In something that seemed more like a 40-round heavyweight boxing match than a professional baseball game the Cardinals were able to survive four hours of punishing body blows to win with a well-placed jab.
Right Fielder Lance Berkman, batting lefthanded, golfed a low breaking ball off the end of the bat just beyond the reach of Milwaukee's shortstop and in front of the club's left fielder to give the Birds an 8-7 win in the 11th inning.
The Brewers seemed to have the Cardinals on the ropes in the first inning as starting pitcher Jaime Garcia struggled to get in a groove. Milwaukee was up 2-0 in a blink. The Cardinals got back into the game in the top of the second with a Matt Holliday solo homer. But the Brewers counterpunched with a run of their own in the bottom of the second inning.
It seemed like things were finally going the Redbirds way in the fourth inning when Skip Schumaker drove in one run on a fielder's choice and Daniel Descalso drove in another with a single to tie the game at three. Garcia came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and hit the first home run of his career to make the score 6-3 in favor of the Cardinals.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to KO Garcia and the Cardinals were back on the wrong end of the 7-6 score. It stayed that way until the seventh when, with the bases loaded and one out, Holliday grounded into a double play that tied the game at seven.
The bullpens held the line until the 11th inning. The only excitement came in the seventh when Milwaukee hurler Takashi Saito threw a high inside pitch to Albert Pujols that hit him square on his recently broken wrist. Pujols was obviously in pain. But he managed to continue playing. In the bottom of the inning Ryan Braun led off for the Brewers and was brushed back by the first pitch from Jason Motte. The second pitch of the frame, a 97 MPH Motte fastball, hit Braun in the middle of the back.
The umpire warned both teams and harsh worde were exchanged. But cooler heads prevailed and the game went on without further incident.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Holliday.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's game winning single, Rafael Furcal's running over the shoulder catch with two outs in the ninth inning and the winning run in scoring position and Garcia's home run all tie.
Lowlight: Garcia continues to struggle on the road with seven runs allowed on 10 hits over five innings -- but only three of the runs were earned.