July 24, 2008

Braun "Halls" the Cards in sweep

Milwaukee played to the series script again tonight, the hero coming on late. Tonight's hero was an understudy of sorts. Playing the part of Billy Hall, Ryan Braun clobbered a ninth inning mistake pitch by closer Ryan Franklin, with a man on base no less, putting the Brewers up 4-3 and Saloman Torres closing as a closer is supposed to, with plenty of rest and one inning to throw.

Once again the Cards didn't get much out of a starter, Todd Wellemeyer going only five innings. He gave up only two runs, but got into a little too much trouble with walks, issuing five free passes to only two strikeouts, using 92 pitches just to get through the five innings he threw.

The Cards took an early 1-0 lead when Rick Ankiel singled home Skip Schumaker. They added a run in the third, Kennedy walking, advancing to third on an Aaron Miles double, then scoring on an Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.

The Brewers cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth when Wellemeyer walked Jason Kendall with the bases loaded.

Wellemeyer made up for his free pass in the bottom of the fourth. After a Ryan Ludwick walk, Wellemeyer got a basehit to right field that got past Corey Hart and rolled all the into the right field corner. Ludwick scored from first base on the play, putting the Cards back up by two at 3-1.
Milwaukee put together a couple singles, a walk, and a fielder's choice to score in the fifth, bringing them back within a run at 3-2.

Russ Springer relieved Wellemeyer, pitching a scoreless sixth, walking one and striking out one.

Kyle McClellan took over from there, giving up a one-out basehit in the seventh, then asking for trouble by walking a batter. A middle infield consisting of Aaron Miles at shortstop and Adam Kennedy at second combined for a double play, however, to get the Cards out of the jam.

McClellan started the eighth, most likely an effort by La Russa to cut down the amount of outs Franklin would have to throw in closing. After one out and a single, Franklin did get the call. The Cards got out of the inning, but weren't so lucky in the ninth, when Franklin threw two mistake pitches in a row to Ryan Braun, the first one went for a strike, the second went for a ride, into the left-center field bleachers, the Brewers taking the lead late on the Cardinals' bullpen once more, this time, 4-3.

The Brewers swept in what now seemed so scripted, the last show in St. Louis tonight, and Cardinal Nation glad the show is leaving town. The Brewers played in all the starring roles, but to Cardinal Nation, it was like more like a tragedy.
photo by Barbara Moore