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St. Louis at Milwaukee

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St. Louis (28-19) «101001000371
Milwaukee (27-20)000200000280

Fill-in Stavinoha making most of opportunity, lifts Cards in clutch

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MILWAUKEE -- Nick Stavinoha said all the right things when asked about Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's preference to use veterans over rookies.

He did lose his composure a bit when asked if he was sure he didn't belong in the cleanup role.

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"I'm definitely not your typical cleanup hitter, that's for sure," he said with a smile.

Maybe not, but the 27-year-old outfielder with 90 career at-bats had two RBI and scored the go-ahead run to lead St. Louis to a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, pushing the Cardinals back into first in the NL Central.

Stavinoha, who hit his first career homer in Tuesday night's 8-1 win, certainly won't be protecting slugger Albert Pujols once outfielder Ryan Ludwick returns, but La Russa was pleased with his effort.

"Albert will be happy to get Ludwick behind him, but Stavinoha gives you a chance because he's so competitive," the manager said.

  Braun back for Brewers

St. Louis has won seven of its last nine and hasn't allowed more than three runs in any game in the stretch.

Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer (5-4) and the bullpen showcased the best team ERA in the majors (3.58) by silencing the struggling Brewers, who struck out 27 times in the three-game series and have lost five of six to drop out of first for the first time in two weeks.

"We just maintained focus and beared down and knew we wanted to beat these guys. We had to beat them," Wellemeyer said.

Brewers manager Ken Macha said his team was tired after going 6-6 on a 12-game stretch that included a nine-game road trip and the loss of leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks (wrist) for the season.

The first game of the trip in St. Louis was rained out and made up during the only off day. Over the last four games, Milwaukee has alternated night and day starts and had a community event Tuesday morning. Both the Brewers and the Cardinals have Thursday off.

"A lot of us having been looking forward to this day off for a while," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who went 3-for-5 in his first game back after missing four days with back spasms.

Wellemeyer was solid for the second straight outing and five relievers pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Closer Ryan Franklin got the final four outs, working around a leadoff walk and a two-out single by Craig Counsell in the ninth for his 12th save.

Stavinoha, a rookie, is making a strong case to stay with the Cardinals even when Ludwick and Rick Ankiel return to the starting lineup, which is expected Friday in San Francisco.

"I've been fortunate to put a couple of decent nights together while I've been given the opportunity," Stavinoha said. "Obviously, they're going to attack me more than Albert."

Stavinoha, who had a run-scoring fielder's choice in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third, led off the sixth with a double. He moved up on Brian Barden's grounder and scored on Jason LaRue's single to make it 3-2.

Stavinoha, who has seven RBI in his last six games, also came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh but Todd Coffey, who replaced starter Manny Parra (3-6), struck him out to end the threat.

Pujols was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and two walks and finished the series with five walks. He's been walked 12 times in his last six games.

"We kept him in the ballpark," Macha said. "You either have got to be nasty and strike him out or [get him] to put the ball in play off the end of the bat. Or, you wind up being nasty and walking him."

Milwaukee tied it at 2 in the fourth on Frank Catalanotto's two-out, two-run triple off Wellemeyer.

Catalanotto, called up Monday, was making his first start since being cut at the end of spring training by the Rangers in favor of Andruw Jones.

But that was the only damage against Wellemeyer, who lowered his ERA to 5.02. He left after 5 1/3 innings and Trever Miller, Chris Perez, Jason Motte, Dennys Reyes and Franklin allowed just two hits the rest of the way.

"Our bullpen got a lot of outs, and I thought Wellemeyer was outstanding against a tough lineup," La Russa said.

Notes

  • LaRue was nearly dead meat when he accidentally stepped in front of the Racing Sausages during the Miller Park tradition before the bottom of the sixth inning. LaRue hopped out of the way just in time. "It was pretty funny. I think it would have been better if they had trampled him a little bit," Wellemeyer joked.
  • Brewers RF Corey Hart and 3B Bill Hall, both struggling, had the day off.
 
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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Todd Wellemeyer pitches 5 1/3 solid innings, striking out five and allowing just two runs. (AP)
Todd Wellemeyer pitches 5 1/3 solid innings, striking out five and allowing just two runs. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

N. Stavinoha
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Milwaukee

J. Hardy
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Brendan Ryan, SS3210201 .242
Chris Duncan, LF4010011 .257
Albert Pujols, 1B2000222 .318
Nick Stavinoha, RF3112013 .250
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
    Dennys Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Brian Barden, 3B3000112 .247
Jason LaRue, C4011012 .276
Joe Thurston, 2B4020001 .246
Todd Wellemeyer, P2000001 .150
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
   a- Khalil Greene, PH1000000 .200
    Colby Rasmus, CF1000010 .232
Skip Schumaker, CF-RF3010111 .310
Totals3037368  
a-grounded out for Perez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brendan Ryan (5, Parra), Nick Stavinoha (2, Parra), Joe Thurston 2 (11, Parra, Parra)
SF - Nick Stavinoha (1)
RBI - Nick Stavinoha 2 (8), Jason LaRue (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Albert Pujols (6, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Wellemeyer (W,5-4) 5.1622150 5.02
Trever Miller (H,4) 0.1000000 3.09
Chris Perez (H,3) 0.1000000 2.63
Jason Motte (H,10) 1100020 3.32
Dennys Reyes (H,8) 0.2000010 3.21
Ryan Franklin (S,12) 1.1100100 1.42
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 88-58, Trever Miller 9-5, Chris Perez 2-1, Jason Motte 15-12, Dennys Reyes 9-5, Ryan Franklin 24-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 3-8, Trever Miller 1-1, Jason Motte 1-0, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Ryan Franklin 2-2
Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 23, Trever Miller 2, Chris Perez 1, Jason Motte 4, Dennys Reyes 2, Ryan Franklin 6
Milwaukee Brewers
Craig Counsell, 2B5020010 .323
J.J. Hardy, SS5130002 .247
Ryan Braun, LF4000014 .315
Prince Fielder, 1B4010001 .265
Mike Cameron, CF3100121 .285
Frank Catalanotto, RF3022001 .333
   a- Casey McGehee, PH-RF1000000 .237
Mat Gamel, 3B3000112 .174
Jason Kendall, C3000012 .206
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
    Mitch Stetter, P0000000 .000
   b- Jody Gerut, PH1000001 .217
Manny Parra, P2000010 .063
    Mike Rivera, C2000011 .308
Totals3628228  
a-flied out for Catalanotto in the 8th
b-popped out for Stetter in the 9th
Batting
2B - J.J. Hardy (7, Motte)
3B - Frank Catalanotto (1, Wellemeyer)
RBI - Frank Catalanotto 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Frank Catalanotto 2 (2)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Frank Catalanotto 1
DP - Hardy-Fielder, Counsell-Hardy-Fielder
Milwaukee Brewers
Manny Parra (L,3-6) 6.2733560 5.57
Todd Coffey 1.1000010 2.70
Mitch Stetter 1000110 4.40
IBB - Pujols by Manny Parra, by Pujols
Pitches-Strikes - Manny Parra 108-59, Todd Coffey 19-12, Mitch Stetter 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Manny Parra 10-2, Todd Coffey 1-2, Mitch Stetter 1-0
Batters Faced - Manny Parra 30, Todd Coffey 4, Mitch Stetter 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40226
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Paul Nauert