Molina hits two home runs, Cardinals top Brewers 6-3
MILWAUKEE — Not even the rain that fell inside Miller Park could stop Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The veteran catcher hit two home runs and the NL Central-leading Cardinals matched a season high with their sixth straight win Tuesday night, weathering a weird delay to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3.
Molina has seven career multihomer games, four of them in Milwaukee.
“Everyone knows this is a good hitter’s park,” Molina said. “With the background, you see the ball pretty well here. I feel good hitting here.”
Play was halted briefly with the Cardinals batting with two outs in seventh inning as rain poured through the open roof and fans rushed to the covered concourses. The delay lasted about nine minutes as the retractable roof closed.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” blared from the speaker system as stadium operators scrambled to close the roof.
“I think I won’t see this again. A rain delay in Miller Park, with a roof,” Milwaukee’s Hernan Perez said.
There has been at least one other rain delay in the history of the ballpark, which opened in 2001. The Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies waited through a seven-minute delay in the first inning of a game in August 2012 when it began pouring with the roof open.
St. Louis right fielder Dexter Fowler preserved the win by jumping at the wall to catch a drive by Perez with two on for the final out.
“I hit it good. I think the ball was going for a homer,” Perez said.
Miles Mikolas (8-13) struck out 10 for the Cardinals, who have won 15 of 18 and are a season-best 15 games above .500. They held their three-game lead over Chicago in the division while the Brewers dropped 6 ½ back.
Molina also doubled in going 3 for 3 with a walk, driving in three runs and scoring three. He has seven homers this season, including three in the first two games of the series.
Molina has hit safely in each of his last 10 games against the Brewers. He has 15 RBIs in 14 games off Milwaukee pitching this season.
“Any time you have a guy with that kind of experience and presence playing well, it’s always a positive thing for a group to feed on,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
Molina’s solo homer in the fifth inning made it 1-all. After Paul DeJong walked with one out in the seventh, Molina homered off the left-field foul pole against reliever Matt Albers (5-4) to break the tie.
After the rain delay, Harrison Bader singled and scored when pinch-hitter Kolten Wong slapped a double down the left-field line to extend the St. Louis lead to 4-1.
The Brewers cut the lead to 4-3 in the eighth on Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer to deep left-center off Andrew Miller. The Cardinals answered with two runs in the ninth on run-scoring singles by Bader and Wong.
Mikolas, who had allowed 15 earned runs in 22 innings in his previous three outings, held the Brewers in check. He gave up four hits and one run, on an RBI single by Orlando Arcia, in six innings. Mikolas didn’t walk a batter.
“His stuff was crisp tonight,” Shildt said. “He was in control. I loved his demeanor. He was in attack-mode, imposing his will on guys.”
Carlos Martinez got five outs to record his 16th save in 19 chances, with help from Fowler.
Cardinals: Wong didn’t start for a third consecutive game after fouling a ball of his right big toe on Saturday but pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game. ... OF Lane Thomas remained in the game after being hit on the right hand by Devin Williams’ pitch in the ninth.
Brewers: Starting pitcher Adrian Houser, who gave up one run in five innings, left due to hip discomfort. “I think it had a little effect on some control issues. I didn’t have my best command tonight,” Houser said. . 3B Mike Moustakas sat out after leaving Monday’s game in the third inning with pain in his left palm and wrist after being struck by hard-hit bouncer by Bader an inning earlier. X-rays were negative. “He’s sore, as you would expect,” manager Craig Counsell said.
Christian Yelich’s decision to pose nude for ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue didn’t sit well with one fan who took to Twitter to express her thoughts.
@RoxaneJ77, who has since locked her Twitter account, called Yelich’s decision “distasteful.” The NL MVP responded by tweeting “Relax Roxane” and changing his walk-up music to the Police’s 1978 hit “Roxanne.”
A pair of baserunning mistakes by Matt Carpenter likely cost the Cardinals at least one additional run in the fifth. After Molina homered with one out, Carpenter followed with a drive off the left-center field wall, but was held to a single after he missed first base and had to retreat.
Carpenter then hesitated at second on Bader’s single to center that Lorenzo Cain fielded on a short hop. Carpenter took off for third, but Cain’s throw easily beat him.
Arcia had gone 50 consecutive games without an error until he booted Paul Goldschmidt’s grounder in the fourth. Mark Loretta holds the franchise record for consecutive errorless games at shortstop at 63 over the 2000-2001 seasons.
Cardinals: Jack Flaherty (8-6, 3.32 ERA) takes the mound in the three-game series finale Wednesday afternoon. Flaherty is 2-2 with a 4.79 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers.
Brewers: Jordan Lyles (8-8, 4.69) will make his sixth start with Milwaukee after being acquired from the Pirates last month. He tossed six hitless innings in his last start on Friday against Arizona.