Friday, May 17, 2013

Freese and the Cardinals hold off late Brewers rally, win opener 7-6

The St. Louis Cardinals got an impressive performance on the mound from starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, and David Freese broke out of his slump at the plate as they defeated their division-rival Milwaukee Brewers 7-to-6 on Friday night inside Busch Stadium in a regular season Major League Baseball game.

Garcia pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up six runs on six hits. He gave up six runs on just two seperate hits as the Brewers' third baseman and former Cardinal-killer from his days in Chicago, Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez hit two three-run home runs in the game, hitting one in the top of the fourth -- and the other one in the top of the sixth. Jaime earned his fifth victory of the season as he improved his record to 5-2 overall on the season, and 4-1 at home inside Busch Stadium.

Freese broke out of his slump in a big way tonight as he hit a grand slam in the bottom half of the first-inning for his first home run on the season. Although he went 1-for-4, he stated in a post-game interview on FOX Sports Midwest that he is starting to feel more and more comfortable at the plate, and that he hopes that was a start to him finally beginning to see the ball better. He now has a home run and eight RBIs on the season in 27 of the Cardinals' 41 total games this season.

Matt Holliday started the scoring off for the game as he drove in Matt Carpenter to make it 1-0 in the first -- just two batters before Freese connected for his first bomb of the season, and second grand slam of his career. Holliday also drove Carpenter in on another RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, which made his RBI total for the season move up to 29.

The Cardinals offense got to Milwaukee's starting pitcher Wily Peralta early and made the most of what he was giving them. Peralta pitched five innings and gave up seven runs (6 earned) on eleven hits and seen his record fall to 3-4 overall on the season. The Brewers bullpen did their part as they kept them in it though.

Three players combined three innings of work as they held the National League's best team record-wise scoreless. All three pitched one inning of work -- and Axford was the only one to allow a hit as he allowed two. Badenhop and Gonzalez both pitched perfect innings as nobody reached base in their inning of work, respectively.

The Cardinals bullpen combined for 3 2/3 innings as Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, and Edward Mujica all three did their jobs. Maness pitched 1 2/3 innings as he gave up one hit while Rosenthal gave up just one hit in his inning of work. Mujica stayed perfect on the season as he completed his 12th save of the season in as many opportunities -- and finished with one strike out.

The Cardinals improved their record to 27-14, which is the best in both the National League as well as the entire MLB thanks to the Rangers losing 2-to-1 tonight to the Detroit Tigers. Milwaukee fell to 10.5 games behind the Cardinals in the Central division following this season as their record fell to 16-24 overall -- and 1-7 in eight games this season against St. Louis. The two teams will meet for the second game of this series tomorrow night as the first pitch between the Brewers' Marco Estrada and the Cardinals' Lance Lynn is set for 6:15 pm Central Time.

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