What the St. Louis Cardinals are doing with runners in scoring position in 2013 is otherworldly. The Cardinals delivered four straight hits with runners in scoring position with two outs in the eighth inning, turning a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park Monday night.
The Cardinals are hitting .329 with runners in scoring position this season, compared to a major-league average of .255. The next highest RISP average in the National League is the Colorado Rockies at .262.
The St. Louis rally took the starch out of the Brewers roaring back to score three runs in the seventh inning to take the lead.
Jean Segura started the seventh with a bunt single that reliever Michael Wacha, just into the game for the Cardinals, foolishly tried to throw to first. His throw sailed over the head of first baseman Allan Craig and Segura wound up at second. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single to center to score Segura, cutting St. Louis’ lead to 4-3.
Kintzler, who hadn’t allowed a run in 17 consecutive appearances over 20.1 innings, allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina—who was 4-for-4—to lead off the top of the eighth, but defensive replacement Yuniesky Betancourt started a nifty 3-6-1 double play and it looked as if Kintzler was off the hook.
Rookie Kolten Wong reached on his second infield hit of the game, moved to second on a single by pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Matt Adams. Matt Carpenter lined a single to left that scored Descalso and Carlos Beltran loaded the bases with an infield single off Ramirez’s glove at third base.
That was the end of the line for Kintzler. But Burke Badenhop served up a two-run double to pinch-hitter David Freese that made it 8-5 in favor of the Cardinals.
Kintzler (3-1) allowed four runs and six hits while recording just two outs. Starter Marco Estrada worked the first six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He surrendered a solo homer to Beltran in the first and a two-run shot to Jon Jay in the sixth. Rob Wooten worked a scoreless seventh.
The Brewers tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Lucroy that scored Estrada, who had led off the inning with a walk from Cardinal starter Shelby Miller, who worked 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking four and striking out eight.
After St. Louis took a 2-1 lead on Molina’s hit-and-run double into the right-field corner in the top of the fourth, Norichika Aoki brought the Crew even again in the fifth, launching his seventh home run of the season off the facing of the second deck in right field.
Milwaukee threatened one last time in the bottom of the ninth. Jeff Bianchi laced a two-out, two-strike single as a pinch-hitter and Khris Davis followed it with a ground-rule double to left. But Scooter Gennett grounded to first to end the game.
Wacha (2-0) got the win despite blowing the lead by surrendering the three-run seventh to the Brewers. Edward Mujica recorded his 32nd save in 34 chances despite getting into a bit of trouble in the ninth.
Milwaukee’s Juan Francisco became just the third player to post four strikeouts in consecutive games. He took the golden sombrero (0-for-4 with four strikeouts) on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds and turned the trick again on Monday against the Cardinals. On the current homestand, Francisco is 1-for-19 with 13 strikeouts.
The series continues Tuesday night, with Kyle Lohse (8-8) making his fourth start this season against his former team. Lance Lynn (13-6) counters for the Cardinals. Game time at Miller Park is 7:10 p.m. and the game will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
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