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St. Louis at Milwaukee

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St. Louis (72-64) «2004020008101
Milwaukee (81-56)1011000003110

Cards' Westbrook hits grand slam, defeats Brewers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Jake Westbrook hoped his drive would merely stay fair. Turns out, Westbrook's big hit is keeping things interesting in the NL Central.

Westbrook hit his first major-league home run -- a grand slam -- to lead St. Louis to an 8-3 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.

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"It's pretty special," Westbrook said. "To go back and say you hit a grand slam in the big leagues, it's a lot of fun. ... I'm still not that great of a hitter."

Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols added solo home runs as the Cardinals won their fifth in six games to cut the first-place Brewers' lead to 8½ games in the NL Central.

"Our team needs to generate a lot of wins," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "If we win a lot of games, a couple of weeks from now, we can get excited."

The Cardinals' victory guaranteed Milwaukee will lose its first series at home since Arizona took two of three at Miller Park on July 4-6. The Brewers haven't been swept at home this season.

"We still have to win games once they leave. We still have to play other teams. It's not too dramatic as far as they sweep us," Milwaukee's Prince Fielder said. "It's not good for us. [But] it's not the end of the world."

Furcal led off the game with a home run and Pujols followed two batters later with his NL-leading 32nd. Westbrook (11-7) tossed five innings, and his slam in the fourth gave St. Louis a 6-2 lead.

Of the past four pitchers to hit grand slams in the major leagues, three have been Cardinals.

Milwaukee has the best home record in the majors at 50-18, but the Brewers have been sloppy each of the past two games and failed in their second and final chance to set a new franchise record for victories in any month at 22.

"The hotness is still over there," La Russa said. "They're legit, their record, they've earned and they'll be tough to catch."

Brewers starter Randy Wolf (11-9) couldn't escape trouble in the fourth with the game tied at 2 after hitting the first two batters of the inning.

Yadier Molina followed with a sharp fly ball that hit the right-field wall.

David Freese stopped at third and Lance Berkman couldn't advance past second, leaving Molina momentarily hung up on the bases, but the Cardinals catcher scrambled back to first just ahead of Fielder's tag to load the bases.

"I did the right thing throwing it to home," second baseman Jerry Hairston said. "It just so happens you don't expect a guy going back to first on a sure double.

"It's a weird play and it just worked out in their favor. Prince was right where he was supposed to be. Everybody was where they were supposed to be. You don't expect a guy hit a ball off the wall to have to go back to first."

After Ryan Theriot's fielder's choice cut down Freese at the plate, Westbrook hit a drive down the left-field line for his first career home run. Pinch-hitter Corey Patterson's RBI double and Furcal's run-scoring single off Marco Estrada in the sixth gave St. Louis an 8-3 lead.

"We've got to go out there and win ball games, that's the attitude we're taking," Westbrook said. "It was another good win for us and we need to do what we can to get on a good streak and keep it going."

Corey Hart hit a home run to start the game for Milwaukee, but Ryan Braun fell halfway down the third-base line on what would have been an inside-the-park home run in the third.

With Nyjer Morgan on first, Braun appeared to have an inside-the-park home run when center fielder Allen Craig awkwardly dived at the wall and the ball caromed away.

Braun rounded third base but lost his balance down the line and fell flat. By the time he got back on his feet, Molina had the relay throw and began a rundown that ended when Freese tagged him out at third.

Braun received a standing ovation from the crowd of 38,073 and a few chuckles in the dugout for his RBI triple, but the play only tied the score at 2 instead of giving the Brewers the lead.

"It's unfortunate," Fielder said. "It was gravity."

Westbrook followed with his big hit before Hairston's single in the fourth cut St. Louis' lead to 6-3, but the Brewers never got closer.

"We've established we're going to tough out the season," La Russa said. "This month, there were a couple of periods there it was discouraging because Milwaukee couldn't lose and we were mugging games."

Notes

  • It was Furcal's 28th career leadoff home run.
  • The Brewers agreed to terms with 16-year-old OF Juan Ortiz from the Dominican Republic on a 2012 minor-league contract. The agreement is pending a standard MLB age-identification investigation.
  • The Cardinals will shuffle their rotation again this weekend by moving RHP Edwin Jackson to Sunday's game against the Reds to help him avoid pitching against the Brewers for a fourth time in the span of a little more than a month.
  • Milwaukee will try to avoid being swept at home for the first time this season on Thursday when Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37 ERA) faces rookie RHP Brandon Dickson, who will be making his first major-league start and third career appearance.
 
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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Albert Pujols watches his NL-leading 32nd home run leave the yard in the first inning against the Brewers. (AP)
Albert Pujols watches his NL-leading 32nd home run leave the yard in the first inning against the Brewers. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Westbrook
IP 5.0
H 8
ER 2
BB 0
K 1
Milwaukee

J. Hairston
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rafael Furcal, SS5122001 .215
Allen Craig, CF3000010 .311
    Jon Jay, CF1000011 .295
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .143
    Marc Rzepczynski, P0000000 .000
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-RF1000000 .298
Albert Pujols, 1B5111001 .286
Matt Holliday, LF5010000 .302
David Freese, 3B3010011 .301
    Daniel Descalso, 3B0000000 .259
Lance Berkman, RF2100112 .285
    Jason Motte, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4220001 .298
Ryan Theriot, 2B3110003 .275
Jake Westbrook, P1114000 .119
   b- Corey Patterson, PH-CF2111000 .245
Totals35810814  
a-flied out for Rzepczynski in the 9th
b-doubled for Westbrook in the 6th
Batting
2B - Matt Holliday (34, Wolf), Corey Patterson (20, M. Estrada)
HR - Rafael Furcal (4, Wolf), Albert Pujols (32, Wolf), Jake Westbrook (1, Wolf)
SH - Ryan Theriot (5), Jake Westbrook (7)
RBI - Rafael Furcal 2 (20), Albert Pujols (79), Jake Westbrook 4 (8), Corey Patterson (36)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Allen Craig 1
DP - Westbrook-Furcal-Pujols, Freese-Theriot-Pujols
E - Albert Pujols (11, Missed catch of throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook (W,11-7) 5832011 4.72
Kyle McClellan 2200020 3.88
Marc Rzepczynski 1000010 2.45
Jason Motte 1100000 1.65
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 66-45, Kyle McClellan 31-18, Marc Rzepczynski 12-9, Jason Motte 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 9-2, Kyle McClellan 1-3, Marc Rzepczynski 1-1, Jason Motte 1-2
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 20, Kyle McClellan 8, Marc Rzepczynski 3, Jason Motte 4
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Corey Hart, RF4111001 .285
Nyjer Morgan, CF4100000 .307
Ryan Braun, LF4021010 .333
Prince Fielder, 1B4010011 .293
Casey McGehee, 3B4000001 .236
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4120000 .251
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B4031012 .278
George Kottaras, C4010002 .241
Randy Wolf, P1000012 .160
   a- Taylor Green, PH10100001.000
    Marco Estrada, P0000000 .250
    Chris Narveson, P0000000 .159
   b- Craig Counsell, PH1000000 .170
    Frankie De La Cruz, P0000000 .000
Totals35311304  
a-singled for Wolf in the 5th
b-flied out for Narveson in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jerry Hairston Jr. (17, Motte)
3B - Ryan Braun (5, Westbrook), Yuniesky Betancourt (3, Westbrook)
HR - Corey Hart (22, Westbrook)
RBI - Corey Hart (51), Ryan Braun (89), Jerry Hairston Jr. (28)
SB - Ryan Braun (31, 2nd base off Westbrook/Molina)
CS - Ryan Braun (5, 3rd base by Westbrook/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Randy Wolf (L,11-9) 5766033 3.58
Marco Estrada 1322010 4.25
Chris Narveson 1000100 4.28
Frankie De La Cruz 2000000 2.70
HBP - Freese (by Randy Wolf), Berkman (by Randy Wolf)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wolf 76-44, Marco Estrada 24-15, Chris Narveson 14-8, Frankie De La Cruz 23-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wolf 7-5, Marco Estrada 2-0, Chris Narveson 2-1, Frankie De La Cruz 2-4
Batters Faced - Randy Wolf 24, Marco Estrada 6, Chris Narveson 4, Frankie De La Cruz 6
Game Information
Attendance - 38073
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Bill Welke