Brewers’ magic number for postseason trimmed to one
ST. LOUIS -- Christian Yelich homered and drove in six runs, and the surging Milwaukee Brewers hurt St. Louis’ playoff chances with a 12-4 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
A victory tonight ensures the Brewers (91-67) will be postseason players for the first time since 2011. The Brewers took care of business Tuesday, riding four home runs to put them one victory away from the top NL wild card.
Milwaukee, though, is still in play for the Central Division title. The Chicago Cubs fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 on Tuesday, trimming their lead over the Brewers to a half-game.
Yelich is batting .346 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 22 games this month, bolstering his case for NL MVP. He has 33 homers, 104 RBIs, 110 runs and 181 hits on the year, all career highs.
In the ninth inning the Cardinals intentionally walked Lorenzo Cain to get to Yelich, who responded with a three-run homer.
“As a competitor you take that as a challenge,” Yelich said. “You always want to answer the challenge.”
Ryan Braun went deep twice and Jesus Aguilar also connected as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games and secured its 10th series win in its past 11 sets. Manny Pina had two hits and drove in a run, and pitcher Gio Gonzalez contributed an RBI single for just his fourth hit of the season.
Following today’s series finale, Milwaukee closes the regular season with a weekend set at home against lowly Detroit. St. Louis also is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the slumping Cubs at Wrigley Field. St. Louis fell to third in the wild card chase, a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies, who trail Milwaukee by 3½ games in the wild card standings.
Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer off Gonzalez for the Cardinals, who had won six of seven before their 6-4 loss to Milwaukee on Monday night. Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-3 with a walk.
St. Louis left the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings when Jedd Gyorko came up empty each time. Third baseman Mike Moustakas turned an inning-ending double play on Gyorko’s chopper near the bag in the fifth, and Gyorko flied to right for the final out of the seventh.
Milwaukee scored each of its first six runs with two outs. Aguilar and Braun hit back-to-back homers in the first off rookie Austin Gomber (6-2), and Gonzalez chased the left-hander with his hit in the fourth.
The Brewers went on to load the bases against Tyson Ross, and Yelich’s liner to right-center rolled all the way to the wall for a three-run triple and a 6-0 lead.
Gonzalez lasted four innings. Taylor Williams (1-3), the third of seven Milwaukee pitchers, got three outs for the win. The Brewers used nine pitchers in their series-opening victory.
Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter and manager Mike Shildt were ejected in the seventh inning. Carpenter became upset with home plate umpire Will Little after he was called out on strikes.
From the infirmary
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said All-Star reliever Jeremy Jeffress (neck spasms) was feeling a lot better after he was unavailable for the series opener.
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (14-8, 3.61 ERA) and Cardinals right-hander John Gant (7-6, 3.53 ERA) pitch tonight.
Chacin is 0-3 with a 4.34 ERA in four September starts. Gant lasted just 2⅔ innings in his previous outing, yielding one run and four hits Friday against the Giants.