St. Louis at Milwaukee

Scoreboard
St. Louis (91-65)001002001483
Milwaukee (69-86) «22000020x680

Brewers beat playoff-bound Cardinals in home finale

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- The young Brewers got a taste of what a pennant race is like.

The 6-4 victory Sunday night against the NL Central-leading Cardinals might be even more valuable next season for Milwaukee than in a 2013 campaign weighed down by injuries and the doping suspension of slugger Ryan Braun.

Norichika Aoki scored three times and doubled home a run, and Jim Henderson got Matt Adams, representing the potential go-ahead run, to strike out to end the game and close out the season at Miller Park on a high note.

"I think it's great for them. You play the Cardinals right now, it's a playoff atmosphere," manager Ron Roenicke said. "But all this is growth for them, and [when] the pressure spots come up, because they will, they can handle them better."

The Brewers are in fourth in the NL Central, long out of the pennant race at 17 games under .500. More pressure is on the division-leading Cardinals, who learned earlier Sunday they were assured of at least an NL wild card after Washington lost its doubleheader opener against Miami.

The Cardinals chased Peralta after loading the bases in the sixth with no outs. Reliever Donovan Hand allowed two runs to score on consecutive sacrifice flies to cut the Brewers' lead to 4-3, but he got out of the jam by getting Matt Carpenter to strike out on a curve with the tying run at third.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina misplayed a throw to the plate for another error in a two-run seventh that restored Milwaukee's three-run cushion. St. Louis also committed two errors in the Brewers' two-run second.

For some reason, the Cardinals just weren't sharp.

"We made many mistakes and were lucky to have been that close," manager Mike Matheny said. "From here on out we have to play clean baseball and they know that. But when you don't do it, you have to make up for it somehow."

Working through a nagging blister on his right index finger, Wily Peralta (11-15) struggled through five-plus innings by giving up five hits and walking five. Henderson earned his 26th save after allowing Carlos Beltran's RBI single in the ninth before striking out Adams.

The Brewers lost Braun in late July to suspension. Rickie Weeks was lost for the season in August to strained left hamstring. Corey Hart never even made it out of spring training and hurt both knees this year.

So Milwaukee has turned to young players to solidify the team. For instance, Peralta, 24, will be counted on to continue to mature and solidify the rotation next year.

The blister that has plagued him of late felt the worst it's been all season on Sunday.

"You know, I walked a lot of people, but I think I made big pitches when I needed to," Peralta said.

St. Louis remains two games up in the division, but now has two teams to fend off in second after the Reds defeated Pittsburgh 11-3 to pull into a tie with the Pirates.

Errors by third baseman David Freese and starter Joe Kelly (9-5) helped contribute to the two Milwaukee runs in the second.

Kelly hesitated on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the first after getting Carlos Gomez to bounce sharply back to the mound with runners on first and third. That allowed a run to score from third.

Aoki had led off the first with a single and came home on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez with one out. Aoki then reached on an RBI double in the second before scoring after Kelly threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt by Scooter Gennett.

"My stuff felt good," Kelly said. "Obviously, me throwing away a ball didn't help. Just one of those games and that kind of stuff happens."

Kelly went seven innings, allowing seven hits and six runs -- three of them unearned.

Notes

LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup with back spasms. ... St. Louis has a major league-leading 34 wins from rookie pitchers this season, their most since also getting 34 in 1952. ... Manager Ron Roenicke thinks SS Jean Segura will be available for pinch-hitting duties for the Brewers' three-game set starting Monday in Atlanta. Segura, the NL leader in steals with 44, has been sidelined since Wednesday with a strained right hamstring. ... LF Khris Davis was out of the lineup Sunday due to a nagging wrist injury, but is also likely to return to action in Atlanta.

 
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Norichika Aoki scores three times and doubles home a run against the Cardinals, who are already assured a playoff spot. (USATSI)
Norichika Aoki scores three times and doubles home a run against the Cardinals, who are already assured a playoff spot. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

N. Aoki
AB 2
R 3
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
St. Louis

M. Carpenter
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Carpenter, 2B3221211 .324
Jon Jay, CF5020011 .269
Carlos Beltran, RF3011211 .297
Matt Adams, 1B5000036 .278
Yadier Molina, C3110110 .315
David Freese, 3B3110000 .265
Daniel Descalso, SS4010002 .235
Shane Robinson, LF3001002 .248
Joe Kelly, P2001010 .129
   John Axford, P0000000 .000
   a-Adron Chambers, PH1000010 .143
Totals3248459  
a-struck out for Axford in the 9th
Batting
HR - Matt Carpenter (11, Peralta)
SF - Shane Robinson (4), Joe Kelly (1)
RBI - Matt Carpenter (77), Carlos Beltran (82), Shane Robinson (13), Joe Kelly (2)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran (29)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - M. Carpenter-Adams
E - David Freese (11, Misplayed grounder), Joe Kelly (3, Throwing), Yadier Molina (4, Missed catch of throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Joe Kelly (L,9-5) 7763220 2.81
John Axford 1100010 4.08
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Kelly 95-61, John Axford 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Kelly 14-6
Batters Faced - Joe Kelly 31, John Axford 4
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF2321200 .287
Scooter Gennett, 2B4121011 .323
Jonathan Lucroy, 1B3111002 .281
   Yuniesky Betancourt, 1B0000000 .209
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4011001 .276
Carlos Gomez, CF4011000 .282
Logan Schafer, LF4000012 .217
Jeff Bianchi, SS4010000 .241
Martin Maldonado, C4100012 .167
Wily Peralta, P1000000 .140
   Donovan Hand, P0000000 .091
   a-Juan Francisco, PH1000000 .228
   Brandon Kintzler, P0000000 .000
   Jim Henderson, P0000000 .000
Totals3168523  
a-grounded out for Hand in the 7th
Batting
2B - Norichika Aoki (17, Kelly), Scooter Gennett (11, Kelly), Jonathan Lucroy (24, Kelly)
3B - Carlos Gomez (10, Kelly)
SF - Jonathan Lucroy (8)
SH - Wily Peralta (9)
RBI - Norichika Aoki (34), Scooter Gennett (19), Jonathan Lucroy (79), Aramis Ramirez (48), Carlos Gomez (69)
2-OUT RBI - Norichika Aoki (5)
SB - Carlos Gomez (37, 2nd base off Kelly/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Lucroy-Bianchi-Peralta
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wily Peralta (W,11-15) 5533531 4.37
Donovan Hand (H,2) 2000030 3.56
Brandon Kintzler (H,25) 1000010 2.84
Jim Henderson (S,26) 1311020 2.64
WP - Wily Peralta (12)
HBP - Freese (by Wily Peralta)
Pitches-Strikes - Wily Peralta 88-46, Donovan Hand 21-14, Brandon Kintzler 18-10, Jim Henderson 27-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wily Peralta 3-8, Donovan Hand 1-2, Brandon Kintzler 1-1, Jim Henderson 1-0
Batters Faced - Wily Peralta 25, Donovan Hand 6, Brandon Kintzler 3, Jim Henderson 6
Game Information
Attendance - 27389
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez