July 21, 2008

Hall hits tenth inning homer to ruin Cards' comeback

Bill Hall's extra-inning leadoff solo shot put the Brewers up to stay as the Milwaukee Brewers outlasted and outscored the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in the first game of a four-game series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Earlier, Rickie Weeks launched a three-run homer into the upper deck in left field to supply the first three runs. Hall added the go-ahead run, and Weeks and J.J. Hardy driving home the insurance runs in the tenth.

Joel Pineiro, who gave up the Weeks' bomb, ended up with another no decision. Pineiro had given up 10 of the Brewers' 16 hits on the night in which the Cardinals would have to use a considerable amount of bullpen once more, limiting their options over at least the next couple of games.

Pineiro gave up a double in the first inning, but settled down fast, getting both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder to ground out.

Milwaukee's Seth McClung didn't fare as well, Troy Glaus continuing his hot power swinging with a two-out, two-RBI double, bringing home Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel to put the Cards up 2-0.

In the second, Pineiro got hit hard by Corey Hart who lined out. Billy Hall then singled, but Glaus snagged a Mike Cameron liner and snapped a throw to first to double off Hall for an inning-ending double play.

Pineiro tried to start up the offense in the Cardinal second with a single. An out later, Schumaker reaching on an infield single, but the Cards could make nothing out of it, leaving two men on base.

Pujols walked and stole second in the third inning, but was stranded there after McClung struck out Ankiel and Glaus, then got Chris Duncan to pop out.

For the second inning in a row, Pineiro cruised, giving up only a single to Hart in the fourth.

McClung set down Molina, Pineiro, and Izturis, one-two-three in the bottom of the fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Jason Kendall hit a ground rule double down the right field line. McClung then helped his own cause by following up with a single. Rickie Weeks then launched a missle to left field, the ball barely taking a downward arch with it hit three rows up in Big Mac Land, the first main deck in left field. The three-run blast put the Brewers on top 3-2.

McClung then threw another effective inning, the Cardinals wasting a leadoff single by Schumaker.

Pineiro then worked through a rough inning but kept the Brewers within one before Russ Springer relieved him to start the seventh. Before Springer took the hill, the Brewers' Guillermo held the Cards. Springer then did the same.

Brewers' manager Ned Yost then countered with reliever Eric Gagne, who struck out Izturis and Schumaker, then got Miles to ground out.

Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa replaced springer with recently called-up Kelvin Jimenez. Hall singled to lead off the inning, then stole second. Jimenez pitched through an error by center fielder Ankiel, getting out of the jam.

David Riske then took a turn in relief for the Brewers. Pujols lined out to right field. Riske struck out Ankiel. Glaus drew a walk, Riske looking like he was pitching around him. With two out, Duncan hit a pop fly to shallow left field, Ryan Braun sprinting in to make the catch and end the Cardinal's eighth inning chances.

La Russa would leave Jimenez in to work the Brewers ninth, getting a pop out, then striking out Braun. La Russa would not let him face Prince Fielder, however, bringing in Ron Villone to face the ever-dangerous lefty swinger. Villone walked Fielder, and La Russa called in Ryan Franklin to face Hart. After going down 0-2 in the count, Hart popped up to shallow right field, Schumaker dashing in to make the catch, Franklin and the Cardinals holding off the Brewers once more and ready to take their shot at some more last-inning heroics, down only one run.

Saloman Torres would come on in relief for the Brewers to close.

Yadier Molina gave the Cards that shot, leading off with a long fly to right-center field that hopped over the fence for a ground rule double. Brendan Ryan pinch-ran for Molina. Ryan Ludwick pinch hit for Villone, striking out.

Jason LaRue then pinch hit for Izturis, hitting a hard ground ball that Torres deflected, shortstop Weeks unable to pick it up and throw out LaRue at first, Ryan advancing to third. Schumaker lofted a sacrifice fly to left field, Braun camping under it, fielding and firing home, but overthrew, Ryan tagging up and scoring the tying run, making it 3-3.

Miles then reached on a ground ball to second baseman Weeks, who could not do anything with the ball, LaRue safe at second. Pujols had a chance to hit a game winner, but flew out to Cameron in center field.

The game headed into the tenth with Franklin remaining on the mound for the Cards. Hall jumped on a fat, high pitch to lead off the inning, depositing it in the left-center field bleachers, the Brewers retaking the lead at 4-3.

Kendall drove a ball into the right-center field gap, a stand-up double with one out. After Torres lined out to Ankiel in center, Weeks played spoiler again, this time reaching on an infield single, a play on which Miles made a diving catch, but also on which he leaped up to throw wide to first base, permitting Kendall to score, extending the Brewers lead to 5-3. J.J. Hardy then singled home Weeks to tack on some insurance at 6-3.

In the bottom of the tenth, Glaus hit a one-out double, but the Cardinals could not put anything together against Torres, dropping the first game of the series.

Torres snagged the late-inning victory, now 5-2.

Franklin was charged with the loss, his record now 3-3.
photo by Barbara Moore