By: Jim Tsapelas
I am confident Craig Counsell and the Milwaukee Brewers were looking forward to playing the role of “spoiler” in the NL Central Division as they began play Tuesday in the first game of a three game series against the Division leading St. Louis Cardinals.
The Redbirds began Tuesday night’s meeting at Miller Park just two games ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates. The two game lead enjoyed by the Cardinals, was their slimmest lead in the Division since April 29th.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Pirates hosted a double-header against the third-place Chicago Cubs. The Pirates won the day part of the double-header-five to four; allowing them to gain an one-half game on the Cardinals going into their night-cap against the Cubs. In the night-cap Chicago’s left-handed hurler Jon Lester threw a complete game winning two to one.
At the end of play on Tuesday St. Louis (90-54) is leading the second place Pittsburgh Pirates (87-57) by three games; and leading the Chicago Cubs (83-61) by seven games.
Milwaukee broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning when Khris Davis launched his twenty-first home run to center-field.
St. Louis answered the Davis home run in the top of the sixth, when the offensive star of the game Jason Heyward scored on a Jhonny Peralta single.
The game remained tied at one until the top of the tenth. In the tenth, the Cardinals’ right-fielder Heyward hit his twelfth home run of the year deep into right-center. Also scoring on the play was Stephen Piscotty.
Heyward had quite a night leading to the Cardinals eventual win. For his night’s work, Heyward was three for four, scored two runs, had two RBI’s, walked once, struck out twice, was left on base on two occasions, and hit the game winning home run. Two of Heyward’s hits were doubles.
St Louis starter Carlos Martinez did a little bit of everything in the game on Tuesday. Offensively, he was one for three, his hit being his second double of the season. Martinez made two extraordinary defensive plays which kept Milwaukee from scoring. For his final pitch of the game, Martinez picked a runner off of first. Martinez pitched nine strong innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, walked two, struck-out nine, and gave up the Davis home run. Martinez’s fastball was reaching ninety-eight miles per hour. He retired twelve of the first thirteen batters he faced.
Ariel Pena, who started for Milwaukee, threw five innings, allowed four hits, one run, walked three, and struck-out five.
Kevin Siegrist (7-1) threw the ninth inning walking two and striking out two, is credited with the win. The Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal earned his forty-fourth save. Milwaukee’s Tyler Thornbury (0-2), who gave up the Heyward home run, takes the loss.
On Wednesday as the Cubs and the Pirates battle one another for home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card race, the Cardinals send the southpaw Jaime Garcia (8-5) to the hill to meet the Brewers’ Wily Peralta (5-8) in a contest at Miller Park.
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