The Cardinals dodged raindrops and a barrage of Brewer hits to sweep the three-game set with a nail-biting 9-8 win Sunday at a soggy Busch Stadium.
The Brewers scored four runs in the ninth inning and had the tying and potential winning runs on base before Seung-hwan Oh struck out Martin Maldonado to immense cheering from the handful of faithful Cardinal fans that remained.
Oh was pressed into service after Sam Tuivailala could not retire a hitter to start the ninth with the Cards up 9-4. A walk and a double later the picture looked grim. But Oh got a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to close out the win.
The game was delayed by weather three different times for a total of nearly two and a half hours.
Starting pitcher Michael Wacha was not particularly sharp but lasted long enough to get his fifth win of the season against seven losses. Wacha surrendered nine hits in five innings and pitched out of numerous jams as the Brewers had base runners nearly every inning. But the Cardinal defense stood tall for the second game in a row, including turning a big double play on a 3-1 pitch when the Brewers had the bases loaded and one out at a 2-2 score.
The big blow for the Redbird offense was Stephen Piscotty’s grand slam homer in the sixth inning that gave the Redbirds an 8-2 lead. But the Brewers never quit, loading the bases with no outs against Trevor Rosenthal, knocking him out of the game and scoring two runs.
Rosenthal’s woes continued Sunday as the former closer gave up three hits and two earned runs without recording an out, pushing his ERA close to 6. He is also averaging better than two runners each inning of work.
The Brewers outhit the Cards 16 to 11 and left 12 men on base. They had the Redbirds in trouble in almost every inning, but they could not overcome Piscotty’s drive into the left field seats. He went 3-4 and raised his average close to the .300 mark.
Aledmys Diaz started the Cardinal scoring with a home run in the first inning, his 11th, but the Brewers answered with a couple of their own before the Cards took the lead for good with a pair in the fifth.
With the win, the Cards move to 43-38, eight games behind the Cubs and open a crucial four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday at 1:15 at Busch.