Jon Jay homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth and Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso each hit home runs to lead the Cardinals to a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
”You saw a little bit of their relentless approach,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”It helps guys to know that if they stay with it, they can come back.”
Stay with it was exactly what St. Louis did three times to take the series from the Brewers and a win Sunday gives them a sweep of the four-game series.
St. Louis struck last with a manufactured run in the ninth that game them their fifth win in a row.
Shane Robinson, who came in as part of a double switch in the bottom of the eighth, singled to center and then took second on center fielder Carlos Gomez’s fielding error off Jim Henderson (2-1) who started the ninth for Milwaukee with the game tied at 6. Robinson stole third and then scored when Jay singled up the middle, the last lead change in a back-and-forth game.
”When we go out there and we battle, we’ve got a pretty good offense,” Jay said.
Jay hit a three-run home run in the second, Craig connected for a solo shot in the sixth and Descalso put the Cardinals ahead with a two-run homer in the seventh.
”That probably the first time that’s happened,” Jay said of the home runs from the three of them.
The Brewers trailed by one in the eighth when they got one-out singles that put runners on the corners. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in Randy Choate. Norichika Aoki dropped a perfect bunt down as pinch-runner Jeff Bianchi raced home and slide feet first, avoiding catcher Yadier Molina’s tag. Seth Maness (1-0) came on and got the Cardinals out of the jam, getting Jean Segura to hit into a double play.
Matheny turned to Maness because of a thin bullpen, but also the Cardinals manager believed that he could do the job.
”He got the ball down and got the big double play in the eighth,” Matheny said. ”That was huge. We have a few of those guys that really don’t fall into traps when the intensity gets higher. They just make their pitches.”
Maness earned his first major league win. He made his major league debut on Friday, throwing a perfect eighth inning.
”He’s proving to be one of those guys,” Matheny said of the relievers that can handle the pressure.
Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Descalso hit his first homer of the season off reliever Tom Gorzelanny who came on for starter Yovani Gallardo. The Milwaukee right-hander looked liked he might pick up the win after Milwaukee went ahead 5-4 in the sixth.
”We’ve been winning game,” Jay said. ”We all believe in ourselves, and we just have to have that mind-set every day.”
That didn’t happen, but it kept Gallardo from suffering another loss to St. Louis. He came in 1-10 in 15 starts.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright gave up Segura’s two-run home run in the first, but nothing more until three runs in the sixth ended his start and put the Brewers ahead 5-4.
Gomez hit a one-out solo home run. Martin Maldonado singled, advanced on Alex Gonzalez’ single and both scored on pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy’s double. After Wainwright hit Aoki for the second time in the game, Kelly took over and got Segura to hit into a double play.
Wainwright went 5 1/3, allowed 11 hits, the most since he gave up 11 on Opening Day at Arizona, and struck out five.
His first three pitches of the game hurt, especially the one that snapped his streak of not allowing a home run this season.
On a 1-0 pitch, Aoki’ singled. Then first-pitch swinging Segura hit his fourth home run of the season.
Jay’s three-run homer in the second erased Milwaukee’s 2-0 lead.
Craig singled and advanced on David Freese’ hit up the middle which Gallardo deflected just enough to cause shortstop Segura to backtrack and then throw late to second for the force. Jay crushed a 2-0 pitch for his third of the season.
Gallardo said the play could have gone another way.
”If I catch it, it’s an easy double play, or, if I just get out of the way, Segura is right behind me. Obviously, it doesn’t help falling behind the next guy and then leave a pitch out over the zone to hit it for a home run.”
After Jay’s home run, Gallardo retired 13 of the next 14 batter, but then gave up Craig’ homer into the Cardinals’ bullpen in right-center field.
Brewers INF Yunieskey Betancourt’ single in the first was the 1,000th of his career. … Brewers OF Carlos Gomez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with single in the first and raised his NL-leading batting average to .374. … Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook is the only starting pitcher in the NL who has not allowed a home run this season. … Brewers 3B Aramis Rameriz sat out the game in a precautionary move. He played Friday night after missing 23 games due to a sprained right knee.