After getting two outs on two pitches, Isringhausen imploded, allowing two singles and a walk before Rickie Weeks' two-run single gave Milwaukee a 4-3 victory on Friday night and snapped the Brewers' six-game losing streak.
Weeks, the leadoff hitter with a .196 average, knew he'd hit so many balls hard with nothing to show for it but still said he had confidence he could come through.
Did he ever.
The Cardinals shifted to the right, and Weeks rifled a ball to left field, slapping first base coach Ed Sedar's hand hard as he rounded the bag and flinging his helmet before Prince Fielder mobbed him.
"The way I felt out there, I could've took Mike Tyson three rounds," Weeks said.
Isringhausen, who has a major-league high five blown save chances to go along with his NL-best 11 saves, said it's time for him to sit down with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan and figure out what to do.
"I'm just getting sick of embarrassing myself and letting my team down," Isringhausen said. "We should be five more wins in the win column in my mind, so we should be ahead in first place even more. But they can't keep sending me out there when I'm pitching the way I'm pitching.
"We're going to have to figure out some kind of remedy. I'm sure that remedy will give me some time off and get somebody in there that can do a better job right now. ... I'm just pitching like a second grader."
It was Isringhausen's fourth blown save in seven outings.
"He gave up two in the ninth, that's what I think. What else do you want to know?" the Cardinals manager said.
When a reporter asked if Isringhausen would remain the closer, La Russa didn't budge.
"Let me ask you something. Do you think it'd be fair to talk to you about it or talk among ourselves and talk to him first? You think you got any chance to get an answer to that question?"
Weeks took Isringhausen's offering to left to score Hardy and Kapler.
"I was excited for Rickie after some of what he's gone through so far," Kapler said. "He's gotten some big hits for us, but I think this was his biggest. It was exciting to see him be the hero."
The Brewers, fresh off being swept in Houston and Florida, came in hitting .239 as a team, and general manager Doug Melvin said he planned to meet with the manager Ned Yost and the coaching staff on Monday to address the issues.
"We had a hard road trip," Yost said. "It was a big win. To come back the way we did, they kept pushing without much luck through the whole nine innings, they got two outs with nobody on and just refused to quit."
Albert Pujols, who has reached base safely in every game this season, homered in the first and the Cardinals got two more in the second off Todd Wellemeyer's RBI single and a bases-loaded walk by Brewers starter Manny Parra.
Even after Milwaukee scored two unearned runs in the fourth, the Brewers seemed well on their way to their seventh loss by playing much like they had in the previous six.
Parra couldn't get past the fifth inning and the Brewers squandered a golden chance to tie the game with runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth. That set up the dramatics by Weeks, just in time.
"That was a huge hit," Yost said. "It was a huge hit by J.J. with two outs, it was a huge hit by Kapler to keep it going. It was a great walk by Kendall. There were a lot of good things that happened there with two outs in the last inning."
- Brian Shouse (3-0) pitched a scoreless ninth.
- Cardinals 3B Troy Glaus struck out and left after the Cardinals batted in the third with a bruised left tricep. He was hit by a pitch the inning before. La Russa said afterward Glaus couldn't straighten his arm and would be re-evaluated Saturday.
- Brewers SP Yovani Gallardo confirmed he'd need surgery on the torn ligament in his right knee and expects it to be scheduled sometime next week.
- Former All-Star closer Derrick Turnbow accepted a Triple-A assignment from the Brewers and will report to Nashville on Monday.