Brewers leave 13 on base in 6-5 loss to Cardinals
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers failed to capitalize on their chances against Jake Westbrook.
Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Thursday night.
The Brewers left 13 men on base and were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
"We left a lot of guys on," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We did a good job battling. I thought we swung the bat really well after Westbrook got out of there."
The Brewers came in 2-4 in eight career starts against Westbrook. If they thought they had a chance, Westbrook had another idea.
Westbrook (2-1) came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors -- it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.
The Cardinals were 1-3 in his previous starts this season and he had two no decisions coming into the start against the Brewers.
His teammates were happy for him and their celebration may explain the 21-minute delay for the media to enter the clubhouse.
"I got a little bit of a beer shower," he said. "It means a lot to me. A 100 wins for me is a sign of longevity, kind of grinding it out, year after year."
His record is 100-95, including 30-25 with the Cardinals.
The Brewers threatened in the sixth, but Westbrook worked out of the potential jam.
Rickie Weeks singled and then Westbrook issued a one-out walk to Maldonado. Alex Gonzalez hit a liner right at shortstop Pete Kozma who quickly stepped on second to get Weeks for an unassisted double play.
"Gonzalez, though, hit a bullet to shortstop for a double play," Roenicke said. "We didn't get too many breaks."
Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki's double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning.
The Cardinals chased Peralta in the fifth when they loaded the bases on two walks and a single with one out. Alfredo Figaro came on and got Westbrook to hit into a double play.
Peralta, facing the Cardinals for the first time in his career, went 4 1-3 innings, walked two and struck out three.
"His off-speed stuff wasn't as sharp as I think he needs to get it," Roenicke said. "He needs to be able to throw a slider for a strike when he needs to. He needs to be able to bounce it when he needs to. He needs to mix in his changeup more. His sinker is still pretty good and it was down most of the night, but, then, in the fifth, he came out and he was wild."
Still, Roenicke defended his pitcher.
"His outing definitely wasn't as bad as those numbers looked like," Roenicke said.
Westbrook's numbers looked great.
"It's always been a goal of mine to get to 100, and it's good to get it done," Westbrook said. "It's definitely not 300, but it was a goal of mine. It's an accomplishment I'll always have with me."
Roenicke knows what makes Westbrook a winner.
"His sinker is why he's so good," Roenicke said. "He locates it well. He keeps it down in the zone well. Even though you know it's going to sink, you still think you're on it and you end up hitting a ground ball."
Westbrook had to sweat out the final three innings before relaxing.
He left with a 6-1 lead for the relievers to protect, but the Brewers scored twice in the seventh, once in the eighth and once in the ninth.
Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his seventh save, but allowed Alex Gonzalez's two-out RBI single.
Trailing 6-1, pinch-hitter Logan Schafer greeted Joe Kelly with a single to start the seventh. Schafer advanced on Aoki's ground rule double and scored on Jean Segura' sacrifice fly. After Ryan Braun struck out, Kelly hit Yuniesky Bentancourt. Mitchell Boggs came on, but walked the first two batters he faced to force in a run. Trevor Rosenthal was next and he struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.
In the eighth, pinch-hitter Blake Lalli singled and advanced on second baseman Daniel Descalso's fielding error. He bobbled Aoki's grounder trying to start a double play. Segura struck out before Braun's single drove in Lalli. The Cardinals escaped when Rosenthal struck out Bentancourt.
"It's good to get a team win," Westbrook said.
St. Louis came in leading the majors with the best batting average (.330) with runners in scoring position and the top average (.337) with runners in scoring position and two outs.
They lived up to their reputation with six two-out runs in the third as 11 batters faced Peralta.
Allen Craig started the scoring with a bases-loaded, two-run single. Yadier Molina followed and drove in a run. David Freese, showing signs of breaking out of a season-long slump, knocked in a run with his second hit in the game. Then John Jay's single reloaded the bases for Kozma whose single brought in the final two runs.
NOTES: After the game, the Brewers optioned OF-INF Josh Prince to Triple-A Nashville. After 3B Aramis Ramirez ran the bases before the game, speculation has it that he is ready to return. He strained his left knee in the fourth game of the season and missed 22 games. ... The Brewers reinstated INF Jeff Bianchi (left hip) from the 15-day disabled list. OF Khris Davis was optioned Wednesday to Triple-A Nashville to make room for Bianchi. ... Freese's single (9 for 50) in the first raised his batting average to .180. ... The Cardinals had three broken-bat singles and two bloop hits in the third. ... Peralta swung so hard in the fourth that the bat flew out of hands and landed well beyond third base.