Saturday, July 12, 2014
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Cardinals blast past Brewers with four HRs

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[July 12, 2014]  MILWAUKEE -- Early on in their National League Central showdown Friday night, the St. Louis Cardinals looked destined for a second consecutive thrashing, falling behind 6-0 after two innings.

But four home runs -- including a solo shot by left fielder Matt Holliday -- in the ninth inning brought the Cardinals back and led to a 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.

In a week filled with exciting moments, this one was special for manager Mike Matheny.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I think I said early in the year that I had a favorite win of the year. Nothing even close to this.

"Just the heart the guys showed. Just to be able to keep coming and coming and the intensity, the grit, the fight, that to me is just something you just don't have every once in awhile. You have it or you don't. It's really impressive. I couldn't be any more proud."

Holliday finished with three hits, as did shortstop Johnny Peralta, who hit his team-leading 14th home run of the season in the sixth inning.

Right-hander Joe Kelly returned to the mound for the first time since straining his hamstring on April 16 -- coincidentally, at Miller Park -- and struggled, allowing six runs, seven hits and two walks in three innings.

He drilled center fielder Carlos Gomez to open the game and then gave up a single to second baseman Scooter Gennett and a walk to catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
 


Third baseman Aramis Ramirez got Milwaukee on the board with a sac fly to center and left fielder Khris Davis made it 3-0 with a double to center.

Kelly gave up three more runs in the second inning on triples by Gennett and right fielder Ryan Braun.

"He was probably trying to do a little more than he needed to do," Matheny said.

The Cardinals' bullpen, though, kept Milwaukee off the board the rest of the way, allowing just two hits in the final five innings.

With the relievers putting up zeroes, St. Louis' bats came to life against right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who came into the game 1-11 with a 6.34 ERA in 18 career starts against the Cardinals.

He breezed through his first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth inning, allowing a one-out double to Holliday, who scored on first baseman Matt Adams' 11th home run of the year.

Peralta followed with a base hit, but Gallardo retired the next five in order before second baseman Kolten Wong led off the sixth with a home run to right.

Holliday walked and Adams struck out, bringing up Peralta, who connected on a 1-0 slider to make it 6-5.

That was the end for Gallardo, who allowed seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Right-hander Rob Wooten didn't fair much better, allowing all three batters he faced to reach before left-hander Zach Duke finally ended the inning.

The score stayed tied until Holliday came up with two outs in the ninth.

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"I feel good," Holliday said. "You try to carry it day to day and have good at-bats, go out there and battle. Every day is a new challenge."

The Brewers had a chance to tie it in the seventh inning when singles by Braun and pinch-hitter Logan Schafer, as well as an error by Cardinals right-hander Seth Maness, put runners at the corners with two outs, but struggling shortstop Jean Segura ended the threat with a groundout to short.

Milwaukee stranded runners again in the eighth and ninth innings to lose its sixth game in a row and its 10th time in 11 tries.

But the Brewers apparently lost more than just a game in the standings. Manager Ron Roenicke kept reporters waiting 20 minutes after the game, but upon arriving in a media room at Miller Park, said there was a death in the family of one of his players and would not be taking questions or opening the clubhouse.

"There's been a death in one of the families of one of our players so I don't want to answer questions," said Roenicke, who was visibly shaken. "For respect of him right now, we're not going to let anybody in the clubhouse.

"Sorry, but these things are tough and I just don't want to leave any players open to anything. I don't want to say who it is or anything, but we'll get this figured out tomorrow and we can talk then."

NOTES: The Cardinals made room for RHP Joe Kelly on their 25-man roster by optioning LHP Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Lyons made one appearance since coming off the disabled list Monday, allowing four runs (one earned), four hits and two walks Thursday in a 9-1 loss to Pittsburgh. ... St. Louis also claimed C George Kottaras off waivers Friday and will add him to the 25-man roster Saturday, requiring another roster move, GM John Mozeliak said. ... RHP Jimmy Nelson joined the Brewers after being recalled by the team late Thursday evening from Triple-A Nashville. Nelson, 10-2 with a 1.46 ERA in 17 minor league appearances this season, will start Saturday in place of RHP Marco Estrada, who moves to Milwaukee's bullpen. LHP Wei-Chung Wang was placed on the 15-day disabled list (shoulder tightness) to make room for Nelson on the Brewers' roster.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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