in order, the Cardinals supposedly having come agreements with the City of St. Louis and contractors as to how to proceed with construction. Completion of the project which is supposed to have a hotel, some residential space, and lots of retail square footage, is not forecast to be done prior to next year’s All-Star game, to be hosted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Two years from finalization of plans and a construction start is the best estimate of completion.
The Cards took the Padres series a game early, starter Todd Wellemeyer getting plenty of help from the offense; including his own contribution, a single and a run scored. Wellemeyer’s record improves to 8-4. Ryan Franklin, one of four relief pitchers, earned his 14th, save. Ron Villone was credited with a hold.
Down 5-0 early in the second inning, Wellemeyer struggled, then settled down, then battled, trying to make certain manager Tony La Russa didn’t have to go to his bullpen early. At the same time, La Russa sent a clear message to Wellemeyer that he was going to have to pitch deeper into the game by leaving him in to bat leadoff in the bottom of the fifth.
Wellemeyer delivered at the plate, too, with a single to right. After a Brendan Ryan strikeout, Skip Schumaker walked, and the Cards had a change to chip off some of the Padres’ five-run lead. Ryan Ludwick singled, third base coach Jose Oquendo holding up Wellemeyer at third, the bases now loaded with Cardinals.
Albert Pujols delivered, scorching a Randy Wolf pitch to the wall in left-center field, clearing the bases and bringing the Cards within two runs at 5-3. With two outs, Rick Ankiel singled home Pujols to make it 5-4.
An inning later, Wellemeyer took part in the next phase of the Cardinals comeback, sacrfice bunting Cesar Izturis into scoring position after he’d reached on an infield single. Padres’ third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff helped out the cause, throwing a Brendan Ryan ground ball over the head of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Izturis advancing to third and Ryan scampering on to second.
Schumaker brought Izturis home with a ground ball to tie up the game at 5-5. After Ryan advanced to third base on a wild pitch, Ludwick walked. Pujols then collected his fourth RBI on the day, singling home Ryan with the go-ahead run.
La Russa called on his bullpen after Wellemeyer had secured one out in the seventh, a strikeout of pinch-hitter Scott Hairston. The move was questionable, with Wellemeyer only in the 80s on pitch count (he’d gone 120 two games earlier) and showing no signs of considerable fatigue. Randy Flores got the call, however, specifically to face lefthanded swinger, Jody Gerut. Flores walked Gerut, though a couple of the ball-strike calls seemed to favor the Padres’ regular leadoff man.
La Russa went to Russ Springer, who gave up back to back singles to Edgar Gonzalez and Brian Giles, respectively. On came reliever number three, Ron Villone, especially to face Adrian Gonzalez. Villone fared better than Flores on his lefty-lefty matchup, striking out A. Gonzalez by spotting a fast ball on the outside corner, getting the Padres’ three-hole hitter looking. Villone then got cleanup hitter Kevin Kouzmanoff to fly out to Ankiel in center.
Ryan Franklin took over to start the eighth, La Russa sticking with him instead of going with Jason Isringhausen in a closer’s role in the ninth. The top of the Padres’ order went down one-two-three, the Cardinals securing a 6-5 win.
Bottom of 1st: Todd Wellemeyer started for the Cards, looking to improve his performance from his recent outings. He didn’t get off to a good start, walking leadoff man Nate McClouth. Ankiel helped by making a nice catch on a Luis Rivas fly ball, going back to the wall from his normal, shallow positioning in center field. Things looked to be back under control for Wellemeyer after a Ryan Doumit fly out to Chris Duncan in right field, but Jason Bay hit a fast ball up and on the outside of the plate, taking the pitch just over the right-center field wall. The Pirates went up 2-0 on the two-run blast. Xaiver Nady flew out to Ankiel in center to end the inning.
Bottom of 2nd: Wellemeyer settled down, cruising through Adam LaRoche, Doug Meintkiwicz, and Herrera.
Top of 3rd: Leadoff man Aaron Miles singled to start the inning, followed by a Ryan Ludwick triple to left-center field, Miles scoring. Albert Pujols then hit a towering fly ball to left, Jason Bay reaching up at the wall to take away a homer. The fly turned into a long sacrifice fly, Ludwick scoring the tying run, 2-2. Rick Ankiel blasted a long ball to center, off the wall. Ankiel stopped at second base. Herrera seemed rattled after throwing another four-pitch walk, this time to Troy Glaus. Herrera pulled out that good change-up on a full-count to Chris Duncan, striking him out swinging. Yadier Molina picked up the club, however, singling through the hole on the left side, Ankiel scoring from second base. With Glaus on second and Molina on first, Wellemeyer got a Herrera curve ball with two strikes, offering a weak swing and striking out. The Cardinals secured the lead, however, at 3-2.
Bottom of 3rd: Jack Wilson popped out to Miles at shortstop to start the inning. Wellemeyer faced All-Star Nate McClouth with one out. McClouth popped out to Glaus in foul territory on the third base side, Glaus making a nice running grab. Everyone had a scare when Luis Rivas got hit by a pitch, possibly misreading a curve that didn’t break. Rivas was okay and stayed in the game, taking first base. Doumit grounded out to Adam Kennedy at second base to end the inning.
Top of 6th: T.J. Beam came on in relief for the Pirates. Pujols jumped on him, hitting a double about 405 feet off the center field wall, then a ricochet to another angle of the wall in an area called the North End Notch. Ankiel then doubled into the left field corner, changing places with Pujols at second base while Pujols scored. Glaus singled home Ankiel. Duncan then hit a shallow fly ball into right-center, McClouth making a spectacular sliding catch, then firing to first baseman LaRoche to double off Glaus. The Cardinals weren’t done hitting off Beam, though, Molina getting the third double of the inning. Wellemeyer flew out to right fielder Xavier Nady, however, to end the rally.
At the end of 10 innings: (Final)