MILWAUKEE - Cards’ manager Mike Matheny said he never discredits the concept of momentum. “There’s a carry over effect,” from rallying and winning ball games late, the Cards’ skipper said Saturday. Especially when it’s a monstrous comeback like Friday night’s 7-6 win after the Cards had trailed 6-0.
Whether it was momentum, a carry over or just the emergence of the St. Louis Cardinals’ team everyone expected to see this year, Saturday’s result was dramatic.
The Cardinals pounded out 12 hits in crushing the collapsing Brewers, 10-2 and moving into a first place tie with Milwaukee, a team that held a 6.5 game lead just two weeks ago.
The Brewers have lost seven in a row and 11 of their last 12, while the Cards have won eight of the last 11.
The long losing streak, Friday’s crushing loss and the news that Jean Segura’s infant son had died in the Dominican Republic was too much for the Brewers to overcome. Lifeless at times and visibly frustrated at others, Milwaukee made three errors on routine plays and spoiled the debut of Jimmy Nelson, the prize minor league prospect.
But it was the Cardinals’ day all the way around. Kolten Wong hit another bomb, John Jay had three more hits and Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta added two each. Tony Cruz had hits in each of his first two at bats, driving in three runs and getting the Cardinals off to a great start.
Brewer hitters, frustrated by Adam Wainwright (12-4) all afternoon, began to show the frustration as the game went on. Khris Davis gestured angrily after missing a Wainwright pitch and Carlos Gomez was apoplectic after his strikeout, trying three times to break the bat over his knee before finally throwing his helmet and ripping his batting gloves to pieces.
“Winning that game (Friday night) will keep us in games longer,” Matheny said. “It will be something that is on their minds, something they will verbalize, that we were down 6-0 and came back. Last year it seemed like we would come back in games we were down and get right to the edge but not get it done. That can be very disheartening.”
Saturday, the Cards left no room for drama, scoring in six of the first seven innings and taking full advantage of three brutal Brewer errors. Wainwright fanned four and walked no one, surrendering just five hits.
The lopsided score gave the Cardinals a chance to use newly acquired catcher George Kottaras for the final two innings behind the plate, moving Cruz to first just in case Kottaras was injured.
The Cards and the Brewers enter Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break with identical 52-43 records. Carlos Martinez (2-3) will face Wily Peralta (9-6).