Brewers sweep Pittsburgh, now only have to worry about St. Louis in Wild Card raceWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers have moved into second place behind Saint Louis for the final Wild Card playoff spot in the National League.
PITTSBURGH - The Milwaukee Brewers have moved into second place behind Saint Louis for the final Wild Card playoff spot in the National League.
Two-and-a-half games separate those two teams with a week-and-a-half left – and both were victorious yesterday. The Cardinals edged Houston at home 5-4. And the Brewers kept pace with a 9-7 victory at Pittsburgh. The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped to third in the Wild Card race after losing at Washington 4-1. The East-leading Nationals clinched at least a playoff spot with that win. Former Brewers’ All-Star Chris Capuano took the loss for LA, which is now three games back for the Wild Card and a half-game behind Milwaukee. Philadelphia is next at four games back. Arizona and Pittsburgh are both five-and-a-half out.
The Pirates tumbled down the standings after being swept for three games by the Brew Crew. Atlanta has a six-game lead for the first Wild Card spot. The two Wild Card winners will play each other once for the right to move on to the NL Division Series’ round. The Brewers are the hottest team in the Wild Card chase, winning five straight and 23-of-their-last-29. The Cardinals have won four straight. Cincinnati will win the Central Division, with an 11-game lead over Saint Louis at the moment. The Reds clinched at least a playoff spot with a 5-3 win over the Cubs in Chicago yesterday. Cincy could clinch the Central this weekend when it hosts the Brewers, who were last year’s division champions.
The Brewers scored four runs in the eighth inning yesterday to come from behind and beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh, 9-7 for a sweep of their three-game set. Rickie Weeks tied the score with a two-run triple. And Aramis Ramirez singled home the go-ahead run, which capped off the rally after the Brewers went into the eighth trailing by three. Logan Schafer drove in Milwaukee’s final run with a pinch-hit single in the ninth. And then John Axford nailed down the victory with three strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to get his 13th straight save, and his 31st of the season. Manny Parra got the win by throwing a scoreless seventh. He’s now 2-and-3. Chris Resop took the loss in relief. He’s now 1-and-4. Ramirez fell a triple short of the cycle, and his homer was his 337th career blast while playing at third. That ties Ramirez with Hall-of-Famer Ron Santo for sixth place in homers by third baseman. Norichika Aoki became the first National League rookie in 38 years to have four hitting streaks of at least 10 games in a single season. He hit a lead-off single yesterday to extend his current streak to 10. Andrew McCutcheon belted a three-run homer, and Clint Barmes had a solo shot as Pittsburgh lost its 15th game in its last 19. The Pirates dropped below .500 for the first time since May 29th, as they try to avoid a 20th straight losing season. The Brewers are five games above .500 with a five-game winning streak going into a weekend series at Washington that begins tonight. Right-hander Shaun Marcum will start against Nationals’ righty Edwin Jackson.
Corey Hart played five innings yesterday in his first game for the Brewers since he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot on September ninth. Hart went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat. Hart wore a lot of tape around his left shoe to try-and-keep the foot comfortable. The first baseman didn’t look bad in the field. But Hart’s running problems were apparent in the opening inning, when he could only make it from first-to-third on a double from Jonathan Lucroy. Still, Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke said he was pleased with Hart’s overall day. Travis Ishikawa finished the game in Hart’s spot. Hart will be considered day-to-day from this point on. With a right-hander pitching against the Brewers tonight, Roenicke says he’s not sure if he’ll use the right-handed-hitting Hart. But with a left-hander going on Saturday, the skipper says it’s more likely that Hart will get a start then.