Game Report: Brewers 5, Cardinals 4
If the first game is any indication of how the NL Central race is going to go this year, it’s going to be quite a battle.
The Brewers hit three home runs to spoil a two-homer day by Kolten Wong and edged the Cardinals 5-4 on Thursday in Milwaukee, thanks at least in part because of a home run-saving catch by Lorenzo Cain to end the game.
Jose Martinez, pinch-hitting for Wong against Josh Hader, saw his bid for a game-tying home run denied by Cain, who leaped above the wall in right center to make the catch for the game’s final out.
Starter Miles Mikolas allowed the three home runs, including a three-run bomb by reigning MVP Christian Yelich and a home run to the opposing starting pitcher, Jhouyls Chacin. The only other pitcher to homer against the Cardinals in their first game of the season was Paul Minner of the Cubs in 1954. Rick Rhoden homered in the Pirates first game in 1982, but it came in the fourth game of the season for the Cardinals.
The loss snapped a 10-game road winning streak for Mikolas, who was 10-0 in 16 starts in away games last season.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had just five hits, including the two homers by Wong and one from Harrison Bader. Their other hits were singles by Bader in the fifth and Marcell Ozuna in the sixth, when the Cardinals, trailing 5-3, had two runners on with one out before Yadier Molina flied to right and Dexter Fowler popped out, their only two at-bats in the game with a runner in scoring position … The top three hitters In the lineup, Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong, were a combined 0-of-11 and struck out seven times, three each by Goldschmidt and Wong … Hader struck out Goldschmidt, DeJong and Ozuna on 11 pitches in the eighth inning.
On the mound: Mikolas allowed five hits in his five innings of work, including the three homers, which produced all of the Brewers’ runs. It’s the first time the Cardinals’ opening day starter allowed three or more homers since Bob Forsch in 1983 … The Cardinals got scoreless innings of relief from Dominic Leone, John Brebbia and John Gant.
Key stat: The home runs by Wong and Bader in the second inning marked the first time in Cardinals history the team hit back-to-back homers on opening day, and they came on consecutive pitches.
Worth noting: Wong became only the second player in Cardinals’ history with two home runs on opening day. Albert Pujols did It twice, in 2006 and 2010 … Wong became the first second baseman to homer on opening day for the Cardinals since Red Schoendienst in 1952 … Goldschmidt was the the fifth different player to start at first base for the Cardinals on opening day in the last five years and the seventh in the eight seasons since Albert Pujols departed after the 2011 season … With his 15th consecutive start behind the plate, Molina joined Lou Brock for the second longest streak of consecutive opening day starts in team history, trailing only Stan Musial (18) … The Cardinals announced pthat itcher Brett Cecil has been moved to the 60-day injured list, opening a spot on the 40-man roster for right-handed pitcher Merandy Gonzalez, who was claimed on waivers from the Giants and optioned to Double A Springfield.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Friday night as the Cardinals and Brewers play the second of their four-game series. The two teams will play 10 times in the Cardinals’ first 24 games this season.
NEW THIS YEAR: Post-game interviews in one file.
We will be putting the post-game audio all in one file and putting it out on the Cardinals Podcast. It will always start with Mike Shildt and players will be added.
Audio: Mike Shildt, Miles Mikolas, Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong