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Brewers edge Cards on reviewed walk-off hit

July 8, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- The reaction was slightly delayed thanks to a replay review, but the Brewers finally got to celebrate a walk-off win in 2016.Kirk Nieuwenhuis slid in just ahead of Tommy Pham's throw and Yadier Molina's tag on Jonathan Villar's two-out single to left field off Seung Hwan Oh, giving

MILWAUKEE -- The reaction was slightly delayed thanks to a replay review, but the Brewers finally got to celebrate a walk-off win in 2016.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis slid in just ahead of Tommy Pham's throw and Yadier Molina's tag on Jonathan Villar's two-out single to left field off Seung Hwan Oh, giving the Brewers a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday night at Miller Park.
The Cardinals challenged the call, but following a one-minute, 29-second review, the call was confirmed.
Brewers don't mind waiting to celebrate
"I guess that's going to be part of the game now," Nieuwenhuis said of waiting for the replay decision. "It was a little bit strange, but it was our first walk-off win, so I was really happy."
Along with being Milwaukee's first walk-off win, it was the first game-winning hit of Villar's career.

Michael Wacha held a 2-1 lead until the sixth when Jonathan Lucroy and Carter hit consecutive home runs to put the Brewers in front, 3-2. Molina evened the score with a blast off reliever Will Smith in the eighth.
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson wasn't sharp, but limited the Cardinals to just two runs over six innings despite allowing six hits and four walks. Wacha lasted 6 2/3 innings, exiting after being hit in the right heel by a line drive off the bat of Villar.

Wacha's injury was not the only costly loss for the Cardinals. Matt Holliday suffered a twisted left ankle in the third and exited in the seventh after it tightened up. In the ninth, reliever Trevor Rosenthal walked Nieuwenhuis and later had to leave with hamstring spasms, giving way to Oh.
Going yard: Unable to muster much offensively through five innings, the Brewers used back-to-back home runs to take the lead off Wacha in the sixth. Lucroy tied the game at 2 by just clearing the wall in left-center field. Carter, who also took Wacha deep in the second, followed with no-doubter to right field to put the Brewers in front, 3-2.

Down for the count: The injury bug was out and about for the Cardinals as they saw three players exit. Holliday appeared to tweak his left ankle after rounding first on his RBI single in the third inning, then left the game in the seventh inning; later in the seventh, a 103 mph line drive by Villar caromed off Wacha's leg and he exited with a bruised right heel; in the ninth, Rosenthal had to come out of the game with one out and the winning run on second base.

All three players were listed as day to day by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, and Wacha said he felt that the injury would not be a problem going forward. St. Louis has already placed four players on the DL, including All-Star Matt Carpenter, since June 30.
"We don't like it, but it's one of those things; you can't allow yourself to go down that road of feeling sorry for yourself or saying too much," Matheny said. "You just have to keep playing. We have very good players who can jump in and make it happen. They were close to making it happen tonight." More >

Squeezing out of trouble: Nelson prevented the Cardinals from breaking the game open after they loaded the bases in the sixth. A one-out walk to Molina and a bloop double by Randal Grichuk put runners at second and third. After Kolten Wong was intentionally walked, Wacha dropped down a safety squeeze bunt, which Nelson fielded and flipped to Lucroy for the out at the plate. Nelson then got Greg Garcia on a sharp fly out to left field to end the inning.

"It was a big play," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I think just the fact he had walked him a couple of times before, he kept calm and knew the runner and knew he had a little bit of time to make a play."

"I thought Jimmy was really good, actually," Counsell said. "The pitcher's spot got him in trouble with a couple of walks, especially the first walk, but I thought he pitched really well. I was really pleased with how he pitched."
St. Louis left 11 men on base and batted 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"We had more damage out there," Matheny said. "Not just to get them in, but we had guys at first and second with nobody out and opportunities to get them over. When you're just banging away, the ball is jumping off the bat and you're scoring lots of runs with homers, that's one thing. Most of the time, though, we have to do the little things right."
Yard-ier Molina: Molina doubled his season home run total with a game-tying solo shot in the eighth. Down 0-2 in the count and 3-2 on the scoreboard against the left-hander Smith, Molina turned on a slider and gave it enough juice to just clear the fence in left field for his second homer. It was only the second long ball given up on an 0-2 count in Smith's career, with batters striking out in 140 out of 246 plate appearances when down 0-2.

Cardinals pitchers had drawn a total of one walk in 171 plate appearances before Wacha drew two in his first two trips to the plate. It was just the fourth time this season that a pitcher drew two walks in a game, with the Brewers giving up three of those games within the last month.
A Matheny request led to a crew chief review to see if Lucroy's game-tying homer in the sixth did, in fact, hit above the yellow padding atop the fence in left-center. After a one-minute, 34-second review, the call on the field stood.

The Cardinals challenged the ruling on the field that Nieuwenhuis slid in under Molina's tag on the walk-off single by Villar. Immediately following the call on the field, Molina emphatically motioned to the visitors' dugout, believing Nieuwenhuis was out at the plate, but the original ruling was confirmed. Already poured out onto the field, the Brewers then partook in a delayed celebration as they chased Villar around the diamond.

Cardinals: St. Louis will send Carlos Martinez to the mound for Saturday's 1:10 p.m. CT contest. Martinez has seven consecutive quality starts -- the longest such streak in baseball -- and pitched eight scoreless innings in his only start at Miller Park this season May 30.
Brewers:Chase Anderson will look to get back on track Saturday against the Cardinals. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 10.91 ERA over his past four starts.
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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to and covered the Brewers on Friday.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for based in Milwaukee. He covered the Cardinals on Friday.