Brewers boost playoff chances with 3-0 win over Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brandon Woodruff allowed two hits in eight innings and the Milwaukee Brewers boosted their playoff prospects in a big way by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 on Saturday night.

Ryan Braun and Daniel Vogelbach hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth, the third time the Brewers have hit consecutive homers this season.

Milwaukee can reach the postseason with a win Sunday in St. Louis, or losses by the Giants and Phillies.

“We have to win, and I think in the back of everybody’s mind we knew that, but I think the most important thing with these type games is you just go about your day the same as you’ve done for 12 other starts,” Woodruff said. “It’s tough to do, but it’s something that if you can keep that same routine and keep that going, it makes everything seem normal.”

Woodruff (3-5) retired 19 straight after pitching around leadoff hits in the first and second.

Milwaukee (29-30) is fourth in the NL Central, a game behind division rivals St. Louis (29-28) and Cincinnati (30-29). But the Brewers control their own playoff destiny thanks to San Francisco’s loss to San Diego later Saturday.

The Cardinals need a victory or a San Francisco loss Sunday to clinch a spot in the expanded eight-team field and avoid playing a makeup doubleheader Monday in Detroit that would decide their fate.

“I love throwing in these type games,” Woodruff said. “That’s just what I like doing. … I just feel like I can slow the game down. We made some good defensive plays early on. They had some traffic early, but I was able to get through those innings and was able to start making pitches.”

Woodruff struck out 10 and walked one as he beat the Cardinals for the second time this season. He threw a season-high 108 pitches, 73 for strikes.

“The story of the game was Woody,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It was just as good a start I think that we’ve seen since the (CC) Sabathia start at the end of ’08, in a big game, in a regular-season game, to deliver right there and not only deliver but help us for tomorrow, it can’t be understated, what he did.”

Josh Hader pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 15 tries.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (5-3) retired the first seven batters he faced before wriggling out of a two-on, one-out jam in the third.

Wainwright wasn’t so fortunate in the fourth as Braun drove his second pitch of the inning into the Cardinals’ bullpen. Three pitches later, Vogelbach smashed an 89 mph delivery 420 feet into the left-center bleachers to make it 2-0.

“Their guy just did a great job,” Wainwright said. “I mean, he was filthy tonight. I thought I saw him at 98 miles an hour a couple times with a great breaking ball and a couple of really good changeups he throws, so I needed to put zeros up there to match him them and they got a couple of runs across on me.”

Wainwright entered the game with 18 career wins against the Brewers, the most of any active pitcher.

“He’s been incredibly successful against us as a team,” Braun said. “It felt like a huge hurdle for us to have to overcome today in facing him.”

Omar Narváez singled home Orlando Arcia to extend Milwaukee’s lead in the seventh. Arcia had four hits, including a pair of doubles.

If the Brewers win Sunday or get some help, they will make the postseason for the third straight season, which would be a first for the franchise.

“I think we’ve given our fan base hope again,” Braun said. “Early in the year, I don’t think there was a lot of optimism out there, but we’ve played well enough to put ourselves in position to at least have a chance.”

Brewers settle for split of doubleheader with St. Louis, playoff hopes fading

Milwaukee had to settle for a split of its doubleheader with St. Louis on Friday.

The Brewers took the first game by jumping out to an early lead and getting a standout pitching effort on the way to a 3-0 win.

Eric Sogard and Orlando Arcia drove in runs in the second and then Christian Yelich drilled his 12th home run of the year in the third.

That was plenty for the trio of Brent Suter, Devin Williams and Josh Hader. Suter gave up two hits over four innings, Williams allowed two hits in a pair of innings and then Hader came in for the seventh inning and allowed just a hit as he picked up his 12th save of the year.

Things got out of control fast in the second game, a 9-1 victory for the Cardinals. St. Louis scored three runs in the first two innings and added six more in the fifth off of Drew Rasmussen and Eric Lauer.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ponce de Leon was pitching a gem, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning when Arcia took him deep for a solo home run.

With the split, Milwaukee stayed 1.5 games back for the second NL Wild Card spot and sit two games back of St. Louis and Cincinnati for the second playoff spot in the NL Central with two games to play.

Brewers fall flat in 4-2 loss to St. Louis

Milwaukee’s final push for a playoff spot did not get off to a good start Thursday night in a 4-2 loss at St. Louis.

Cy Young Award candidate Corbin Burnes gave up three runs before leaving in the fourth inning with lower back discomfort. His last pitch became a 2-run homer by Dylan Carlson. It was just the second long ball he’d allowed all year, with the other coming all the way back on Aug. 3.

That offense was all that was needed thanks to a standout effort from Cardinals starter Kwang-hyun Kim. He allowed just an RBI single by Tyrone Taylor over five innings of work to pick up the win.

The Brewers did have opportunities, but struggled to capitalize. They got the tying run on in the ninth inning but Christian Yelich struck out. Milwaukee finished just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

With the loss, Milwaukee dropped two games back of St. Louis in the race for the second playoff spot in the NL Central. With San Francisco losing and Philadelphia idle, the Brewers stayed a 1/2 game back of the second NL Wild Card spot.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will play a doubleheader on Friday.

Brewers beat Cincinnati, move into NL Wild Card spot

Milwaukee got some timely hitting and some shutdown pitching to get a 3-2 comeback win over Cincinnati Tuesday night.

The Brewers were down 2-0 after just two batters as starter Brett Anderson gave up a 2-run homer to Nick Castellanos. But Anderson would settle in after that, allowing just three more hits over six innings while striking out seven.

Milwaukee’s offense finally arrived beginning in the fifth inning. Tyrone Taylor drilled a solo home run off of Reds’ starter Sonny Gray, the only run he gave up. Then, in the seventh, Daniel Vogelbach led off with a single and Jedd Gyorko followed with a double. With no outs, Orlando Arcia drove in Vogelbach with a sacrifice fly before Eric Sogard came up with his second double of the night, bringing in Gyorko to give the Crew the 3-2 lead.

That’s when the shutdown pitching from the bullpen came into effect. Devin Williams got the seventh and eighth innings and dominated. An NL Rookie of the Year contender, Williams struck out five batters before handing the ball to Josh Hader. The reigning two-time NL Reliever of the Year struck out two of the batters he faced and picked up his 11th save of the year.

The win brought the Brewers and Reds back even in the standings, both sitting at .500 on the year, though Cincinnati has played two more games than Milwaukee. If the playoffs started today, the Reds and Brewers would be the NL Wild Card entries. Philadelphia and San Francisco are just a 1/2 game back.

If St. Louis ends up beating Kansas City Tuesday night — the Cardinals led 4-0 through five innings — the Cardinals would be a game up on Milwaukee and Cincinnati for the second playoff spot in the NL Central.

The Brewers and Reds will close out their three-game series Wednesday night.

Brewers lose 6-3 in Cincinnati, fall back in playoff race

A disastrous eighth inning did in the the Milwaukee Brewers in 6-3 loss Monday night in Cincinnati.

Already trailing 2-1, reliever Drew Rasmussen proceeded to give up a solo home run to catcher Curt Casali and then a three-run bomb to former Brewers infielder Mike Moustakas. The homers were the first Rasmussen had given up in his 10 outings this season.

All those runs were plenty for the Reds thanks to a great outing from Luis Castillo. He lowered his season era to 2.86 after giving up just a solo home run to Jedd Gyorko, while allowing four hits and striking out nine in 6 2/3 innings. He picked up the win.

Milwaukee got a solid night from their starter Brandon Woodruff. His lone mistake came on his final pitch of the night, as he served up a two-run homer to Eugenio Suarez in the sixth inning. The Brewers went from leading 1-0 to trailing in an instant. It was one of just four hits Woodruff allowed on the night while striking out nine.

Right fielder Jace Peterson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning when the game was already out of reach.

The loss dropped Milwaukee a game back of Cincinnati for the second wildcard spot in the National League and 1 1/2 games back of St. Louis in the race for the second playoff spot in the NL Central.

The Brewers and Reds will meet again Tuesday night.

Jacob Nottingham grand slam propels the Brewers past Kansas City

The Milwaukee Brewers kept pace in the push for the second playoff spot in the NL Central Friday night with a 9-5 win over Kansas City.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club fell behind 3-0 after the first inning and trailed 4-0 after three innings as the Royals got to starter Adrian Houser. He made it just four innings and saw his ERA rise to 5.33.

However, the offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth inning. Christian Yelich got things going with a solo home run, No. 150 in his career. The Royals walked in a run and then catcher Jacob Nottingham drilled the first grand slam of his career to give the Crew a 6-4 lead. Orlando Arcia followed that up with a 3-run shot in the fifth inning to blow the game open.

The Brewers had 14 hits with five different players having at least two, including Ryan Braun. He did that despite leaving the game early with back pain.

Milwaukee’s bullpen pitched well with six different guys seeing the mound. The lone blip on the radar was Josh Hader giving up a solo home run in the ninth inning.

With the win, the Brewers remained a game back of St. Louis and Cincinnati in the race for the second playoff spot in the division. Milwaukee has 10 games left in the season, while the Reds have eight games and the Cardinals have 12.

The Brewers and Royals will meet again Saturday night at Miller Park.

Brewers and Cardinals split doubleheader as playoff race tightens

Milwaukee had to settle for another split of a doubleheader with St. Louis on Wednesday, losing the first game and taking the second.

The Brewers got out to a 2-0 advantage in Game 1 with a two-run homer from Keston Hiura in the first inning off of Adam Wainwright. But it’s all they would muster off the 39-year-old, as he went seven innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine to pick up the win.

Milwaukee’s ace, Brandon Woodruff, couldn’t match Wainwright, but didn’t pitch poorly. He went the full seven innings as well, allowing four runs — three earned — while striking out five. He gave up a pair of solo homers and took the loss.

In Game 2, the Brewers once again jumped on the Cardinals early, scoring four runs in the first inning off of starter Johan Oviedo. Ryan Braun got things going with a three-run homer and then Jedd Gyorko added a sacrifice fly to score another.

It was all the Milwaukee pitching staff would need. Brent Suter, Freddy Peralta, Devin Williams and Eric Yardley combined for the two-hit shutout of the Cardinals.

The split allowed the Brewers to take three of the five games in the series. It left them, the Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds within a game of each other in the NL Central for the second playoff spot.

Milwaukee will get Thursday off before opening a series against Kansas City at Miller Park on Friday.

Brewers rout St. Louis, move to within a game of playoff spot

The offensively inept Milwaukee Brewers came alive in a dominating 18-3 win over St. Louis Tuesday night.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning but back-to-back home runs from Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun gave the Brewers a 2-1 advantage and they didn’t look back. They scored two more runs in the third and then a combined 13 in the fourth and fifth innings.

Nine of those runs came off of Cardinals’ starter Jake Flaherty, who had given up a total of seven in his last five outing combined.

Yelich finished with a season-high three hits and also scored three times. Every starter but one had at least one RBI, including four from Daniel Vogelbach and Keston Hiura.

The offense was backed up by a good night from Brett Anderson and the pitching staff. Anderson went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits to pick up the win.

Milwaukee’s 18 runs were the most it had ever scored against the Cardinals and it left the club a 1/2 game back of Cincinnati for third in the NL Central and one game back of St. Louis for second.

The Brewers and Cardinals will finish off their series with another doubleheader on Wednesday.

Brewers, Cardinals settle for a split in doubleheader

The Milwaukee Brewers had to settle for a split of Monday’s doubleheader with St. Louis at Miller Park.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club won Game 1 thanks to some key hits in extra innings. After St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning, Ryan Braun snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak with a RBI double. Keston Hiura then stepped to the plate and drove in the game-winning run with a sac fly.

The Brewers got to extra innings due to a standout effort from the pitching staff. Starter Josh Lindblom pitched a solid five innings before relievers Devin Williams and Josh Hader came on to keep things scoreless in what turned into a 2-1 Milwaukee victory. However, the outings from Hader and Williams cost Milwaukee in Game 2.

Milwaukee’s struggling offense managed just two runs that came on a 2-run homer from Jedd Gyorko. It would have been enough to get the win after Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in just 4 2/3 innings before exiting with that 2-0 lead. But with Williams and Hader unavailable, the bullpen failed to close the door, with Eric Yardley blowing the save opportunity by giving up a game-tying run in the seventh inning to send things to extras.

St. Louis took their first lead in the ninth with a single and the Brewers were unable to answer in their half as the Cardinals handed them a 3-2 loss.

Milwaukee managed just four hits in the game and two of those came courtesy of Dan Vogelbach. He ended up going 2-for-3 with a run scored, and he now has nearly double the hits (9) in his nine games with the Brewers than he did in 14 games with Toronto and Seattle.

It was another brutal day for Christian Yelich at the plate. Between the two games, the 2018 NL MVP struck out six times and reached base just once. He’s now batting .195 on the year and has just one home run in the month of September.

The split left Milwaukee two games back of St. Louis and a 1/2 game back of Cincinnati for the second playoff spot in the NL Central with 14 games to play.

The Brewers and Cardinals will meet again Tuesday night at Miller Park.

Brewers no-hit by Chicago Alec Mills in 12-0 loss

MILWAUKEE (AP) — From college walk-on to major league starter, Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills had to earn most every break he got.

On the brink of big league history, he was happy to welcome this bit of luck: expecting to see two-time batting champion Christian Yelich in the on-deck circle, Mills looked over and saw his backup instead.

“That kind of surprised me,” he said.

This one surprised just about everyone.

Mills cruised through baseball’s second no-hitter this season in just the 15th start of his career, completing the gem in a 12-0 romp over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Mills got Jace Peterson — who replaced Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, on defense late in the blowout — to hit a routine grounder to shortstop Javier Baez with two outs in the ninth. Baez completed the play, and the Cubs swarmed around Mills, tearing off his cap and pulling at the smiling right-hander’s uniform after his first career complete game.

“It just hasn’t really hit me yet,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s kind of crazy, I didn’t even know how to celebrate. Just something that all came together today. Obviously a memory I’ll have forever.”

Mills (5-3) threw 114 pitches and hardly had any close calls in Chicago’s 16th no-hitter.

Mills struck out five and walked three. His five strikeouts are the fewest in a Cubs no-hitter since Ken Holtzman in 1969. He only induced five swings and misses, tied with Oakland’s Dallas Braden during his perfect game in 2010 for fewest in a no-hitter since at least 1988, per Stats Inc.

“I can promise you it was not a slow heartbeat,” Mills said. “I had to kind of take a seat and calm myself down. It was tough. I had to take a lot of deep breaths and get into a good mindset.”

Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito threw baseball’s other no-hitter this season against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 15.

Milwaukee had not been held hitless since Detroit’s Justin Verlander pitched the first of his three no-hitters on June 12, 2007. It’s the fourth time the Brewers have been no-hit.

Held without a hit through three innings, the Cubs broke through against Milwaukee in the fourth against starter Adrian Houser (1-5) due in large part to shoddy fielding by the Brewers. Kyle Schwarber drew a one-out walk, Baez reached on an error and Jason Heyward followed with a bloop double to left to drive in a run.

With the infield in, Jason Kipnis hit a ball directly to Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, who had it slip out of his hand as he tried to rush a throw to the plate, allowing a run to score.

Victor Caratini followed with a run-scoring bloop single and Ian Happ connected for a two-run single as the Cubs scored five runs in the inning, all unearned.

“Nothing went right today. We didn’t play a good game,” Counsell said. “We played a poor game and we lost. We have to turn the page and know that there’s still a lot of important baseball left in front of us.”