W: Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.94 ERA) L: Jaime Garcia (2-1, 2.78 ERA) SV: John Axford (5)
The Brewers (10-12) defeated the Cardinals (14-7) at Busch Stadium for their 10th win of the season.
Overall, Milwaukee did not play well in the series as they were blown out Friday night and took another loss Saturday afternoon. The Brewers were able to get everything clicking Sunday as Greinke was finally able to find his groove on the road away from Miller Park. Milwaukee collected nine hits as a team which is a good sign considering the Cardinals currently have the second-best pitching staff statistically in the National League. The Brewers have a long ways to go before being mentioned in the same breath as the Cardinals as favorites to win the NL Central, but this one victory could do a lot for the team’s confidence.
With that, here are five reasons why Milwaukee was able to defeat St. Louis Sunday afternoon.
Greinke gave his best performance on the road in a very long time. He kept the powerful St. Louis hitters in check as he only surrendered one earned run on seven hits in 6 innings pitched. Greinke struck out two batters, which is unusual for him as he averages seven strikeouts per game. He also walked four batters, something he hardly does, but was still able to make the right pitches when necessary. With Yovani Gallardo struggling in his two outings against the Cardinals it is important Greinke takes the reins and let his pitching do the talking.
The Brewers have been inconsistent at times with their offense but they were able to get hits and just enough runs to win the ball game. Eight different players collected a hit, including Greinke who singled in the third inning. Norichika Aoki was the only Milwaukee bench player to get a hit.
3. Jonathan Lucroy
Lucroy had an outstanding spring training at the plate and has continued to have similar success during the regular season. Lucroy singled and doubled in the game and came up big for the Brewers in the sixth inning. With Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart on base, Lucroy doubled on a line drive off the left field wall to give Milwaukee a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.
The bullpen has been horrendous for a good part of the season and has to pick it up if the Brewers want to have a chance at defending their NL Central title. Relievers Jose Veras and Kameron Loe combined to pitch 1.2 innings and only allowed two Cardinals to reach base (one hit, one walk). Francisco Rodriguez entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up a run but still recovered enough to record the hold. This is how Milwaukee needs it’s bullpen to pitch in order to stay in games.
5. John Axford
John Axford recorded his 47th consecutive save dating back to last season, but it did not come easy. Axford allowed Matt Holliday to lead-off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk and Carlos Beltran followed with a single. With pinch-runner Tyler Greene on third base and Beltran at first, Axford stuck out David Freese. He then went to work on Yadier Molina, who struck out swinging. In the process, Beltran attempted to steal second and got caught in a pickle. Meanwhile, Greene tried to make a break for home but Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez threw the ball to Lucroy in time for the out.