Cardinals 3, Brewers 2

Just when it looked as if their recent offensive struggles were

getting even worse, Allen Craig and the St. Louis Cardinals pulled

off one of their most impressive rallies of the season.

Craig hit a bloop RBI single off closer John Axford, completing

a ninth-inning rally and lifting St. Louis to a 3-2 victory over

the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

Craig’s big hit broke an 0-for-12 skid.

”It was as good as it gets right there,” Cardinals starter

Lance Lynn said. ”One of the best closers in the National League

and to come back and get him like that, that was good for us.”

Milwaukee was leading 2-0 going into the ninth but Axford

struggled with his control right away, eventually loading the bases

with two outs and yielding a tying two-run single to Matt

Holliday.

”You could just tell the attitude in that dugout when we were

down two in the ninth, you could just see it wasn’t over,”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”It is something you can’t

fake.”

Axford (2-6) was lifted after giving up Craig’s single, which

dropped softly into shallow left field. Axford, who has struggled

to find the dominant form he showed last season, left the game to a

steady stream of boos from the crowd.

”I don’t really listen,” Axford said. ”I’m in the position

where it’s kind of a `What have you done for me lately?’ I know

fans are going to feel the way they feel, we’re in a heated race

here and we’re trying to win some ballgames that we’re not winning

right now. The fans are going to do what they want to do.”

Manager Ron Roenicke said Axford’s role might be up for

review.

”I think he’s got a lot going on upstairs,” Roenicke said.

”But he still seems to be the same guy. You talk to him before the

game or batting practice, he seems to be the same guy. So I don’t

know what all the issues are.”

Axford’s sloppy inning wasted another strong performance by Mike

Fiers, who pitched seven scoreless innings.

Jason Motte (4-3) got the win. Lynn struck out 10 in seven

innings, giving up a run and six hits.

St. Louis had lost three straight after getting swept by

Cincinnati in a weekend series.

”We have to hit like we are capable of,” Holliday said.

”We’ve got to start playing well and beating the teams in our

division and playing better.”

Corey Hart hit his 17th homer for the Brewers, and Ryan Braun

added an RBI double in the eighth.

Fiers continued his string of strong performances since he was

recalled from Triple-A Nashville on May 29. The right-hander was

coming off a loss to the Miami Marlins where he gave up two runs in

7 1-3 innings. He is 2-1 with a sparkling 0.76 in his last six

games.

Monday’s loss was another setback for the Brewers, who announced

earlier in the day that ace Zack Greinke will miss his scheduled

start Wednesday and isn’t scheduled to pitch again until July 24 at

Philadelphia.

Roenicke said Greinke was fatigued and thrown off his routine

after making three straight starts – a July 7 game where he was

ejected in the first inning, another start the following day and

again in the Brewers’ first game after the All-Star break.

Greinke said before the game he was ”fine” with Roenicke’s

decision but was reluctant to discuss it. Greinke has been subject

to trade speculation in recent weeks, with the Brewers mired in

fourth in the NL Central.

The Cardinals had a scoring chance in the fourth when Yadier

Molina hit a one-out double and David Freese walked. But Fiers got

Matt Carpenter to fly out to center – allowing Molina to take third

base – then got Daniel Descalso to ground out.

Milwaukee had a chance with two outs in the fifth when a sharp

grounder by Cody Ransom glanced off the glove of Freese at third

base, allowing Ransom to take second base on a play that was ruled

a double. But Descalso charged a soft grounder by Fiers and threw

him out, ending the inning.

Francisco Rodriguez relieved Fiers in the eighth and gave up a

leadoff single to Holliday, but got out of the inning without

giving up a run.

Braun then seemingly gave the Brewers some breathing room,

doubling in Norichika Aoki.

NOTES: Holliday extended his hitting streak to 15 games. …

Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation

stint at Class-A Wisconsin on Thursday. Lucroy has been on the

disabled list since May 28 with a broken bone in his right hand.

… The Cardinals purchased the contract of RHP Trevor Rosenthal

from Double-A Springfield and transferred LHP Jaime Garcia to the

60-day disabled list.