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Hall homers in ninth, Brewers beat Cardinals 4-3

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R.B. FALLSTROM
July 23, 2008
— Bill Hall, stuck in a third base platoon much of the season because of troubles hitting right-handed pitching, is making his case to become a full-time player.

Hall homered to snap a late-inning tie for the second straight game, both off right-handers, and the Milwaukee Brewers also caught up with Kyle Lohse, beating the St. Louis Cardinals and their surprise ace 4-3 for their sixth straight victory Tuesday night.


"You go up there looking for a mistake," Hall said. "It was pretty much the same pitch as last night. I just wanted to get out there and put the barrel on it."


Manager Ned Yost wanted to restrict his comments to the game about Hall, who has complained more recently about his lack of full-time status.


"I'm not going to talk about the doghouse, I'll talk about his play tonight," Yost said before taking questions. "Big home run two nights in a row. He's been coming through. Everybody wants those kind of at-bats, that's the mark of a good club."


Ryan Ludwick hit the longest home run at 3-year-old Busch Stadium for the Cardinals, who have lost two straight after winning five in a row. But Lohse tired in the last two innings of an eight-inning outing, squandering a three-run lead and missing a chance to win his 10th straight decision.


"You just feel like you're in control and it was just a couple of pitches that were just maybe up a little bit," Lohse said. "That's a good team, they took advantage of it."


The Brewers bunched all but one of their seven hits off the right-hander in the seventh and eighth. They tied the game with two runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Rickie Weeks and a run-scoring single by J.J. Hardy in consecutive at-bats.


They won it by again getting to the Cardinals' beleaguered bullpen, which has absorbed four of the team's last five losses. St. Louis relievers have 22 losses, tied for most in the majors with the Giants pending San Francisco's late game against Washington.


"Do you think the bullpen lost this game?" an irritated manager Tony La Russa said. "Do you think the bullpen lost it yesterday? How many runs did we score? It ain't the bullpen, our team got beat."


Hall, whose 10th inning homer off Ryan Franklin ignited a three-run rally in a 6-3 victory on Monday, hit his 14th homer with one in the top of the ninth off Kyle McClellan (2-5). He's batting .179 but with eight homers against righties, losing playing time to left-handed hitting Russell Branyan, but has felt better since a recent adjustment to his swing.


"One day it just clicked in the batting cage in Arizona," Hall said. "Now my stance is fine and I'm in a good position to hit."


The Brewers have homered in 18 straight games, one off the franchise record set in 1996, totaling 28 in that span.


They have 21 one-run victories, tied with the Cardinals for the most in the majors, and their 57-43 record is the franchise's best since the 1982 World Series team that lost to the Cardinals went 58-42.


Brian Shouse (4-1) needed only eight pitches to retire the side in order in the eighth and Salomon Torres got three outs for his 18th save in 22 chances.


Troy Glaus was 0-for-3 with a walk for St. Louis, ending a 10-game hitting streak in which he batted .525 (21-for-40) with five homers. Ludwick's 22nd homer with one out in the first was a drive estimated at 450 feet to left-center, 4 feet longer than the previous best by Scott Rolen on July 2, 2006 against the Royals.


The top five home run marks at old Busch Stadium are all longer than 500 feet, topped by Mark McGwire's 545-foot mammoth clout off Florida's Livan Hernandez during his then-record 70-homer season in 1998.


No Brewer reached base until Prince Fielder singled up the middle to start the fifth and Lohse had a season-best seven strikeouts.


Jeff Suppan allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings after being activated from the 15-day disabled list with joint irritation in his elbow. He had been 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA against his old team since leaving for a free agent deal with the Brewers in 2007.


Suppan allowed two runs on four hits in the first before settling down.


"Tonight I was able to feel good about finishing my pitches," Suppan said. "The first inning I got my pitches up and they were able to drive them, and then I started getting my pitches down."



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