September 28, 2015

Go-ahead granny deflates 45,000-plus at Busch

ST. LOUIS--BUSCH STADIUM--If there is any way the St. Louis Cardinals could tell the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, "Hey, come take us down, even the Brewers can come into our house and yank that Division Crown from under our spikes."

That may be far-fetched in the light of morning, but last night is must've felt like the Eve of Destruction, for 45,021 at Busch, who watched in disbelief as the Milwaukee Brewers jolted the home team with a seven run, come-from-behind win (after trailing 1-0 in the middle innings) featuring a grand slam off Cardinals' closer, Trevor Rosenthal.

Jason Rogers delivered the stunning blast, a grand slam off Rosenthal, who had given up a single to Shane Peterson to lead off the Brewers' ninth. Rosenthal hit the next batter, Martin Maldonado, with a pitch. Both Peterson and Maldonado moved up on a wild pitch. Rosenthal then walked Jhonathan Lucroy on five pitches, setting the bases-jammed stage for Rodgers, who clouted an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center field.

The Rogers granny brought the Brewers back from a 4-1 deficit to a 5-4 lead, so the Cardinals still had a chance to play catch up once, something they'd been doing successfully, more and more in recent games.

Card's manager, Mike Matheny, called on Seth Maness from the bullpen, Rosenthal having retired no one.

The move didn't pan out.

Logan Schafer line a single to left field, then moved on to second base on a successful sacrifice bunt by Jean Segura. At this point of the game, the Brewers were simply trying to add insurance to their one-run lead. The Cardinals countered by intentionally walking Adam Lind, as Maness has proven well as a reliever who can throw double-plays.

The move didn't pan out.

Milwaukee's Khris Davis crushed a three-run homer to center field, happy to take the extra free run on the intentional pass, to make it 8-3.

St. Louis would put one comeback run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the last inning, but the Brewers left Busch Stadium in psychological ruins, winning 8-4 in their last meeting of the season with the Cardinals. The game also marked the last home game of the regular season for St. Louis, who now travels to Pittsburgh to begin a crucial three-game series at PNC Park.

To get an idea of how unlikely a comeback Milwaukee pulled off, some facts gleaned from an article stated that up to last night's game, the Brewers were 0-85 in games in which they were behind after eight innings while the Cardinals were 86-0 in games in which they lead going into the ninth. In an apples and oranges way of looking at the stats, you could say the teams went 171 games, with all the probability that goes with the streak, saying last night's game would've ended happily for the Cardinals.

Those odds didn't pan out.

Since the Cubs returned the 4-0 shutout favor to Pittsburgh Sunday night from their previous meeting, the Bucs yet trail the Cardinals by three full games in the NL Central Division, thus creating the most important series for both St. Louis and Pittsburgh of the season beginning Monday night.