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Milwaukee (77-56)0012000003101
St. Louis (74-60) «00000104x5122

Cards rally past Brewers with four-run eighth, narrow wild-card gap

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Spurred by the antics of an overly excited Milwaukee Brewers reliever, the St. Louis Cardinals jumped back into the wild-card scrum.

Carlos Villanueva's arm-raising, in-your-face gesture after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh woke up the Cardinals against a team that has handled them all year, leading to a four-run rally in the eighth inning of a 5-3 victory against the Brewers on Wednesday night.

Ryan Ludwick singled, doubled, homered and drove in two runs, including Albert Pujols to start the big comeback. Pujols had taken a few menacing steps toward the celebrating Villanueva before being steered away by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, and then he answered with a double off David Riske (1-2) to open the eighth.

"When you start pointing to the dugout and saying all the things that he was saying, a guy that respects the game like myself, I didn't appreciate it and I had to let him know," Pujols said. "I guess he did us a favor. He woke up a sleeping giant."

Rebounding from a 12-0 rout Tuesday, the Cardinals pulled within 3½ games of the Brewers for the NL wild-card lead. That's where they were starting a two-game series that was their final shot against Milwaukee.

The Brewers took the season series 10-5 and had won seven in a row against the Cardinals before Wednesday.

"There's days we're not good enough, but we really try," manager Tony La Russa said. "We have more talent than people think."

The Cardinals were held to four hits in the first five innings and had a scoreless streak of 19 innings against Milwaukee pitching dating to July before Ludwick's 32nd home run off Manny Parra in the sixth. They left the bases loaded in the seventh when Joe Mather fouled out against Villanueva, who celebrated demonstratively while facing the St. Louis dugout.

Villanueva said he was not trying to show anybody up.

"I was caught up in the heat of the moment, got excited a little bit and they took offense to it," Villanueva said. "A couple of words were said back and forth, but I'm not going to be intimidated by anybody.

"I may have looked over there, but I didn't look at anybody in particular."

Like Pujols, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright thought it was the turning point.

"We had some tempers flare and it probably helped us, it probably woke us up a little bit," Wainwright said. "Sometimes it takes something like that to really get the juices flowing."

Ludwick made it 3-2 with a double to score Pujols in the eighth and scored on a game-tying single by Troy Glaus, who took second on the throw home. After moving to third on a groundout, Glaus slid in just ahead of catcher Jason Kendall's tag with the go-ahead run when shortstop J.J. Hardy short-hopped his throw to the plate on pinch hitter Aaron Miles' grounder against a drawn-in infield.

"You don't have to do stupid things like that to disrespect this game," Pujols said. "Like I said, he did us a favor and we pulled through and I'm glad he did that."

Ryan Franklin (5-5) worked a scoreless eighth with a walk and strikeout, and rookie Chris Perez finished for his sixth save in seven chances with three strikeouts in the ninth, allowing only a one-out double to Hardy. Perez is 6-for-6 since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis in early August to replace Jason Isringhausen as the closer.

"This is great. Coming to the ballpark every day and fighting for a playoff spot makes it even better," Perez said.

Hardy had three hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who had outscored the Cardinals 42-7 during their streak. Milwaukee is 58-6 when leading after seven innings and the Cardinals are 5-39 when trailing after seven.

Wainwright allowed three runs, two earned, and threw 89 pitches in his second start coming off the 15-day disabled list from a finger injury that sidelined him for two months. Parra allowed a run on six hits, departing after allowing a single to Yadier Molina to open the seventh.

In the third, the Brewers took a 1-0 lead on three infield hits and a Wainwright throwing error trying to get an out on one of them. They scored when Hardy barely beat out a slow roller to short after Cesar Izturis' barehand grab and throw.

Milwaukee opened the fourth with back-to-back doubles by Corey Hart and Mike Cameron, and Jason Kendall added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

Notes

  • Pujols was 2-for-4 and is batting .357, a point ahead of Atlanta's Chipper Jones in the NL batting race.
  • La Russa's season-long strategy of batting the pitcher eighth backfired in the second when Molina and Nick Stavinoha singled with two outs and Wainwright grounded out for the third out.
  • Josh Phelps, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Memphis by the Cardinals earlier in the day, had a pinch-hit single off Villanueva in the seventh.
  • Ryan Braun was 0-for-4 and hit by a pitch, hitless for only the second time in 13 games against the Cardinals. He still ended with a .459 average, seven home runs and 13 RBI against St. Louis.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Troy Glaus slides past Jason Kendall to score the winning run in the eighth inning.  (US Presswire)
Troy Glaus slides past Jason Kendall to score the winning run in the eighth inning. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

R. Ludwick
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Milwaukee

J. Hardy
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B4000113 .226
J.J. Hardy, SS5031000 .288
Ryan Braun, LF4000026 .300
Prince Fielder, 1B5000027 .270
Corey Hart, RF4110010 .283
Mike Cameron, CF3121100 .260
Craig Counsell, 3B4010002 .233
Jason Kendall, C4121002 .251
Manny Parra, P2010010 .204
    Carlos Villanueva, P0000000 .125
   a- Gabe Kapler, PH1000002 .300
    David Riske, P0000000 .000
    Brian Shouse, P0000000 .000
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
Totals36310327  
a-grounded out for Villanueva in the 8th
Batting
2B - J.J. Hardy (27, Perez), Corey Hart (39, Wainwright), Mike Cameron (22, Wainwright)
SH - Manny Parra (2)
RBI - J.J. Hardy (63), Mike Cameron (60), Jason Kendall (39)
SB - Mike Cameron (15, 2nd base off Wainwright/Molina)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Prince Fielder (12, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
Manny Parra 6611071 4.00
Carlos Villanueva (H,9) 1200020 4.35
David Riske (BS,5; L,1-2) 0.1333000 4.61
Brian Shouse 0.1111000 2.38
Guillermo Mota 0.1000000 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Manny Parra 98-65, Carlos Villanueva 20-13, David Riske 14-10, Brian Shouse 11-7, Guillermo Mota 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Manny Parra 7-4, David Riske 1-0, Brian Shouse 2-0
Batters Faced - Manny Parra 24, Carlos Villanueva 5, David Riske 4, Brian Shouse 3, Guillermo Mota 1
St. Louis Cardinals
Cesar Izturis, SS5010001 .256
Joe Mather, CF-LF^CF4000023 .246
Albert Pujols, 1B4120010 .357
Ryan Ludwick, RF4232000 .308
Troy Glaus, 3B4111032 .274
Yadier Molina, C4020003 .311
Nick Stavinoha, LF2010012 .214
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-CF1000011 .308
   b- Aaron Miles, PH-2B1101000 .314
Adam Wainwright, P2000002 .255
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
   c- Josh Phelps, PH10100001.000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
   d- Braden Looper, PH0000000 .275
    Rick Ankiel, LF0000000 .270
Felipe Lopez, 2B4011012 .248
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
Totals36512509  
a-struck out for Stavinoha in the 7th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Schumaker in the 8th
c-singled for McClellan in the 7th
d-hit a sacrifice bunt for Franklin in the 8th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (35, Riske), Ryan Ludwick (31, Riske)
HR - Ryan Ludwick (32, Parra)
SH - Braden Looper (11)
RBI - Ryan Ludwick 2 (97), Troy Glaus (85), Aaron Miles (27), Felipe Lopez (29)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Ludwick (35), Felipe Lopez (11)
CS - Felipe Lopez (6, 2nd base by Mota/Kendall)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - F. Lopez-Pujols
E - Troy Glaus (6, Misplayed grounder), Adam Wainwright (1, Throwing)
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright 6832020 3.04
Kyle McClellan 1000110 3.16
Ryan Franklin (W,5-5) 1100110 3.57
Chris Perez (S,6) 1100030 3.00
HBP - Braun (by Adam Wainwright)
Pitches-Strikes - Adam Wainwright 89-59, Kyle McClellan 21-11, Ryan Franklin 23-13, Chris Perez 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Adam Wainwright 5-10, Kyle McClellan 2-1, Ryan Franklin 1-1
Batters Faced - Adam Wainwright 26, Kyle McClellan 5, Ryan Franklin 5, Chris Perez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41433
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Jim Wolf