Brewers ride big inning to victory over Redbirds
Score five in fifth in 6-2 win
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
MILWAUKEE — Nyjer Morgan hit a go-ahead, three-run double and the surging Milwaukee Brewers scored five runs in the fifth inning off Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter to rally for a 6-2 win Monday night over St. Louis and extend their season-best winning streak to seven.
Milwaukee (61-49) moved 31⁄2 games ahead of St. Louis in the NL Central, its biggest lead of the season. The Brewers and Cardinals will play 11 more times this year.
Zack Greinke (9-4) allowed a first-inning, two-run homer to Matt Holliday, but the Brewers offense prevailed again in the second matchup this season of the former Cy Young winners.
The Brewers’ first six batters reached base in the fifth, with Morgan delivering the decisive hit.
Carpenter (6-8) appeared in complete control until the fifth when he had a 2-0 lead.
Yuniesky Betancourt singled to lead off the inning and Casey McGehee executed a hit-and-run single past second baseman Skip Schumaker to put runners at the corners.
Jonathan Lucroy’s chopper went over the head of third baseman David Freese to score a run and the Cardinals’ defense failed to cover first or third when Greinke laid down a bunt that loaded the bases.
Corey Hart followed with an RBI single that tied it at 2 before Morgan hit his bases-clearing double to put Milwaukee up 5-2. The Brewers tacked on a run in the seventh on Ryan Braun’s double off Mitchell Boggs.
It was the first time Carpenter had given up five earned runs since he lost to Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young winner, June 11 when Carpenter came in riding a five-game winning streak.
The Brewers own the best home record in the majors at 40-14 and are 4-0 against St. Louis at Miller Park this season. Greinke improved to 7-0 at home this season despite a rough start.
New acquisition Rafael Furcal singled to lead off the game for St. Louis and Holliday hit a two-out homer, his first since participating in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break.
St. Louis loaded the bases in the fifth with one out after Greinke walked Holliday and allowed hits to Lance Berkman and David Freese, but Schumaker grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Greinke extended Milwaukee’s streak of strong starting pitching by going six innings and striking out five. The Brewers rotation has allowed three runs or less in 17 straight starts dating to the second game after the All-Star break.
St. Louis (57-52) was in a virtual tie atop the NL Central with Milwaukee and Pittsburgh on July 24, but the Brewers’ winning streak has helped them open up a lead after St. Louis stumbled to a 4-3 mark in a homestand against the Astros and Cubs before heading on this seven-game road trip.
Notes: Schumaker said he would be fine with playing center field if called upon after Colby Rasmus was traded to Toronto. Manager Tony La Russa said Schumaker could get starts there if Jon Jay needed a day off. ... Cardinals C Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to a season-best 10 games with a single in the second. .... Milwaukee sold out its fourth consecutive game and has 18 sellouts this season.
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