Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Waste a Rally, Fall to Brewers in 10th

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Waste a Rally, Fall to Brewers in 10th

Article excerpt

The Cardinals' starting pitchers have carried the club this far, and now as the rotation begins to fray with injuries and more modest outings it is the other strengths of the roster's turn to flex.

The bullpen and offense did Saturday until at pivotal moments neither could.

A groundball up the middle and inches out of the reach of a diving Pete Kozma brought home two runs in the top of the 10th inning for Milwaukee in a 6-4 victory at Busch Stadium. After nearly four innings of failing to dent the Cardinals' bullpen or shackle the Cardinals' offense when needed, the Brewers did both just long enough to cinch their second victory of the season against the Cardinals in nine tries. Both have come in extra innings.

In his second start and only his 10th at-bat of the season, Brewers infielder Jeff Bianchi skipped a two-run, two-out single off Cardinals reliever Joe Kelly to snap the tie. Bianchi's first RBIs of the season kept the Cardinals winless in three extra-inning games this season. Those RBIs also answered the Cardinals' two-out comeback to tie the game and marred the overall stoutness of their bullpen.

"Others picked up the slack," starter Lance Lynn said.

The game hinged around the Cardinals' inability to deliver with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and Bianchi's success poking a two-out single up the middle with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th.

Matt Holliday's two-out double down the right-field line put the winning run at second base against Brewers' former closer John Axford in the ninth. Axford judiciously pitched around cleanup hitter Allen Craig and invited No. 5 hitter Yadier Molina to fish for pitches out of the zone. When Molina didn't, Axford (1-3) walked the catcher to force the Cardinals to pinch-hit for closer Edward Mujica with Daniel Descalso. With the victory 90 feet from home, Descalo took a 98-mph fastball for a ball and swung over a breaking ball in the dirt to strike out.

"You have got to respect his 98," said Descalso, whose averaged dipped to .197 after the strikeout. "He just got me to swing at some curveballs in the dirt."

Instead of Mujica to pitch the 10th, the Cardinals had to go to Kelly (0-2) after the pinch hit. The Brewers swung like they had missed dinner reservations against the righty. Four of the seven batters he faced put the first or second pitch in play. Two of the three singles he allowed came on first-pitch swings, including Bianchi's. Consecutive singles by Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez their third hits of the game opened the inning. With one out, pinch- hitter Logan Schafer struck Kelly's first pitch for a grounder to short.

Kozma knew Schafer's speed from the minors and from when he outraced a groundball for a single in Milwaukee. He felt he didn't have time to turn a double play and went home. …

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