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Leake does it all in win for Cardinals

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Mike Leake grabbed a bat and did his best Adam Wainwright impersonation, while Jimmy Nelson remained 0-for-St. Louis.

Leake, who entered the day as the National League's ERA leader, surrendered multiple runs for the first time this season, but made up for it by hitting a go-ahead, two-run single in the fourth, capping a three-run Cardinals rally in their 6-4 win over Nelson and the Brewers at Miller Park on Sunday. The Brewers mounted a valiant effort in the bottom of the ninth but fell for the fifth time in six games, while the Cardinals have won six of their last seven.

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MILWAUKEE -- Mike Leake grabbed a bat and did his best Adam Wainwright impersonation, while Jimmy Nelson remained 0-for-St. Louis.

Leake, who entered the day as the National League's ERA leader, surrendered multiple runs for the first time this season, but made up for it by hitting a go-ahead, two-run single in the fourth, capping a three-run Cardinals rally in their 6-4 win over Nelson and the Brewers at Miller Park on Sunday. The Brewers mounted a valiant effort in the bottom of the ninth but fell for the fifth time in six games, while the Cardinals have won six of their last seven.

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Nelson dropped to 0-8 lifetime against St. Louis, and just like Wily Peralta two days earlier, when Wainwright homered and drove in four runs, Nelson was burned by the opposing pitcher. He had a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, but walked the first two batters of the frame to set up Kolten Wong for a tying RBI double off Keon Broxton's glove at the center-field wall. Nelson then walked another batter to load the bases for Leake's broken-bat, two-run single for a 4-2 lead.

Video: STL@MIL: Leake knocks a two-run single to center

"There was a lot of soft contact," Nelson said, "but you can't really complain about it when you shoot yourself in the foot first."

Of the Cardinals' 16 runs in the final three games of the series, six were driven in by a pitcher.

Nelson's three walks in the inning matched his total from his first three starts. He has worked hard on limiting free passes this year after leading the Majors in that category a season ago, but walked six men on Sunday while allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Nelson's ERA against the Cardinals is now 7.09 in 10 games, nine starts.

Video: STL@MIL: Wong hits an RBI double to tie the game

Leake earned the victory after allowing two runs on three hits in six innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. All four of his starts this season have been quality starts, and Leake has won the last three in a row.

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The Brewers made it interesting in the ninth, when Manny Pina led off against Jonathan Broxton with a home run, and Jonathan Villar's one-out single against closer Seung Hwan Oh made it 6-4, bringing the winning run to the plate. But Oh struck out Eric Thames for the second out of the inning, then retired Ryan Braun on a fly ball to the warning track in right field. The close call sealed Oh's fifth save.

Video: STL@MIL: Oh gets Braun to fly out to record the save

"I knew he hit it good," manager Craig Counsell said. "But I think it's being here so much, watching Ryan hit so much, and his reaction to it [that he knew it would fall short]. It was a good rally. Manny started it off with a heck of an at-bat. … We had the guys up there at the end that we certainly wanted."

Sweet relief: Sunday's ninth inning aside, the Cardinals bullpen was stingy in the series, and no St. Louis reliever has been stingier than Matt Bowman. The right-hander extended his streak of scoreless appearances to 20 games. Bowman has not been charged with a run since last Sept. 6 at Pittsburgh, a scoreless streak that covers 19 2/3 innings. He also threw 12 scoreless innings in Spring Training. 

QUOTABLE
"It doesn't feel good, it is kind of like a dagger. It is one of the last things you want to do." -- Leake, who drove in two runs on a single on an 0-2 count, on how he would feel if he gave up an 0-2 hit to an opposing pitcher.

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By scoring twice against Leake, the Brewers pushed one of their own to the top of the National League ERA leaderboard. Leake's ERA increased from 0.84 to 1.32, making Chase Anderson the new league leader at 1.13.

The Cardinals did not homer in a game in Milwaukee for the first time since April 14, 2014. Their streak of 24 games with a home run was an all-time Milwaukee record, including the hometown Milwaukee Braves and Brewers.

CARPENTER, MATHENY EJECTED
Plate umpire John Tumpane ejected Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter and manager Mike Matheny in an eventful seventh inning, when Aledmys Diaz was picked off first by Brewers left hander Brent Suter, who then got a called Strike three on a slider inside to Carpenter. When Carpenter threw down his bat in protest, Tumpane signalled his ejection. Matheny suffered a similar fate when he came out to continue the argument. The ejection was the third of Carpenter's career, and Matheny's 13th. 

Video: STL@MIL: Carpenter and Matheny get ejected in the 7th

"It was more the pitch that sent him to 3-2 than the one that was strike three," Matheny said. "We always want our guys to get past the one bad call but the next one in his mind was borderline. It was a pretty good pitch, but certainly what could have been ball four on the 3-1 pitch wasn't a good pitch. But you are going to have that. There's human error in this game. I think you just saw some frustration with a few strikeouts on the day, which is something you don't normally see Carp do. He told him what he thought of it.

"I told him what I thought of it too. Apparently I said something he didn't like."

"Carpenter has one of the best eyes in the league, so it he was upset, it was definitely borderline, if not out of the zone," Suter said. "My control was a little off today." More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: After an off day Monday, St. Louis will return to Busch Stadium to open a 10-game homestand against Toronto at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Michael Wacha will take the ball for the Cardinals, as he looks to improve upon a 1.42 home ERA in two starts this season.

Brewers: Will Reds starter Amir Garrett be able to hold down Ryan Braun and Eric Thames when Cincinnati starts a three-game series at Miller Park? The Brewers duo combined to go 11-for-29 with seven home runs and seven walks during a four-game series in Cincinnati on the last road trip, and gets three more games against Reds pitchers, beginning with Monday's 6:40 p.m. CT series opener. Thames hit five home runs, going deep in all four games, part of a five-game streak with a home run that matched Milwaukee's franchise record.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.