Milwaukee seemed to want to make a statement against the Cardinals as it hosted St. Louis for its first game of the season.
But it was St. Louis that made the statement, stomping the Brewers in front of a (briefly) rabid Miller Park crowd by an 11-5 score.
The Brewers stormed out to a lead in the first with a lead-off single followed by a triple with no one out. But St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia settled himself and prevented further damage.
After that, the Cardinals went to work with the lumber. Yadier Molina homered in the top of the second to make the score 2-1. In the third Carlos Beltran led off with a homer to right center and Matt Holliday followed with a homer to left center field to make the score 4-2. Lance Berkman drew a walk from shaken St. Louis whipping boy Yovani Gallardo... And then David Freese hit a two-run shot to put the Cardinals up 6-2.
Milwaukee's best chance to get back into the game came in the fifth inning when it found itself with runners on first and third and one out. Rickie Weeks hit a ground ball to second and Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (a .260 hitter with 112 MLB games under his belt who spends his free time criticizing future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa) decided to mow down St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso as he attempted to field a grounder hit too slow to turn a double play. The cheap shot, which resulted in the runners being returned to their bases and LuCroy being called out for interference, took a Milwaukee run off the board and seemed to take the starch out of the otherwise bloodthirsty crowd.
The Cardinals added a run in the sixth when Lance Berkman hit a two-out double to drive in Beltran and in the seventh when Shane Robinson singled home Jon Jay with two outs to make the score 8-2. In the top of the ninth, Yadi doubled, Jon Jay moved him to third with a grounder and Daniel Descalso walked. Matt Carpenter stroked a double to right center to drive in a pair and make the score 10-2. Furcal doubled to drive in Carpenter to extend the Birds' lead to 11-2.
Milwaukee got three cosmetic runs in the ninth inning when Kyle McClellan got the first out and then struck out the second batter... but then he reached first when the third strike got away from Molina. Lucroy came up and got hit in the back with a curve ball and then George Kottaras hit a hanging breaking ball over the boards for a three-run homer.
Garcia pitched six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three Milwaukee batters.
Gallardo managed 3 2/3 innings with six earned runs allowed on seven hits and five walks. He also struck out three Cardinals.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carlos Beltran had two hits, including a homer, stole a base. He also scored two runs and drove in two more.
Cardinals Play of the Game: With no one out and two on Daniel Descalso makes a gutsy play to get the runner out at second on a ball hit by Nyjer Morgan to keep the double play in order... And on the next play reliever Mitchell Boggs gets a 6-3 double play grounder.
Lowlight: J.C. Romero hasn't exactly seized his opportunity in the St. Louis bullpen. He came in to start the bottom of the seventh and allowed both of the hitters to single to open the door for a Milwaukee rally.