Grichuk sparks comeback as Cardinals beat Brewers 5-1
ST. LOUIS (AP) Randal Grichuk showed off his impressive ability at a key moment for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Grichuk made two big plays and Adam Wainwright pitched eight strong innings to help the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 on Saturday.
Stephen Piscotty also drove in two runs as St. Louis won for the second straight night to move back into position for the second NL wild card, a half-game ahead of the New York Mets.
''The talent-wise we've seen,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Grichuk. ''Just being able to consistently put it together has been another challenge. He's making huge strides in that direction.''
Grichuk made a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Jake Elmore trying to score from second in the eighth. Then he doubled in the bottom half, helping clear the way for a five-run rally. Matt Adams drove in the tying run with a grounder to second and Grichuk scored on Kolten Wong's single, giving St. Louis a 2-1 lead.
''What a great throw from the outfield and timely,'' Matheny said. ''We needed that play to happen right there. All the way around he's doing everything we could ask.''
Wong said Grichuk's throw was the catalyst for the comeback.
''Defense has kind of been the thing this past couple weeks sparking our offense and sparking us to get these wins,'' Wong said. ''That play Randal made was awesome. We needed that.''
Wainwright (11-8) struck out seven and allowed six hits in his most impressive outing since he shut out San Diego on July 21. He was helped by double plays in the second and seventh and Grichuk's throw in the eighth.
''It kind of had that feel in the air, and after I got that last out, Jhonny Peralta came up to me and he said we're going to pick you up right here and then he went out and got a knock, and Grichuk got the double obviously,'' Wainwright said. ''They did a great job right there against a tough pitcher throwing very hard. I'll take it for sure.''
It was Wainwright's second straight win.
''It was nice to see him get rewarded for getting through a tough eighth,'' Matheny said. ''With his back against the wall is typically when he is at his best.''
Keon Broxton's 429-foot homer in the fifth gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. The Brewers have homered in eight straight games.
Brewers starter Chase Anderson allowed three hits and walked two in 5 2/3 innings. He was coming off five shutout innings against Pittsburgh last Sunday.
Carlos Torres followed Anderson with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but Corey Knebel (1-3) and Jhan Marinez faltered in the eighth. After Wong's single, Piscotty doubled home two more runs and Yadier Molina added an RBI single.
Knebel has struggled recently, mainly against St. Louis.
''It's been with the Cardinals hitters certainly, but it comes down to making pitches,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ''The ball to Grichuk got the heart of the plate.''
Brewers first baseman Hernan Perez was ejected by home plate umpire Carlos Torres after taking a called strike three to end the top of the eighth, stranding the bases loaded. Perez tossed his helmet and bat and voiced his displeasure with the call. After the ejection, he ran to the plate and made a kicking motion near the batter's box indicating where he thought the pitch was.
''I haven't seen it,'' Counsell said. ''Hernan doesn't argue very often. I'm guessing it was outside.''
Wong, playing second for the Cardinals, made a whirling throw to start a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning and he made a diving play to throw out Jonathan Villar to end the third.
''Wong was amazing tonight, both sides of the plate, getting on base,'' Wainwright said. ''His defense the last week or so has been amazing to me. He's just playing Gold Glove defense out there.''
Cardinals: RHP Trevor Rosenthal (right shoulder inflammation) threw live batting practice. ... RHP Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to throw live batting practice Monday. ... SS Aledmys Diaz (right thumb fracture) went 0 for 5 in Double-A Springfield's season-ending loss to NW Arkansas.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (10-7, 4.01 ERA) gets the ball on Sunday. He has made a team-high 14 quality starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (1-2, 3.96 ERA) pitches for St. Louis on Sunday. He has 22 strikeouts in his last three starts.
This version deleted incorrect reference to Chase Anderson's record.