The St. Louis Cardinals continued their dominance at Miller Park and in the process, extended the Brewers free fall, rallying from a 6-0 deficit to crush the Brewers 7-6 before 35,000 Friday night at Miller Park.
The win was fueled by something the Cards have lacked all year – the long ball. Four home runs and a relentlessly effective bullpen that allowed just five hits over the last six innings preserved the victory. But not without the usual ninth inning drama.
Closer Trevor Rosenthal wiggled out of trouble again, retiring three straight after a lead-off single by Aramis Ramirez.
A Cardinal win seemed laughably remote after two innings however, as the Cards were mercilessly pummeled in the first two innings.
Joe Kelly may never come to Miller Park again. After pulling a hamstring here in mid-April and spending nearly three months on the disabled list, the hard-throwing right-hander was pounded for six runs and seven hits in three innings.
The evening started poorly for Kelly and got worse from there.
On his first start back after nearly three months, Kelly clearly did not have command of his pitches early and it cost him. He hit Carlos Gomez to start the game and went on to surrender a hit, walk, sacrifice fly and a long double to put the Cards in a 3-0 hole after one inning.
In the second, two roped singles were followed by Scooter Gennet’s triple and the Brewers led 5-0. By the time the inning was over, Kelly’s ERA had risen from .59 to 3.71. He gave up six runs on seven hits, walked two, struck out three and hit one, throwing 78 pitches, 49 for strikes.
But Youvani Gallardo’s line wasn’t much better, although he did last into the sixth. Gallardo trudged off the mound after surrendering three home runs and seven hits, giving away most of the 6-0 lead the Brewers had amassed.
The Cards got it going a little bit in the top of the fourth. Matt Holliday crushed a line drive to the right field wall and Matt Adams followed with a home run. Jhonny Peralta singled and it looked like the Cards could make some headway. But Allen Craig and John Jay both made outs, ending the threat.
Nick Greenwod handled the business on the mound in relief of Kelly while the Cards were inching their way back into the game. Kolten Wong’s loooooong blast to right made it 6-3 in the top of the sixth and Peralta’s bomb to left after a walk to Holliday made it 6-5.
Allen Craig and John Jay singled, Tony Cruz walked and Oscar Taveras, pinch-hitting for Greenwood, tied the game on an infield out. It remained that way until two outs in the ninth when Holliday cracked the first pitch over the left field wall on a line, his third hit of the night.