Brewers lose rare close game to Cards
They couldn't do it Tuesday night for one of the rare times this season thanks to consecutive errors from Prince Fielder and Jerry Hairston Jr.
Edwin Jackson pitched seven solid innings and singled home the go-ahead run to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Brewers 2-1. It was only Milwaukee's 16th loss in 44 one-run games this year. The Brewers came into the contest with the highest winning percentage in the major leagues in one-run games.
"We've squeaked out some games, winning by one run," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We had opportunities today, not a lot, but we had some to score a couple more runs and we didn't get it done. Anytime you face good pitching, you are not going to score a lot of runs."
Jackson was good against the Brewers, 27 days after Milwaukee roughed him up for 10 runs in seven innings in a 10-5 victory over the Cardinals.
"Edwin Jackson was outstanding," Roenicke said. "That was as good as I've seen him throw."
Jackson (4-2) scattered six hits and kept Milwaukee scoreless until Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan hit consecutive doubles to open the sixth, pulling the Brewers within 2-1. Morgan was stranded, though, as the right-hander retired Ryan Braun, Fielder and Casey McGehee in order.
Milwaukee starter Shaun Marcum (11-5) matched Jackson, but lost his second consecutive start despite not allowing an earned run. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing only two unearned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Cardinals scored a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. Skip Schumaker's hard grounder went through Fielder's legs at first base for an error to open the inning. Rafael Furcal then hit a grounder to second, but Jerry Hairston Jr. bobbled it for another error.
"That happens," Marcum said. "That's baseball. It has happened to every pitcher in this game. There is nothing you can do about it. I just kept going out there pitching and doing my job."
Yadier Molina singled to load the bases and Jackson singled to right, scoring Schumaker to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead. John Jay followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Furcal for a 2-0 Cardinals lead.
The Brewers threatened in the ninth when Fielder led off with a walk from reliever Marc Rzepczynski. Closer Fernando Salas was brought in, but walked Casey McGehee before getting Yuniesky Betancourt to bunt into a force play at third for the first out.
Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay then grounded into a double play to end the game, giving Salas his 23rd save in 28 chances.
"We've done it so often it seems like we are always coming back," Roenicke said. "This is more a typical game that other people usually see. We've been pulling them out and somebody doing something great in the eighth or ninth inning."
Despite losing, the Brewers still are 9½ games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central.
Notes: Cards 1B Pujols made a one-handed catch of a foul ball in the second, showed the ball to a fan and pulled it back as the man reached for the ball. The move drew considerable boos from the sellout Miller Park crowd. Cardinals RF Lance Berkman batted second in the lineup for the first time this year. He went 0-for-4. . Brewers RF Corey Hart extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single. . Brewers LHP Manny Parra, who has missed the entire season with an injured left elbow, underwent surgery Tuesday to have bone spurs removed from the elbow. . Milwaukee CF Carlos Gomez, on the DL with a fractured left clavicle, is expected to rejoin the Brewers Thursday, when teams can expand their rosters. . Brewers LHP Randy Wolf will face the Cards RHP Jake Westbrook Wednesday night in the second game of the series. Wolf is 5-0 with a no-decision in his last six starts. Westbrook has lost both starts against the Brewers this year, posting a 4.85 ERA in those games.
Last updated: 6:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012