Don't look now Milwaukee Brewers fans but the Brewers took another step closer to the second Wild Card spot by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Saturday night. With their second consecutive win over the Cardinals the Brewers moved within one game of the .500 mark on the season and pulled within five games of the Cardinals for that second wild card spot. The Brewers will play the third and final game of the series on Sunday afternoon as they go for the three game sweep and try and even their record and pull closer to the Cardinals.
On Saturday the Brewers had plenty of opportunities to score runs and put the game out of reach but they kept shooting themselves in the foot as they squandered chances for big innings. The Brewers pushed a couple runs across the board in the top of the second against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook. Aramis Ramirez who returned from a couple games missed due to injury led the inning off with a walk. Ramirez advanced to second on a single from Corey Hart and then onto third on another single by Jonathan Lucroy. Carlos Gomez dropped down a bunt to score and advance Lucroy to second. Lucroy would come around to score the second run on a single by starting pitcher Mike Fiers who had one previous hit on the season.
Fiers would allow a run in the Cardinals second on a two out run scoring single by the Cardinals Daniel Descalso to make the score 2-1 Brewers after two frames. The Brewers would get that run back in the third as back to back singles by Ryan Braun and Ramirez started the inning. Braun came around to score on an error by the Cardinals Skip Schumaker on a ball hit by Hart. When Lucroy followed with a single the Brewers had the bases loaded with nobody out. But the rally stopped there as Gomez popped out and Jeff Bianchi followed by hitting into an inning ending double play.
The score would remain 3-1 Brewers until the top of the seventh as Fiers battled through five frames without his best stuff but only allowed the one run on five hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts. In the seventh Rickie Weeks launched his 17th home run of the season to leadoff the frame and when Braun followed with an infield single and Ramirez doubled and Hart walked the Brewers had the bases loaded with nobody out yet again. And for the second time in the game they failed to score as Lucroy and Gomez struck out and Bianchi grounded out.
The Brewers lost opportunities looked like they were going to be costly when Francisco Rodriguez in the seventh and Jim Henderson in the eighth surrendered single runs as the Cardinals inched within 4-3 after eight innings. But the Brewers added a couple huge insurance runs in the top of the ninth when Ramirez homered for the 22nd time this season. Ramirez reached 90 runs batted in on the season as he had a perfect day at the plate as he went three for three to go along with two walks. The Brewers added their final run when Hart, Lucroy and Gomez strung together three singles as that trio had seven of the teams 15 base hits on the evening. Closer John Axford came on and converted his eighth consecutive save and 27th on the season. In game three of the series the Brewers will send Shaun Marcum to the hill to be opposed by the Cardinals Joe Kelly.
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