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Brewers: 3 first-inning runs, Jimmy Nelson's pitching spur win over Cardinals in series opener
BREWERS

Brewers: 3 first-inning runs, Jimmy Nelson's pitching spur win over Cardinals in series opener

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MILWAUKEE — Jimmy Nelson is in the midst of the best year of his career, though the emerging ace of the Milwaukee Brewers had yet to solve the St. Louis Cardinals.

That changed Tuesday night as Nelson finally beat St. Louis with six strong innings in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory at Miller Park.

Nelson (9-5) entered 0-8 with a 7.01 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) against the Cardinals. This time, the right-hander overcame his division rival by allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts.

“It is definitely nice to finally get one,” Nelson said.

The Brewers’ bullpen kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard for three innings, including newly acquired Anthony Swarzak striking out the side in the eighth after Josh Hader issued a leadoff walk.

Left fielder Ryan Braun and shortstop Orlando Arcia collided and allowed Stephen Piscotty to reach on a single with one out in the ninth, but Corey Knebel worked around the miscue to earn his 19th save in 24 opportunities.

The Brewers scored their three runs in the first inning off Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez and had just two infield singles the rest of the game.

Eric Sogard scored on a groundout by Braun, and Domingo Santana snapped Milwaukee’s 0-for-33 skid with runners in scoring position with a two-out RBI single up the middle. Manny Pina followed with a double to center to plate Santana and make it 3-0.

“You’re facing Carlos Martinez, so you know runs are going to be tough to begin with,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We got him before he settled in, really.”

A two-out RBI single by Yadier Molina and another by Tommy Pham in the fifth pulled St. Louis within 3-2.

Nelson worked out of the inning by getting Paul DeJong to fly out with two on and then pitched a scoreless sixth.

Martinez settled in to get through five innings. He escaped further damage in the fifth by inducing a grounder to third base by Santana with the bases loaded.

First-inning struggles are nothing new to Martinez, who has a 6.55 ERA (16 runs in 22 starts) in opening frames.

The Cardinals thought they had a run on the board and a big inning brewing in the third when Randal Grichuk roped a double into the left-center field gap with Kolten Wong on first base.

Wong was sent home, but the Brewers executed a perfect relay from Braun to shortstop Arcia to Pina.

“In my mind, I didn’t think we (had a play),” Pina said. “When Wong touched third base and Arcia got the ball, I said, ‘OK, maybe we have a chance here.’ ”

Broxton called up

Milwaukee made a move before the game to recall outfielder Keon Broxton from Class AAA Colorado Springs. Broxton took the roster spot of outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment Monday.

After the game, the Brewers optioned right-hander Paolo Espino to Colorado Springs to clear room for right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. Acquired in a trade with Texas on Monday, Jeffress did not arrive to Miller Park until after first pitch Tuesday.

From the infirmary



Brewers right-hander Matt Garza (right lower leg strain) is expected to come off the disabled list to start Thursday’s series finale against St. Louis. ... Right-hander Chase Anderson (strained left oblique) threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday. He will face hitters in a live simulated game Friday. ... Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (mid-back tightness) threw off flat ground Tuesday and is slated to throw a bullpen session today. Right-hander Luke Weaver will start in his place today against the Brewers, with Wainwright potentially being inserted into the rotation before his next scheduled turn. ... St. Louis activated Piscotty from the disabled list before the game and optioned outfielder Harrison Bader to Class AAA Memphis.

Up next



Weaver (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season. He allowed four runs in five innings in a 4-0 loss to Arizona on July 27. Brewers left-hander Brent Suter (2-1, 2.40 ERA) will move up in the rotation to start on regular rest. Since joining the Brewers rotation July 3, Suter is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts.

St. Louis AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Carpenter 1b 2 0 0 0 2 1 .252

Pham cf 4 1 2 1 0 2 .311

DeJong ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 .281

Gyorko 3b 4 0 0 0 0 3 .277

Molina c 4 0 1 1 0 1 .271

Piscotty rf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .236

Wong 2b 4 1 2 0 0 1 .289

Grichuk lf 4 0 1 0 0 1 .234

Martinez p 2 0 0 0 0 1 .171

Brebbia p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Garcia ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .230

Lyons p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 33 2 7 2 2 12

Milwaukee AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Sogard 2b 2 1 0 0 1 1 .294

Villar ph-2b 1 0 0 0 0 0 .216

Thames 1b 1 1 1 0 3 0 .253

Braun lf 4 0 1 1 0 1 .264

Shaw 3b 3 0 0 0 1 2 .292

Santana rf 4 1 1 1 0 2 .285

Pina c 3 0 2 1 1 0 .304

Broxton cf 3 0 0 0 1 2 .216

Arcia ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 .273

Nelson p 2 0 0 0 0 2 .087

Brinson ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .109

Hader p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Totals 28 3 5 3 7 11

St. Louis 000 110 000 — 2 7 0

Milwaukee 300 000 00x — 3 5 0

LOB — St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 8. 2B — Grichuk (18), Thames (19), Pina (16). RBIs — Pham (45), Molina (45), Braun (35), Santana (58), Pina (32). CS — Thames (2). Runners moved up — DeJong, Grichuk, Martinez, Braun. DP — St. Louis 1.

St. Louis IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Martinez, L, 7-9 5 4 3 3 5 7 3.59

Brebbia 1 0 0 0 0 1 1.37

Lyons 11/3 0 0 0 1 2 3.27

Bowman 2/3 1 0 0 1 1 3.68

Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Nelson, W, 9-5 6 6 2 2 1 7 3.37

Barnes, H, 19 1 0 0 0 0 1 4.40

Hader 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.90

Swarzak, H, 12 1 0 0 0 0 3 2.28

Knebel, S, 19-24 1 1 0 0 0 1 1.64

Hader pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

Inherited runners-scored — Swarzak 1-0. PB — Molina (6). T — 3:01. Att. — 30,150.

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