The Cardinals broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning with a six-run frame. And they needed every bit of that cushion as the bullpen coughed up four runs in Milwaukee's last six outs and barely wiggled off the hook with an 8-6 win.
Jon Jay got on with one out when he was hit by a pitch and Albert Pujols reached on an error. Matt Holliday singled to drive in a run to make it 3-2 Cardinals then hustled to second to put runners at second and third with one out. Colby Rasmus was intentionally walked to load the bases, then Yadier Molina hit a grand slam to put the Cardinals ahead 8-2.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hits a grand slam in the top of the eighth Monday against Milwaukee. It was his sixth homer -- and second grand slam -- of the year. AP Photo.
Unfortunately, the bullpen stunk to high Heaven, including the work of Ryan Franklin who came into the game with a four run lead only to give up a leadoff double and a towering homer with two strikes on the batter and two outs. He then walked Ryan Braun to bring Prince Fielder to the plate representing the tying run and threw him ball one and ball two before somehow getting him to ground a full count splitter to Pujols to end the game.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Yadier Molina was the only Cardinals hitter to manage at least two hits. He drove in four runs with one swing of the bat and scored another on the same swing.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Matt Holliday's eighth inning RBI base hit. Not only did Holliday come through in the clutch. He did it under very tough circumstances. Milwaukee's hurler threw him four straight balls to start the at bat. Unfortunately, the home plate umpire called the second two strikes even though they were 4-6 inches inside. Holliday kept his composure and hit a ball to right field to drive the run home from second to give the Cardinals the lead... and he motored to second to set up the big inning. Malcontented outfielder Colby Rasmus, usually good for a strikeout with runners in scoring position, was intentionally walked to load the bases, which set up Yadier Molina for a grand slam to make the score suddenly 8-2.
Lowlight: A six-run lead in the eighth wasn't enough to feel comfortable. The Brewers scored a pair in the bottom of the eighth and may have score more if they hadn't inexplicably got a runner thrown out at the plate with two on and two out down by four. The leadoff man in the ninth doubled, then, down to their last strike, the Brewers got a two-run homer from Corey Hart.