Brewers 3, Cardinals 2

Just when it looked as if the Milwaukee Brewers’ new closer was

going to deliver an all-too-familiar result, Francisco Rodriguez

managed to wiggle out of trouble – and finally help the bullpen

deliver a win for Randy Wolf.

Although it wasn’t pretty, Rodriguez picked up a save just hours

after he was named the team’s new closer and Wolf won his first

game since April 30 as the Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2

on Tuesday.

”It was nice,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ”It was

nice for Randy, too. He pitched a great game, comes out again with

people on base and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The Cardinals’ Matt Holliday left the game after getting hit in

the leg with a pitch in the first inning and Brewers slugger Ryan

Braun was removed with a right adductor strain in the seventh.

Braun said the injury, something he has been dealing with off and

on all season, wasn’t serious. He hoped to play in Wednesday’s

series finale, a day game.

”Hopefully,” Braun said. ”We’ll see how it feels

tomorrow.”

Rickie Weeks hit a mammoth home run to give the Brewers the lead

in the fourth.

Wolf (3-6) went 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and eight hits

with a walk and six strikeouts to end his winless streak.

”It’s been a very, I think, tumultuous year to say the least,”

Wolf said. ”I’ve had my own personal demons to deal with, just my

own frustrations. It’s been tough emotionally more than

anything.”

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (1-2) took the loss. St. Louis’

Lance Berkman was ejected for arguing a call.

With John Axford continuing to struggle and blowing another save

Monday night, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke gave the closer’s job to

Rodriguez before the game.

”Definitely, I didn’t want to get the job in this way,”

Rodriguez said.

It wasn’t easy for Rodriguez, who gave up a leadoff double to

David Freese, then a single to Yadier Molina to put runners on

first and third with no outs.

Rodriguez then got Matt Carpenter to ground out, holding the

runner at third, and struck out pinch hitter Skip Schumaker. With

runners on second and third, Rodriguez got pinch-hitter Daniel

Descalso to pop up and end the game.

Wolf apparently fought off the temptation to cover his eyes.

”I didn’t quite watch them through my fingers,” Wolf said of

the final innings.

Wolf hasn’t had a victory since April 30 at San Diego, but the

Brewers’ bullpen shares some of the blame for his winless streak.

Coming into Tuesday’s game, Wolf was 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA during his

last 12 starts. During that stretch, he left seven games with the

lead, only to have the bullpen blow it.

Wolf said he got congratulations from several relievers.

”I said, `There it is, the elusive third win,”’ Wolf said.

”You usually say that in May, maybe.”

Kelly went six innings, giving up three runs – two earned – with

six hits, a walk and four strikeouts.

Holliday took an 89 mph fastball from Wolf off his left leg in

the first inning. Holliday remained in the game, but Cardinals

manager Mike Matheny took him out in the bottom of the second.

Holliday’s injury was described as a left thigh contusion.

The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by

Corey Hart, but the Cardinals came back with two runs in the

third.

Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single tied the game at 2 in the bottom of

the third. Then, Weeks’ ninth homer of the season caromed high off

the facade in center field, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead in the

fourth.

Wolf then allowed back-to-back singles to start the seventh.

After a lengthy meeting with Roenicke at the mound, Wolf stayed in

the game, and Tyler Greene’s sacrifice bunt advanced runners to

second and third with one out.

Berkman pinch hit and Wolf ran the count to 3-2 before Berkman

was called out on a checked swing. Berkman complained about the

call and was thrown out of the game by plate umpire Brian

Gorman.

Berkman said afterward that he was mostly upset that Gorman

didn’t appeal the call.

”My biggest beef was you can’t make that call (from home

plate),” Berkman said. ”They think they can, but he was having a

hard time getting the strike zone right, much less seeing if

anybody swung a bat or not. So my beef was, just appeal. I mean,

we’ve got a guy standing down there. It’s not tough to ask, you

don’t have to make that call.”

With two outs, Roenicke pulled Wolf for reliever Jose Veras, who

got Furcal to pop out to the catcher.

Notes: Weeks’ home run was estimated at 460 feet. … Holliday

does not lose the 15-game hitting streak he brought into Tuesday’s

game. … After a recent wave of temperatures in the high 90s, it

was 85 degrees at first pitch.