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Brewers 4 Cardinals 3
MVPs of the Game:
JJ Hardy: 2/4; 2B, RBI, R
Kyle Lohse: 8 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 7 K (ND)
I'm a bit befuddled. The pitching matchup for this game was clearly in the Cardinals favor and it showed from the start as Lohse started off with four perfect innings of baseball, while Suppan gave up three quick runs. But LaRussa stuck with his right handed savior for one inning two long and the Brewers chalked up their second come from behind victory at new Busch Stadium following a Bill Hall go ahead solo home run in the top of the ninth inning.
The game started out extremely brutal for the Brewers, despite Rickie Weeks' loud out to lead off the game. The Cardinals led the game early with a one out bomb by Ryan Ludwick, who took a first pitch BP fastball deep to left-center field. Pujols took took the next pitch to the gap for a double and all I could think to myself was, "Oh man, they brought Suppan back far too early." I was looking right as Rick Ankiel's infield single scored Pujols from first after a terrible indecisive play by Prince Fielder to go after the ball and then block the line to first base for Rickie to throw out Ankiel. Suppan would get out of the jam 2-0 despite another base hit from Yadier Molina.
But then things settled down a bit, Lohse even needed time to settle down. Lohse benefited from a huge strike zone from home plate umpire Joe West. But don't think I'm making excuses. Lohse recognized what he was getting and took advantage of it... well. His two seamer had life and I thought for sure there was no way the Brewers were going to get to him inning after inning. Before you could blink, Lohse had gone through six innings of baseball and given up only a single to Prince Fielder on a groundball up the middle. And in that time, the Cardinals tacked on an insurance run from a walk and a double by Troy Glaus and Yadier Molina, respectively, giving the Cards a 3-0 lead going into the seventh.
JJ Hardy stopped the bleeding in the top of the seventh by proving someone could find a gap, and promptly doubled to lead off the inning. A swinging bunt single by Ryan Braun moved Hardy to third with no one out, bringing up Prince Fielder, who got ahead in the count and poked a ball to the opposite field for a run-scoring single. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Gabe Kapler was protecting Fielder. Kapler responded with two strikeouts on pitches out of the zone and a GIDP in the 7th inning to destroy the momentum... for that inning.
After Suppan was able to work around a Pujols single in the bottom half, the Brewers went right back to hitting. Jason Kendall hit a solid one out single to left center and came around to score on a yanked outside pitch double from Rickie Weeks. JJ Hardy then got him around on a ground ball single to left to the tie the game. And all of a sudden the momentum had swung all the way to the Brewers. Brian Shouse pitched an excellent eighth inning to get the Brewers to the ninth against the struggling Cardinals bullpen.
And struggled they did, well at least for one pitch. After Ron Villone got Prince to look at strike three right down the middle of the plate, Kyle McClellan got Gabe Kapler to ground out to short. But McClellan's 0-1 fastball looked oddly like Ryan Franklin's slider from Monday night and Bill Hall repeated his home run stroke, giving the Brewers the lead and the victory after Salomon Torres pitched a perfect ninth to give him his 18th save of the year.
Game Changing Play:
You want to say Bill Hall's homerun, but I'm going to say JJ Hardy's RBI single to the tie the game in the eighth. Tony LaRussa was trying to hard to avoid using his bullpen, and even though Lohse had a gem going with just over 100 pitches, he wasn't locating as well and his pitches were flattening out quite a bit. The Brewers took advantage, which they'll have to do every chance they get as this run continues.
What's on Tap?:
The Brewers are winners of six straight and continue their series against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium behind the arms of their two aces. CC Sabathia takes the mound for the Brewers after back to back complete games and will be taking on the Cardinals often overlooked, Braden Looper. Looper is 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA against the Brewers in 31 games and five starts, so he's had mixed success to say the least. He'll need to have some more success to prevent the Brewers from taking a two game lead in the Wild Card.