Sunday’s Game Report: Brewers 6, Cardinals 5

Sunday’s Game Report: Brewers 6, Cardinals 5

By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com

It was a week ago that Alex Reyes gave up a walkoff homer in Pittsburgh, resulting in him at least temporarily being taken out of his position as the Cardinals’ closer.

But with Giovanny Gallegos struggling, the bases loaded and the game on the line Sunday in Milwaukee, the Cardinals had little choice but to call on Reyes to try to save the game.

Trailing 5-1 when the bottom of the ninth began, the Brewers had scored once before they loaded the bases with one out against Gallegos – who had averted a Brewers rally in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a bases-loaded, leaping catch by Paul Goldschmidt.

Reyes, who had pitched a couple of times during the week in non-save situations, had his chance for redemption – but it didn’t happen.

Pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach hit the second pitch from Reyes over the wall in right for a walkoff grand slam that capped the five-run rally and gave the Brewers the victory.

On the 10-game trip to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, the Cardinals suffered three losses because of a late-inning bullpen collapse, all candidates as the worst loss of the season.

With the Reds losing to Detroit, a win would once again have moved the Cardinals to just  1 ½ games out of the second wild-card playoff spot but instead, they remained 2 ½ games behind Cincinnati.

It was the first pinch-hit, walkoff grand slam allowed by the Cardinals since Curt Wilkerson hit one off Lee Smith on Sept. 19, 1991 at Pittsburgh.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: A two-run double by Harrison Bader following a sacrifice fly from Edmundo Sosa staked the Cardinals to a 3-1 lead in the fourth … Tyler O’Neill increased the lead to 5-1 with a long home run in the seventh, his 23rd of the season … O’Neill also had a pair of singles as he collected three of the Cardinals’ 12 hits … Dylan Carlson and Bader each added two hits, but the Cardinals had trouble adding additional runs despite also drawing seven walks. They were a combined 3-of-15 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on base.

On the mound: Starter Jon Lester gave up just one run, on a homer by Pablo Reyes, in 5 1/3 innings … T.J. McFarland got a double play to get out of the inning and Luis Garcia worked a scoreless seventh before the bullpen problems began. Genesis Cabrera could only retire one of the four hitters he faced, forcing Gallegos into the game with the bases loaded. He got a strike out on what should have been ball four, and then Goldschmidt’s grab of a line drive by Christian Yelich prevented the Brewers from scoring at least two and possibly three runs … In the ninth, Gallegos allowed a double and single before getting a strikeout, then gave up another double and a walk to again load the bases, on his 30th pitch, and force the Cardinals to bring in Reyes.

Key stat: Reyes is the first Cardinals pitcher to face one batter and give up a walkoff grand slam since George Frazier in the 10th inning on Sept. 16, 1979 at Montreal. Dave Cash was the hitter.

Worth noting: Vogebach’s homer was the first walkoff homer by the Brewers against the Cardinals since they did it twice in 2018, but both of those came with the game tied. It was the first time in history they had a walkoff homer when they were losing to the Cardinals … The last pinch-hit grand slam against the Cardinals was hit by Matt Davidson of the Reds last year, in the sixth inning, off Tyler Webb … The Cardinals finished the road trip with a 5-5 record.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will have to face Max Scherzer in the opener of the four-game series against the Dodgers that begins at 3:15 p.m. Monday at Busch Stadium. Miles Mikolas will start for the Cardinals. The Dodgers expect Albert Pujols to start at first base in the games on Tuesday and Thursday, when left-handers are scheduled to start for the Cardinals.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.