Villar's walk-off single lifts Brewers over Cardinals

Send a link to a friend  Share

[July 09, 2016]  MILWAUKEE -- After going nearly the entire first half of the season without a walk-off victory, the Milwaukee Brewers needed to wait just a few more moments for a replay before they could celebrate Jonathan Villar's game-winning, RBI double.

But 90 seconds later, after crew chief Ted Barrett ruled that Kirk Nieuwnhuis did, in fact, beat Tommy Pham's throw, giving the Brewers a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on Friday.

"We were pretty confident he was safe," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Close plays at the end of the game, we would have done the same thing."

The Brewers hit three home runs -- two by first baseman Chris Carter and another by catcher Jonathan Lucroy -- to take a 3-1 lead into the eight.

But Yadier Molina tied things up with a solo home run of his own and the Cardinals handed the ball to their closer, Trevor Rosenthal, in the ninth with an eye on extra innings.

Rosenthal got off to a bad start, issuing a lead-off walk to Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Hernan Perez. That brought up Ramon Flores, but Rosenthal would leave after just two pitches to Flores thanks to what manager Mike Matheny called "hamstring spasms."

Matheny turned to right-hander Seung Hwan Oh, who walked Flores and struck out pinch-hitter Andy Wilkins to bring up Villar.

Oh fell behind, 3-1, before Villar fouled off two straight pitches but his seventh offering was a 94-mph fastball that Villar ripped to left.

"That's my first walk-off in the major leagues, so I'm happy," Villar said. "Somebody threw ice down my back."

Nieuwenhuis was off to a good lead and slid just inches ahead of Molina's tag. Molina instantly motioned toward the dugout for a review while the Brewers gathered and waited.

"(The big lead) was really important because I had to avoid the third baseman, too," Nieuwenhuis said. "He dove for that ball and I kind of had to re-route and I almost rolled an ankle there because I had to avoid him and touch the bag."

Rosenthal was the third player to leave with an injury Friday, continuing a painful week for the Cardinals, who have lost Matt Carpenter, Brandon Moss and Bryan Pena to the DL in the last three days.

Starting pitcher Michael Wacha exited with two outs in the seventh after getting drilled in the right heel on a come-backer by Villar. He'd been solid up to that point, holding Milwaukee to the three solo home runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

[to top of second column]

Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar (5) drives in the winning run during the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Milwaukee won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

"My foot went completely numb once it hit, but the more I moved it around the more I kind of flexed it around, the feeling came back and I was able to put all my pressure on it out there on the field," Wacha said. "I wanted to stay in there and keep pitching. My foot felt good enough to do it, but I guess it was time to come out."

Left fielder Matt Holliday also left the game early. Matheny said he twisted his ankle rounding first base in the third inning and it stiffened up along the way.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson went six innings and only allowed two runs despite giving up six hits and four walks while striking out two.

He's still looking for his first victory since May 29.

NOTES: Milwaukee recalled INF Yadiel Rivera from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday, filling the spot cleared when INF Aaron Hill was traded to the Boston Red Sox a day earlier. Rivera has appeared in 18 games over three separate stints with the Brewers this season, batting .204 with two RBIs. ... With Hill gone, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said INFs Hernan Perez and Will Middlebrooks would split time at third base for the time being. ... Cardinals SS Jhonny Peralta took part it batting practice and appeared as a pinch-hitter Friday night, after missing the last two games with a sore right thumb. ... Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that RHP Michael Wacha was fine after taking a line drive to the right heel Friday, but RHP Trevor Rosenthal (hamstring) and Matt Holliday (ankle) are day-to-day after leaving Friday's game early.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Back to top