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K-Rod earns save as Brewers beat Cardinals 3-2

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staff, Gazette
July 17, 2012

— Francisco Rodriguez picked up a save on his first night as Milwaukee's new closer, Rickie Weeks hit a mammoth home run and Randy Wolf won his first game since April 30 as the Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Tuesday.

The Cardinals' Matt Holliday left the game after getting hit in the leg with a pitch in the first inning and Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was removed with a right adductor strain in the seventh. St. Louis' Lance Berkman was ejected for arguing a call.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke gave the closer's job to Rodriguez before the game with John Axford continuing to struggle.

It wasn't easy for Rodriguez, who allowed the first two batters to reach before nailing down his second save this season.

Wolf (3-6) went 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (1-2) took the loss.

Rodriguez gave up a leadoff double to David Freese, then a single to Yadier Molina to put runners on first and third with no outs.

Rodriguez then got Matt Carpenter to ground out, holding the runner at third, and struck out pinch hitter Skip Schumaker. With runners on second and third, Rodriguez got pinch hitter Daniel Descalso to pop up and end the game.

Wolf hasn't had a victory since April 30 at San Diego, but the Brewers' bullpen shares some of the blame for his winless streak. Coming into Tuesday's game, Wolf was 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA during his last 12 starts. During that stretch, he left seven games with the lead, only to have the bullpen blow it.

Kelly went six innings, giving up three runs two earned with six hits, a walk and four strikeouts.

Holliday took an 89-mph fastball from Wolf off his left leg in the first inning. After spending several minutes with the team's trainer, Holliday remained in the game. But Cardinals manager Mike Matheny took him out in the bottom of the second, when Jon Jay came in as a defensive replacement. Holliday's injury was described as a left thigh contusion.

The Brewers then took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Corey Hart, scoring Norichika Aoki.

But the Cardinals came back with two runs in the third when Rafael Furcal took a one-out walk, Allen Craig singled and Jay hit an RBI double. Craig then scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran, but Jay was thrown out while trying to take third and the inning ended.

Aramis Ramirez's RBI single tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the third. Then Weeks' ninth homer of the season caromed high off the facade in center field, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead in the fourth.

Wolf then allowed back-to-back singles to start the seventh. After a lengthy meeting with Roenicke at the mound, Wolf stayed in the game, and Tyler Greene's sacrifice bunt advanced runners to second and third with one out.

Berkman pinch hit and Wolf ran the count to 3-2 before Berkman was called out on a checked swing. Berkman complained about the call and was thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Brian Gorman.

With two outs, Roenicke pulled Wolf for reliever Jose Veras and took Braun out of the game, putting Nyjer Morgan in right field and switching Norichika Aoki from right to left.

Veras got Furcal to pop out to the catcher, ending the inning.

Milwaukee loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Travis Ishikawa grounded out to end the inning.

Notes: Weeks' home run was estimated at 460 feet. ... Under Major Leauge Baseball rules, Holliday does not lose the 15-game hitting streak he brought into Tuesday's game. ... Wolf made an impressive play to field a sharp grounder by Craig in the third then turned a 1-4-3 double play. ... After a recent wave of temperatures in the high 90s, it was 85 degrees at first pitch.



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