By: Jim Tsapelas
I am not a fan of the often hyped phrase, “Must win Game.” Having exposed that quirk of my personality, Sunday’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Braves was a “Must win Game” for the Cardinals. The reality was the Cardinals lost to the Brewers by the score of eight to four.
With the loss, the Cardinals’ Magic Number remains at five. The Pirates, via the Brewers’ win, pull to two and one-half games behind the Division leading Redbirds. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs are the late game Sunday.
Cardinals’ closer Trevor Rosenthal took the mound in the ninth, looking to claim the Cardinals single season record for saves. Rosenthal entered Sunday’s game with a two run lead. Instead of a save opportunity, his day produced a blown save and a loss.
With Rosenthal pitching, Milwaukee’s Jason Rogers hit a Grand Slam scoring Shane Peterson, Michael Reed, and Jonathan Lucrory. It was Rogers’ fourth home run of the year. For his efforts, Rosenthal did not record an out; surrendering a single, hit batter, wild pitch, and walked a batter to load the bases. Still In the ninth, with Seth Maness on the mound for the Cards, Khris Davis hit his twenty-sixth homer of the year and his second of the game, also scoring Logan Schafer and Adam Lind. The Brewers’ plated seven runs in the top of the ninth.
Milwaukee scored a run in the first, on Davis’ twenty-fifth home run; a solo shot to center.
St. Louis tied the score in the fourth, when Matt Adams scored on a ground out by Tony Cruz. The game stayed knotted at one until the home half of the seventh inning. Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty hit back to back home runs off the Brewers’ Jeremy Jeffress. The score: at the end of seven, Milwaukee one-St. Louis three.
Going into the ninth, the Cardinals were sensing victory which would have reduced their Magic Number to four. Rosenthal was looking forward to, and Cardinal Nation expected, Rosenthal to set a new single season save record, as a Cardinal, at forty-eight. The hopes of Cardinal Nation quietly faded in the ninth. The Cardinals were able to keep hopes alive, although briefly, in the bottom of the ninth, as Stephen Piscotty reached base on a throwing error by the Brewers’ third-baseman Jason Rogers; which allowed Tommy Pham to score. Final score: Brewers eight-Cardinals four.
Cardinals’ starter John Lackey (13-9) threw another quality start, leaving the game with the lead. For his day of work, Lackey pitched seven innings, allowed five hits, one earned run, walked two, and struck out seven. Trevor Rosenthal (2-4) is credited with his third blown save of the season and fourth loss.
The Brewers’ David Gofoth (1-0) picks up the win. Francisco Rodriguez earned his thirty-seventh save.
On Monday, the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to start a three game series against the Pirates. I hate to write this, however, this is a “Must Win” series for the Cardinals as they hope to maintain the integrity of their Central Division lead. Monday the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (12-10) meets the Brewers’ JA Happ (6-2) at PNC Park.
Thanks for reading!