ST. LOUIS — Paul Goldschmidt has been a thorn in the side of the Brewers’ pitching staff all season.
The slugging first baseman was at it again Friday night, hitting two home runs and driving in seven to power the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-0 victory and snapping Milwaukee’s winning streak at seven games.
Goldschmidt has hit eight of his 31 homers this season against the Brewers. The only player ever to hit more in a season vs. Milwaukee is Sammy Sosa (12 in 1998). Several others have also hit eight, including the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez this season.
The Brewers fell a game back of Chicago for the NL second wild card. The Cubs beat Pittsburgh 17-8 Friday afternoon. St. Louis holds a five-game lead over the third-place Brewers in the NL Central.
“It’s a loss. We didn’t play very well tonight,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s a loss. I don’t think we take away any more than that.”
Adam Wainwright (12-9) pitched six innings of two-hit ball, striking out out seven and walking three. In his past three games, he’s allowed one earned run in 20 innings.
Adrian Houser (6-6) lasted three innings. He gave up four hits, including Goldschmidt’s second grand slam of the season. He also struck out five and walked three.
Goldschmidt connected on his second homer of the night — a three-run blast — and his 31st of the year in a six-run sixth. He cranked a 3-1 pitch from Jimmy Nelson to center field to record a career-high seven RBIs. He now has 30 or more home runs in each of his past three seasons and five in his career.
Goldschmidt has feasted on Milwaukee pitching this year. He’s hitting .318 against the Brewers with 20 RBIs. He had a three-homer game against the Brewers on March 29 in a 9-5 win at Milwaukee.
Houser allowed just two baserunners in the first two innings, both via walks. But Wainwright doubled down the left-field line with one out in the third, Dexter Fowler walked and Kolten Wong barely beat out a bunt single to load the bases in front of Goldschmidt.
“The Wainwright double, that kind of sets that whole inning up. It (could have been) two outs, nobody on if we retire him,” Counsell said.
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Goldschmidt lined a 2-2 pitch just over the left-field fence and into the Milwaukee bullpen for his first homer in 18 games.
Wong had three hits in the game, including two bunts, and drove in two runs in the sixth to give St. Louis a 7-0 lead.
The Cardinals nearly had a second grand slam from pinch hitter Matt Carpenter earlier in the inning. Ben Gamel had to leap against the outfield wall to snag Carpenter’s sacrifice fly that drove in Yadier Molina.
The Brewers announced plans to extend the protective netting on the field level at Miller Park for the 2020 season.
The netting will be extended an additional 105 feet on the first-base side to the aisle where sections 108 and 109 meet. Along the third-base side, the netting will be extended an additional 145 feet to the aisle of sections 128 and 129 (extending past the area where the tarp is located).
The height of the extension will be the same as the net that is currently in place.
On Saturday, the Brewers will start right-hander Jordan Lyles (10-8, 4.38), who has won five of eight, with two no decisions, since joining the Brewers in late July. Milwaukee is 7-1 in games Lyles has started since his trade from PIttsburgh, including a 4-1 decision over the Cardinals on August 28 in Milwaukee in which he lasted 51/3 and struck out nine.
The Cardinals will send out right-hander Jack Flaherty (10-7, 2.99), who is coming off consecutive games in which he pitched eight scoreless innings and has earned the win in six of his past seven starts. His only loss during that stretch was the 4-1 decision on August 28 at Milwaukee where Flaherty gave up three runs over six innings.