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Fowler's 1st HR, 4 hits key rout of Brewers

Outfielder drives in four, including a pair in seven-run seventh inning
April 23, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler entered Spring Training with a new outlook and a healthy body. And now he’s getting new results. On Monday, Fowler continued to rebound from the worst season of his professional career, bashing his first home run of the season as part of a

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler entered Spring Training with a new outlook and a healthy body. And now he’s getting new results.

On Monday, Fowler continued to rebound from the worst season of his professional career, bashing his first home run of the season as part of a four-hit night to help power the Cardinals to a 13-5 win over the Brewers in the first of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Fowler said. “I’ve been putting good swings on and taking good at-bats and it’s kind of contagious.”

Fowler drove a 2-2 pitch from Adrian Houser 418 feet into the right-field bleachers to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the fourth. It was his first homer since July 24, 2018. He singled and scored in the second, had an RBI single during a seven-run seventh and drove in another with an infield single in the eighth. The four hits tied a career high for Fowler, who has done it five times, and it was his first such game since June 9, 2013. It was the first three-plus RBI game for Fowler since July 10, 2018.

“I’m just trying to go out and take the AB’s and let the game come to me,” Fowler said. “Whatever situation it is, just try to execute the situation.”

Fowler improved to .500 (7-for-14) through the first four games of the Cardinals’ current homestand. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, with five multi-hit efforts.

“He’s using the whole field in driving the ball,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “The ball is going straight, he’s got a nice trajectory to it, he’s staying through it clearly and using the whole field and when you’re doing that and you look at hitters who use the whole field, guys have to defend it. It’s going to create more holes.”

His batting average is now at .313, the highest for Fowler since June 8, 2016, when he was a member of the Cubs. It is a far cry from the .180 batting average he posted in 334 plate appearances before his season ended on Aug. 3 last year with a broken foot.

Health has been a key to Fowler’s resurgence.

“There’s a ton of factors, that’s baseball,” Fowler said. “You’re not going to feel great every day and you’ve got to maximize when you do.”

Paul Goldschmidt had three hits, including a two-run homer in the fifth, and drove in three runs. Jose Martinez had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while Yadier Molina extended his 10-game hitting streak with an RBI single in the seventh.

“We just kept adding on, taking quality at-bats,” Shildt said. “Guys taking their walks, got to stay in the zone, staying with the plan, staying in the middle, staying with the ball and staying in the middle of the plate.”

Jack Flaherty gave up four runs, courtesy of three Brewers home runs, in six innings. He retired the first 13 batters he faced before Ryan Braun started the long-ball show with a solo homer. Flaherty (2-1) struck out 10 for the fourth time in his career. He allowed just three hits, all of which left the park.

"We ended up scoring four runs in six innings, so I think we did a decent job against him,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Not a lot of hits, but he made some mistakes and we hit some long balls. We'll score runs any way we can. I think four runs off him is a solid effort and should give us a chance to be in the ballgame."

Houser (0-1) lasted four-plus innings in his first Major League start, giving up five runs on nine hits and striking out three.

The 13 runs are the most scored by the Cardinals this season.

“When our lineup is going like that, I don’t know if anybody wants to pitch against them -- I certainly wouldn’t,” Flaherty said. “It was nice to be on the other side and just watch them go off. It’s been fun. All up and down the lineup, everybody swung the bat well tonight.”