They weren't pretty games. But the St. Louis Cardinals managed to win two of three contests over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers to draw within one game of first place and leap frog the Pittsburgh Pirates back into second.
The Birds were drubbed Friday night in the first game. Then they nearly wasted an uncharacteristic offensive outburst Saturday when they allowed Milwaukee to have an offensive outburst of their own. On Sunday the Redbirds could only score in one inning and trailed most of the game. But the three runs they tallied in the bottom of the seventh were all they needed to take the game 3-2 and the series two games to one.
In shades of 2011, the Brewers left St. Louis acting as if they're the obviously better team and as if it's only a matter of time until they wear the division crown. Starting pitcher Matt Garza, who threw a one-hitter through six innings but then was forced to leave because of an injury, suggested the Birds were lucky he couldn't continue.
Based on Garza's injury history, I would suggest he's lucky to have made it as far as he has this season.
Either way, lucky or talented, the Cardinals took care of business. And that's something they have been able to do this season against good teams. It's the crummy clubs that have gotten to them. So I am more than a little wary about the arrival of the Boston Red Sox who, in addition to being in last place, will carry the emotional baggage of Allen Craig and Joe Kelly back to St. Louis.
Somehow it seems like the Brewers have one cupcake after another on the schedule this season. But it's finally starting to even out. On Tuesday, while the Cardinals host Boston, the Brewers will have to take on the 60-51 San Francisco Giants.
After the Red Sox, the Cardinals will go to Baltimore to play the first place Orioles. The Brewers will host the Los Angeles Dodgers.