ST. LOUIS — Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, third baseman Hernan Perez and shortstop Orlando Arcia all converged on Dexter Fowler’s broken-bat blooper. There were two outs, the bases were loaded and the game was tied in the sixth inning Tuesday night.
Braun peeled off toward the foul line at the last second. Perez peeled off in the other direction, with Arcia trailing behind. The ball dropped to the grass and Fowler’s well-placed double cleared the bases and sent St. Louis on its way to a 9-4 win over the Brewers.
“I don’t think it was (miscommunication),” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the hit that gave St. Louis a 5-2 lead. “Everybody was just going for it hard and I don’t think anybody really thought they could get it.”
The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11 games, while the Brewers have lost six of their last eight after the bullpen allowed eight runs. St. Louis remained in first place by a half-game over the Chicago Cubs, who beat San Francisco 5-3. Third-place Milwaukee is four games back after losing to the Cardinals for the second straight night.
“We’re not winning games at a good enough clip to think about the playoffs right now,” Counsell said.
Tyler Webb (1-1) earned his first major league victory with one-third of inning in his 79th career game. He struck out pinch hitter Ben Gamel.
St. Louis broke the game open with a four-run sixth against three Milwaukee relievers. Jeremy Jeffress (3-4) loaded the bases. Alex Claudio came in and struck out Kolten Wong. Junior Guerra entered and walked Harrison Bader, who was recalled earlier in the day. After Guerra struck out pinch hitter Matt Carpenter, Fowler hit a 3-2 pitch into short left field for the tiebreaker.
Wong hit a two-run single in the seventh, making it 7-2. The Cardinals added two more runs when Fowler and Tommy Edman drew bases-loaded walks.
Six Milwaukee pitchers combined for nine walks. It was the most walks the Cardinals, who stranded 10 runners, have received in a game this season.
“Obviously, nine is too many,” Counsell said.
Milwaukee went ahead 2-1 in the sixth. A two-out, run-scoring single by Eric Thames off reliever John Gant was charged to rookie Ryan Helsley, who pitched 1⅓ innings. Gant allowed back-to-back singles by Perez and Arcia for the second run before giving way to Webb.
Yadier Molina drove in the Cardinals’ first run, scoring Marcell Ozuna in the fourth.
Wacha struck out five, allowing three hits and a walk in throwing 73 pitches.
Milwaukee scored its final two runs in the eighth.
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Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez went five innings, striking out six while allowing three hits and one run.
“I thought Gio pitched beautifully,” Counsell said.
Look what I got
Bader displayed his signature defensive skills. The speedy Bader ran in from deep center, dove and caught a sinking fly hit by Keston Hiura just above the ground before landing hard in the sixth inning.
Bader held up his glove the whole time to show he had the ball.
To make room for Bader, up from Class AAA Memphis, the Cardinals optioned rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena, 25, to the Redbirds.
Bader, who appeared in 90 games with the Cardinals to begin the season, was batting .317 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in 16 games with Memphis. He was batting .195 with six home runs and 19 RBI at the time of his option.
Arozarena had two hits in eight at-bats in his week with the Cardinals. He is batting a combined .349 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs in 80 games with Memphis and Class AA Springfield.
From the infirmary
Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain was back in the lineup. He did pinch hit Monday and struck out. He sat out Milwaukee’s Saturday and Sunday games in Washington after tweaking his oblique in Friday’s game against the Nationals.
Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill (left wrist strain) likely will head out Wednesday to Memphis for a rehab assignment. He took batting practice Tuesday.
Brewers’ Adrian Houser (5-5, 3.76 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in three career games against St. Louis, will start on Wednesday night. His April 22 start in St. Louis resulted in a 13-5 loss in which Houser went four innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, including two home runs.
The Cardinals will send out Adam Wainwright (9-8, 4.33), who has has nine career home victories over the Brewers — his most against any opponent. And his 16 wins overall against Milwaukee are tied for tied for first (with Cubs) for his most wins against any opponent.