07/22/08 12:20 AM ET
Brewers power past Cards in extras
Hall's homer in 10th complements Weeks' earlier three-run shot
By Lee Hurwitz / MLB.com
Bill Hall made sure of that.
Hall came to the plate in the 10th inning and erased any doubt that this was the Brewers' game to win with a solo shot to left-center field, sending his team to a 6-3 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
"It was a slider out over the plate," Hall said. "Pretty good pitch, it was just up a bit. When it comes in, it's almost too good to hit anyway.
"As soon as I hit it, I knew I hit the good part of the bat. Seeing the trajectory of the ball, I knew it had a good chance of getting out."
The home run initiated a three-run inning that took closer Salomon Torres, who blew a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, off the hook and gave the Brewers their fifth straight win. Having defeated the Cardinals on the road, the Brewers moved into second place in the National League Central.
But even though Milwaukee picked up the win, the Brewers learned a pretty harsh lesson from their divisional opponents.
"To come out and play the best you can, it's always good to get off to a good start especially against a tough team like St. Louis," manager Ned Yost said. "But it showed that the St. Louis Cardinals over there, they don't die."
Torres entered the bottom of the ninth with a fragile one-run lead that cracked. The trouble started with a leadoff double to Yadier Molina.
"One mistake, that's all I can say," Torres said. "Oh-and-one, I gave him too good of a pitch. I should have known better. ... After that, you saw what happened."
What happened was what Torres referred to as "just baseball." After Torres struck out Ryan Ludwick looking, Jason LaRue pinch-hit for Cesar Izturis and hit a weak ground ball that deflected off Torres' glove and landed in no-man's land. Skip Schumaker followed with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Brendan Ryan to tie the game.
Torres bounced back though, keeping the Brewers in it. Aaron Miles reached on another infield single. That sent up the Cardinals' most dangerous hitter, Albert Pujols to the plate. But by staying cool after the previous sequence of at-bats, Torres retired Pujols to end the threat.
That allowed Hall to hit his go-ahead home run off Ryan Franklin and after that, the Brewers began to add some insurance.
Jason Kendall, who went 3-for-4, hit his second double of the night and scored when second baseman Rickie Weeks singled and reached second on an error. J.J. Hardy added another single, scoring Weeks to give the Brewers a three-run cushion.
The first five innings weren't so easy, as the Brewers had to battle the heat and a strong Joel Pineiro. The Cardinals scored two runs in the first off Seth McClung when Troy Glaus hit a two-run double and behind Pineiro's performance. McClung admitted he did not have his best stuff early.
"It's a situation where I didn't feel like I had anything today, so I just tried to battle and keep their hitters at arms length," said McClung, who lasted five innings and gave up two runs on five hits. "Glaus got a good pitch to hit. It was right down the middle."
But what the Brewers needed -- a strong performance from the mound -- McClung gave them over the next four innings. The Cardinals only got three more hits through the eighth inning -- all off McClung -- and the Brewers pounced when their opponent was down.
Pineiro faltered in the fifth. Kendall and McClung happily obliged to take advantage, getting a double and single to start the inning. Weeks followed with a moon shot -- a 431-foot home run that landed in the upper deck in left field.
Nearly three years ago to the day, Weeks hit a 460-foot home run off Cal Eldred at the old Busch Stadium. He has hit all nine of his home runs in 2008 on the road.
"Rickie is just beginning to scratch the surface of what he can do offensively," Yost said. "He's going to be a monster offensive player when it's all said and done."
Making an appearance in the eighth inning was Ray Durham, fresh off his recent trade from the San Francisco Giants. Durham bounced into a fielder's choice but reached first.
Lee Hurwitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.