The Milwaukee Brewers finally shook a frustrating losing streak, and now they’re hoping to build some momentum.
The Brewers will try to build on their first win in seven games Saturday when they continue a four-game home series with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals.
Rickie Weeks hit a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning Friday to give Milwaukee (17-18) a 4-3 win in the series opener. The Brewers snapped their season-high six game losing streak, comprised of sweeps in Houston and Florida.
“We had a hard road trip,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “It was a big win. To come back the way we did, they kept pushing without much luck through the whole nine innings, they got two outs with nobody on and just refused to quit.”
Milwaukee, which came in hitting just .239 as a team, matched its run total from the three-game series in Miami in Friday’s win. Weeks went 2-for-5 to raise his batting average eight points to .196.
The rally came against Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen, who blew his fourth save in his last seven outings. Isringhausen is tied with Milwaukee’s Eric Gagne for the major league lead with five blown saves.
“We should be five more wins in the win column in my mind, so we should be ahead in first place even more,” said Isringhausen, who also leads the NL with 11 saves. “But they can’t keep sending me out there when I’m pitching the way I’m pitching.
“We’re going to have to figure out some kind of remedy. I’m sure that remedy will give me some time off and get somebody in there that can do a better job right now. … I’m just pitching like a second grader.”
The Cardinals (22-15) have dropped three straight after winning six of seven. Albert Pujols went 2-for-3 with a homer, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 36 straight games - the longest such streak to start a season since 1999, when Derek Jeter reached base in 53 straight games and Jim Thome in his first 37.
Pujols owns a .403 (25-for-62) batting average - better than any other player - along with four homers against Brewers ace Ben Sheets (4-0, 2.29 ERA), who gets the start on Saturday.
Sheets is just 5-14 with a 4.30 ERA in 23 career starts against the Cardinals - easily his most losses against any opponent.
Sheets, who is just one strikeout shy of tying Teddy Higuera for the franchise record for career strikeouts of 1,081, is the only Milwaukee starter to have earned a win since April 5.
The right-hander saw his four-start winning streak snapped Sunday, though, as he gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings of Milwaukee’s 12-inning, 8-6 loss at Houston.
St. Louis counters with Joel Pineiro (2-2, 4.33), who lasted a season-low three innings Monday, yielding four runs in the Cardinals’ 6-5 win in Colorado. The right-hander had won his previous two starts, allowing just one run in 14 total innings.
Pineiro made his only previous start against Milwaukee on Aug. 15 of last season, allowing two runs in seven innings of an 8-3 win at Miller Park.