Monday, April 13, 2015

Brewers hold off Cardinals in sloppy opener at Busch

The game was hardly as pristine as the pregame ceremonies that marked the Cardinals' home opener on Monday, but it would be the Brewers who made the most of extra chances to grab a 5-4 series-opening win.
A crowd of 47,875, the largest in Busch Stadium III history, was on hand to watch the two National League Central clubs combine for four errors, four unearned runs and several other sloppy plays in the first of 19 head-to-head games this season. Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong and Brewers shortstop Jean Segura, both typically steady fielders, each committed a pair of miscues that led to run-scoring innings.
The first five runs of the game were scored on balls that didn't leave the infield. Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez delivered the first RBI hit of the afternoon with a seventh-inning double that pushed the Brewers ahead 4-2. Wong's second error led to another Milwaukee run before Cardinals starter Adam Wainwrightclosed the inning, his final one of the day.
St. Louis answered with a pair of runs on Jhonny Peralta's RBI double in the bottom half of the inning -- which opened with a Segura error -- but Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress retired pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk to strand the potential tying run at third. Jonathan Broxton and Francisco Rodrigueznavigated through the final two innings uneventfully to seal a win for starterMatt Garza, who covered the first 5 2/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Damage control: Amid a charged atmosphere on St. Louis' Opening Day, Garza kept his cool. In the first inning, he worked around a dreaded two-out walk. In each inning from the second through the fifth, he allowed a leadoff baserunner but no multi-run scoring strikes. In the fourth and fifth, he shut down the Cardinals after Segura cost an out with a wild throw. In all, Garza limited the Cardinals to 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in his 5 2/3 innings.
A forgettable first: Jason Heyward would probably like a do-over in his first St. Louis home opener. His first gaffe started before the first pitch was thrown, as Heyward accidently bypassed the line of Cardinals Hall of Famers as he was introduced. Manager Mike Matheny had to nudge him back over to shake hands. Heyward then went hitless in his first four at-bats, twice stranding a runner with an inning-ending strikeout. He also made an awkward play on a second-inning fly ball by Segura that eventually dropped for a double and helped the Brewers take an early 2-0 lead. He singled in his final at-bat of the day.
Crew miscues: Aside from a slick play to start the eighth inning, Segura had a forgettable day in the field, twice throwing away double-play relays -- one of which saddled him with an error-- and committing another throwing error in the seventh that helped the Cardinals shave two runs off their deficit. Right-fielderRyan Braun also bobbled a ball in the seventh as St. Louis rallied to make it 5-4 against Jeffress.
QUOTABLE
"This is a celebration that baseball in St. Louis has begun. It's nice to get the guys back in a friendly environment. There's something about these days at home. You always say you're going to be the exact same team every day and that consistent stuff is the right thing, but the atmosphere when this place is alive and hot, you just can't help but get sucked into it." -- Matheny, on the team's home opener. More >
WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: Wily Peralta's bid to build on his breakthrough 2014 season got off to a good start last week at Miller Park, where he pitched seven innings against a red-hot Rockies club and surrendered only two runs. Peralta will aim for a repeat performance on Wednesday night against the Cardinals, against whom he went 3-1 last season with a 2.18 ERA.
Cardinals: After an off-day on Tuesday, the Cardinals will resume their series against Milwaukee with a 7:15 p.m. CT game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday. Lance Lynn took the loss in his season debut despite allowing just two hits over six innings. Lynn's next win will be the 50th of his career. Twenty-seven of those victories have come at home.

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