Brewers' Nelson backed by stellar defense, clutch hitting in 8-5 win
ST. LOUIS -- Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw may have looked locked in Tuesday night, but his mind was hundreds of miles away.
Keon Broxton and Shaw hit solo home runs and combined for five RBIs to help the Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 and split their day-night doubleheader.
The Cardinals won the opener 6-0 behind Jose Martinez's two home runs.
In the nightcap, Shaw's eighth-inning single against Trevor Rosenthal (1-3) broke a 5-5 tie. Shaw, who was reinstated from a family medical emergency before the doubleheader, went 2 for 5 in the second game and drove in two runs.
Shaw left the club Friday after his newborn daughter, Ryann, had complications from open heart surgery. She's in stable condition now.
"It's nice to get back, at the same time my mind's still elsewhere," Shaw said. "There's more important things than baseball and a lot of things got put in perspective last week. It was nice to get a win, nice to contribute, but I'm still thinking about her at home."
Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson went 5 2/3 innings, but is still winless in 11 career games (10 starts) against the Cardinals. He gave up nine hits, two walks and struck out four.
Jared Hughes (2-1) got the decision after giving up a game-tying homer to Matt Carpenter. Corey Knebel earned his ninth save in 12 opportunities.
Back-to-back homers by Aguilar and Shaw sparked a four-run Brewers fourth. Broxton followed with an RBI triple and scored on a fielder's choice giving Milwaukee a 5-2 lead.
Broxton's line drive home run to lead off the third was the Brewers' first hit of the game. His sacrifice fly capped Milwaukee's three-run eighth.
"It wasn't the biggest number we've put on the board but it was the best offensive game we've had this year for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The eighth inning was great at-bats up and down the lineup."
Broxton is hitting .583 (7 for 12) with two homers and five RBIs at Busch Stadium this season.
"I think this park, I just kind of find my stroke whenever I get here," Broxton said. "I don't' know what it is. Timing I guess. I just try to keep things as simple as possible. Just see the ball."
Marco Gonzales lasted just 3 1/3 innings in making his first start since Sept. 1, 2015 after missing all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery. Three of the five hits he gave up were homers.
All four batters Rosenthal faced reached base and three scored, his worst outing since June 24, 2016, when he also gave up three runs without an out against Seattle.
"I feel like I'm pretty good about just showing up every day and giving it my best and that's what it's all about, but it's always tough just being in that spot," Rosenthal said. "It definitely stinks to be able to not get the job done."
After Martinez's RBI fielder's choice gave the Cardinals the lead in the first, Carpenter made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the second.
Dexter Fowler's two-out pinch-hit single in the sixth scored Aledmys Diaz and Carpenter led off the seventh with a homer to tie it 5-5.
In the opener, Martinez's 415-foot opposite field drive to right-center ignited a three-run Cardinals rally in the fifth. Carpenter followed with an RBI double and scored on Fowler's single to make it 3-0.
Right-hander Lance Lynn (5-3) struggled with his control with four walks, but was able to get out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth. Lynn struck out eight, including the side in the fourth inning and Tyler Lyons pitched the final three innings of the opener to earn his first career save.
SAVE THAT BALL
Lewis Brinson legged out his first major league hit in the nightcap when Greg Garcia couldn't bare-hand his slow roller down the third base line in the third. Brinson was hitless in his first seven at-bats with the Brewers.
"You take it," Counsell said. "How they come, who cares?"
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (right hamstring tightness) was placed on the 10-day DL and RHP Paolo Espino was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Cardinals: RHP Sam Tuivailala was recalled from Triple-A Memphis, INF Jhonny Peralta was given his unconditional release and INF Paul DeJong was optioned to Memphis.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (7-3, 4.74 ERA) has won seven of his last eight decisions. He is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (5-5, 2.70 ERA) has given up 11 runs over his last three starts after given up 13 over his first nine. He is 5-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 career starts.