Game Report: Cardinals 5, Brewers 1

By Rob Rains 

After Adam Wainwright threw a called third strike past Hernan Perez to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the eighth inning Saturday night, Jhonny Peralta had a message for him.

“Jhonny came up to me and he said, ‘We’re going to pick you up right here,’” Wainwright said.

Peralta was a man of his word.

His infield single led off the bottom of the inning and ignited a five-run rally that carried Wainwright and the Cardinals to a 5-1 win over the Brewers at Busch Stadium.

The rally gave Wainwright, 11-8, his first win at home since July 16 and the Cardinals their first back-to-back wins at Busch Stadium since a five-game streak ended on July 22. Thanks to the Braves’ 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Mets, the Cardinals moved back into the second wild-card spot, a half-game ahead of New York.

Randal Grichuk followed Peralta’s single with a double, and pinch-hitter Matt Adams got the tying run home with a groundout. After Matt Carpenter was intentionally walked, Kolten Wong singled through the right side of the infield to put the Cardinals in front and knock out reliever Corey Knebel.

Stephen Piscotty greeted reliever Jhan Marinez with a two-run double to increase the lead to 4-1, and Yadier Molina’s RBI single capped the rally.

“I said, ‘You knew what was going to happen huh,’” Wainwright said back to Peralta after the inning, “and he said, ‘When you got the last out I knew we were going to score.’”

The strikeout of Perez kept it a 1-0 game, with the only run through the first seven innings coming on Keon Broxton’s seventh homer of the year with one out in the fifth. It was only the second home run Wainwright had allowed in 89 innings at home this year.

The Brewers, however, had threatened to add to their lead in the top of the eighth. With one out and runners on first and second, Scooter Gennett singled to center, but Grichuk threw out pinch-runner Jake Elmore at the plate. Gennett went to second on the throw, and that let the Cardinals intentionally walk Ryan Braun to load the bases and bring Perez to the plate.

Perez thought the final pitch was outside, to the point that he tossed his helmet and was ejected.

“I was fortunate to get that out, and give our offense a chance,” Wainwright said.

Just as big of a play in the inning, however, was Elmore getting gunned down at the plate by Grichuk. If he had stopped at third, the bases would have been loaded with Braun at the plate and only one out.

The Cardinals needed Wainwright to keep the Brewers from adding to their lead as well, knowing they do not have any margin for error in their battle with the Giants and Mets for the two wild card spots.

“It was a big game, we needed that game, we wanted that game,” Wainwright said. “You’ve got to make your pitches. We’ll take that win for sure.”

Added Matheny, “Guys made good plays behind him. That's our team, just keep playing. It was nice to see him get rewarded for getting through a tough eighth. With his back against the wall is typically when he is at his best."

NOTES:
RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who has out since July 26 because of inflammation in his right shoulder, threw live batting practice on Saturday. The team hopes to activate him sometime next week. ... After thinking Aledmys Diaz might be back in St. Louis on Saturday, he instead continued his rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield, starting in Game 4 of the Texas League playoffs. He went 0-for-5 as the Cardinals were eliminated by Northwest Arkansas. He is scheduled to return to St. Louis on Sunday and could be activated for the final game of the series. ... Luke Weaver starts for the Cardinals against Zach Davies on Sunday.