The Cardinals scored three runs in the first inning Sunday and, after several days of offensive sputters, the Birds looked like they might run away with a game for once.
But they were only able to add on one more run in the next eight innings and in the top of the ninth found themselves ahead 4-2 with a runner on second base and two outs.
And then Jason Motte surrendered a line drive homer to right field by Norichika Ioki to tie the game, suck the air out of Busch Stadium and put the Brewers in position to sweep their way back into the National League wildcard race.
Fortunately, Matt Carpenter singled to right field and stole second to get into scoring position with two outs. Allen Craig lined a single to right that went right to Aoki who made a nice peg to the plate. Carpenter made a ridiculously good slide to the back half of the plate and avoided the tag while touching the tip of the plate with his hand as he slid past. And the Cardinals at least were able to avert disaster by pulling out a 5-4 win.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Joe Kelly, who lost his job in the rotation when Jaime Garcia returned from the disabled list, has been the best St. Louis starter lately. Still it seems like his teammates do everything they can to make sure he doesn't get a win. He allowed two runs in six innings on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out five.
Lance Lynn, who lost his rotation spot to Kelly, got the win and improved to 14-7 with a scoreless top of the 10th. Motte's blown save was his sixth of the year.
The Cardinals' early offense came courtesy of Matt Holliday -- who hit a two-run homer -- and Carlos Beltran -- who hit a solo shot.
Hopefully a good day from Beltran is a sign that he's starting to turn things around. He added a single later in the game to try to reverse a slide that had left Beltran with a .138 batting average over the last month.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Jon Jay was 3-for-5 on the day and scored a run. He's improved his batting average to .323 with his recent hot streak.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Carpenter's game-winning slide.
Lowlight: The Cardinals really need to treat Joe Kelly better. The kid should have a whole lot more wins than he does.