Thursday, April 14, 2016

Santana connects off Rosenthal for the win

The Brewers trumped Brandon Moss' game-tying homer in the eighth with a 440-foot, go-ahead blast by Domingo Santana in the ninth to halt the Cardinals' four-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
Santana's first home run of the season came off Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, who inherited a game that Moss had tied with a pinch-hit homer off Michael Blazek. Rosenthal retired the first two hitters in the ninth on three-ball counts but then lost pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis to a full-count walk before Santana's go-ahead homer.
"[Rosenthal] has that riding fastball that rides up, and [Santana] got that top hand on it," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "That's pretty impressive. That's a strong man right there, to be able to do something like that and get the barrel on that ball. It was really, really huge, and what a big hit."
Rosenthal lamented the untimely walk.
"That was one that was tough to let him get away after getting ahead," Rosenthal said. "I felt like I was in a good spot, and I just couldn't make a pitch to finish him off."
Though he wasn't credited with the win, Brewers starter Chase Anderson set it up with a second impression that was as strong as his first. Hit for three unearned runs in the first inning, Anderson held serve from there, giving the Brewers time to chip away at the deficit. Lucroy helped with a three-hit, two-RBI night off starter Mike Leake, who allowed four runs over six innings in his first home start with the Cardinals.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-out damage: All of the Brewers' runs, including Santana's big blast, came with two outs. Lucroy logged his first two RBIs of the season on two-out hits, and Ramon Flores andChris Carter also added two-out RBIs as the Brewers built leads of 1-0 and 4-3. Lucroy improved to 15-for-32 lifetime against Leake.
"He's tough for me," Leake said. "I'm going to have to study him extra hard for next time now. I like competing against him. I was trying to mix and match and just leaving them in hitting spots, I guess."
In a pinch: Moss hit the Cardinals' fourth pinch-hit homer of the season with a leadoff blast off Blazek in the eighth. The home run, which came on an 0-2 curveball, was the third career pinch-hit home run of Moss' career and the second game-tying blast the Cardinals have hit in the seventh inning or later this season. Their four pinch-hit homers, equaling last year's total, have come from four different players.
"When you're pinch-hitting, you're not very picky; you're just trying to get a strike and swing," Moss said. "You have to swing when you see a strike. I was down, 0-2, and he hung a breaking ball there."
Anderson stays spotless: Brewers third baseman Colin Walsh's two-out throwing error in the first inning -- in his first Major League start -- contributed to three unearned runs for the Cardinals, but Anderson recovered to pitch through the sixth without allowing another run. Acquired from the D-backs in a January trade, Anderson has yet to surrender an earned run in two Brewers starts, thanks in part to a strikeouts-to-walks ratio that stands at 9-to-2.
"It feels like he's 'on it' right now," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Off the mark: Cardinals infielders committed another two errors, bumping the team's season total to 12, a Major League most. Aledmys Diaz's third error extended the fourth inning for Leake, while Matt Carpenter couldn't follow a terrific backhanded pick with an on-target throw in the fifth. First baseman Matt Holliday had trouble gloving Carpenter's errant throw, and the Brewers followed with a pair of two-out, run-scoring hits. Though he didn't commit an error, Holliday, several times on Wednesday, looked a bit awkward at his new position.
"I'm comfortable and confident in our infield defense," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, tersely.
QUOTABLE
"It feels like the 'real schedule' is starting now. We've got 12 [games] in a row, then an off-day and 20 in a row. [Up to this point] we've had three off days, really, in 10 days. That's not the real schedule. Now we're starting the real schedule, where you play every day." -- Counsell
" I'm still needing to get the ball down a little bit more. They were hitting elevated balls. I have to work down a little bit more." -- Leake, on how this start compared to his first of the season
INJURY REPORT
Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar missed Wednesday's start after tweaking an ankle on a slide in the Busch Stadium opener on Monday. Counsell characterized the matter as minor, saying Villar was available off the bench.
WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: After two ineffective starts including his loss to the Giants on Opening Day, Wily Peralta will try to get his season on track against a traditionally challenging foe when the Brewers and Cardinals meet at 12:45 p.m. CT on Thursday. Peralta is 4-8 with a 4.74 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cardinals, including 0-4 with a 5.73 ERA last season.
Cardinals: Jaime Garcia will make his first home start of 2016 when the Cardinals wrap up their series against the Brewers with a 12:45 p.m. CT game on Thursday. Garcia has a 2.90 ERA in 17 career appearances against Milwaukee. Second baseman Kolten Wong, hitless since Saturday, is expected back in the lineup.

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