Game Report: Brewers 5, Cardinals 4 (10 innings)

By Rob Rains

Greg Holland’s debut with the Cardinals came an inning later than planned – and certainly did not go as planned.

Holland, signed to be the closer and the ninth inning pitcher, relieved in the 10th on Monday night after the Cardinals sent the game to extra innings with their first ninth-inning run of the season.

Holland walked the first batter he faced, and the second, and after a sacrifice bunt, issued an intentional walk to load the bases. Then came another walk which forced in the run that gave the Brewers the 5-4 win at Busch Stadium.

It was the first time in Holland’s 371 games in the major leagues that he walked four batters in a game.

“It’s hard to walk four guys and consider that a success,” Holland said. “I just struggled with my command. There’s really no excuses for walking four guys in an inning. I put myself in a tough spot … sometimes you just don’t have a good feel for the strike zone.

“I was looking forward to getting in there sooner rather than later and getting the first outing out of the way. I wish it had went better, but we’ll go from there.”

Holland threw 19 pitches, only six for strikes.

Holland signed with the Cardinals on opening day after missing all of spring training. He pitched in two games last week in Florida, each one-inning assignments.

“I think he was probably amped up,” said manager Mike Matheny. “It was a tough spot for anybody to come into with a new team; it was just one of those days.”

Bud Norris took over for Holland and got out of the jam, but the Cardinals went down in order in the bottom of the 10th.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: With the Cardinals trailing 4-3, Yadier Molina led off the ninth with a single and went to second on an infield single by Paul DeJong before a perfect bunt by Kolten Wong loaded the bases. After pinch-hitter Greg Garcia flied out, Dexter Fowler’s sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Luke Weaver … The Cardinals scored their other three runs in the third, one on a single by Fowler and two on a bases-loaded single by Marcell Ozuna, his first at-bat with a runner in scoring position in four games … The Cardinals had only one more hit, a double by DeJong in the fourth, until the ninth-inning rally.

On the mound: Mile Mikolas made his home debut, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs … Tyler Lyons got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and Sam Tuivailala pitched two scoreless innings, stranding a runner at third in the eighth, to get the game to the 10th inning … With the three runners he stranded, Norris has now stranded all nine runners he has inherited this season.

Key stat: Until the ninth inning run, the Cardinals had been outscored 12-2 in the seventh through ninth innings this year, with their only runs coming on solo homers by DeJong and Matt Carpenter, each in the eighth inning, in the second and third games of the season. They entered Monday night’s game with a combined team average of .152 in those three innings, and the three ninth inning hits raised the average to .165 (17-of-103) with 34 strikeouts in 29 innings.

In the training room: Jose Martinez left the game in the ninth inning after colliding with Lorenzo Cain on a play at first base. He was diagnosed with a contusion on his right Achilles. Matheny said the team will know more about the injury on Tuesday but that “everything right now is pointing in the right direction.”

Worth noting:
Francisco Pena made his Cardinals debut, catching the 10th inning. He became the fourth set of fathers and sons to both play for the Cardinals, joining Pedro Borbon Sr. and Jr., Ed and Omar Olivares and Ed and Scott Spiezio … Ozuna, Tommy Pham and Fowler have started all 10 games this season in the outfield. It’s the first time the Cardinals used the same three starters in the outfield in the first 10 games of the season since 1983, when they started Lonnie Smith, David Green and George Hendrick … As expected, the Cardinals sent Mike Mayers back to Memphis to make room for Holland. Mayers had pitched only one inning, on Sunday, since opening day … Luke Gregerson made his second rehab appearance for Palm Beach on Monday night, working one scoreless inning, allowing one hit, while striking out two. He threw 19 pitches, 12 for strikes. It is likely Gregerson will get a day off, then try to pitch in back to back games before the Cardinals make a move to activate him … Jedd Gyorko took batting practice before Monday night’s game and could go out on a short rehab assignment when the team leaves town later this week … Carson Kelly hit his first homer of the season on Monday night for Memphis, where Daniel Poncedeleon made his first start since May 9 of last year, when he was hit in the head by a line drive. He worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking four and striking out five.

Looking ahead: Carlos Martinez will get the start in Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

Post-Game Audio:

Post-Game Cardinals Audio: Mike Matheny, Greg Holland