Saturday’s Game Report: Brewers 5, Cardinals 2
By Rob Rains
For how brilliantly Jack Flaherty has pitched in the second half of the season, there is still one thing the Cardinals’ young ace has not been able to accomplish – beat the Brewers.
In 10 starts against other teams since the All-Star break, Flaherty has gone 6-0, allowing just four runs in 65 innings but his two starts against the Brewers, including Saturday night at Busch Stadium, have not been nearly as good.
Flaherty gave up a two-run homer to Mike Moustakas in the fourth inning and his only two walks of the game led to the tiebreaking run in the sixth as the Brewers defeated him for the second time since the All-Star break and third time in four decisions this year.
In his last two starts against the Brewers, Flaherty has allowed a combined six runs in 12 innings.
The loss cut the Cardinals’ lead over the Cubs in the NL Central to three games with 14 games left in the regular season. It’s the first day the Cubs have gained a full game on the Cardinals since Aug. 28 – when Flaherty lost to the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals scored both their runs in the second inning. Tommy Edman hit his eighth home run with one out, and Harrison Bader followed with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and came home on a throwing error by Yasmani Grandal … The Cardinals had only one other runner reach third base; Dexter Fowler after a one-out double and a ground out in the fifth before Paul Goldschmidt popped out to end the inning … That was the last hit for the Cardinals until Kolten Wong delivered his second single of the game with one out in the eighth but he stayed there as Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna flied out … Paul DeJong was hitless in four at-bats and how has just 11 hits in 64 at-bats over his last 18 games since Aug. 27, a .172 batting average.
On the mound: The home run by Moustakas snapped a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings by Flaherty, his second string of at least that many scoreless innings since the All-Star break. He also recorded his fourth game with 10 strikeouts this season, increasing his season total to 206 … The Brewers took the lead off Flaherty when Ryan Braun walked in the sixth, following another walk and a single, to load the bases and Eric Thames drove in the run with a fielder’s choice groundout … The Brewers increased the lead to 5-2 in the eighth on a two-run homer by Grandal off Tyler Webb, snapping a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings by Cardinals’ relievers.
Key stat: The 23-year-old Flaherty became the first Cardinals pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in a season at the age of 24 of younger since Steve Carlton did it when he was 24 in 1969.
Worth noting: The home run by Moustakas also snapped a string of 32 consecutive scoreless innings from Cardinals starters over the last six games at Busch Stadium … Bader’s stolen base in the second was the league-leading 105th of the year for the Cardinals, their most in a season since they finished with 111 steals in 2004 .. Cory Spangenberg of the Brewers was credited with a stolen base in the fifth inning on a strikeout and a pitch that got away from Yadier Molina, the first stolen base allowed by Flaherty this season … The Cardinals played their ninth consecutive game without an error, their longest errorless streak of the season.
Looking ahead: Michael Wacha will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains