Cardinals 9, Brewers 1

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—Left-hander Glendon Rusch didn’t think his nightmarish season could get any worse. He was wrong.

Rusch surrendered eight earned runs in one-plus inning of Milwaukee’s 9-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, a performance that could lead to his demotion to the bullpen or the minors or even to his release.

Brewers manager Ned Yost said he’ll give it some thought Friday, but Rusch admitted he didn’t deserve to keep going out to the mound every fifth day.

“If I was the manager or pitching coach, I would be at the point where you’ve got to make some sort of decision,” Rusch said. “If you look at the numbers, (I’m) obviously not worthy enough of being in the rotation.”

Rusch extended his career-long losing streak to 10 games, one shy of the franchise record set by Chris Bosio in 1988, and watched his ERA go from 7.77 to 8.61 in the shortest outing of his seven-year career.

“It’s tough to figure out,” Rusch said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Rusch (1-11), who gave up four runs in the first inning and four more in the second, when the crowd cheered his departure, said he isn’t hiding any physical problems.

“No, I feel good,” he said. “I’m just not getting the job done, that’s it. There’s no excuses for it.”

Rusch gave up six hits and five walks and managed to get just three outs in 61 pitches.

After his departure, the bad blood and beanballs continued as expected following Tino Martinez’s plunking in the back Tuesday night.

Milwaukee third baseman Wes Helms left the game with a bruised left knee after getting hit by Jason Simontacchi in the second inning, and Cardinals second baseman Miguel Cairo left in the sixth with a fractured bone in his left hand, courtesy of a fastball from Dan Kolb.

Cairo has been subbing for an injured Fernando Vina (hamstring). The team did not say how long he would be out.

“That’s a tough break for him,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s so important to us. But that happens in the game of baseball.”

The Cardinals will likely play short-handed until they return to St. Louis on Friday, and Wilson Delgado is the likely starter at second for the series finale Thursday.

Both benches were warned after Cal Eldred hit Milwaukee’s Scott Podsednik square in the back with a fastball in the eighth inning.

Rusch allowed an RBI single to Edgar Renteria, a sacrifice fly to Cairo and a two-run single to Orlando Palmeiro in the first and a two-run homer to Eduardo Perez in the second, when he walked three of the five batters he faced.

“The guy’s struggling,” La Russa said. “We got to him before he got comfortable.”

And probably before many of the 17,495 fans could, either.

The crowd cheered when Yost emerged from the dugout to pull him after he walked Scott Rolen. Cairo greeted right-hander Luis Vizcaino with a two-run single that made it 8-0.

Simontacchi (5-4) allowed one run on seven hits in seven innings for the win. He walked one and struck out three.

Eddie Perez led off the fifth with his seventh homer to make it 8-1, but Simontacchi got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting slugger Richie Sexson to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

The Brewers said before the game that they were expecting retaliation after Milwaukee reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit Martinez in the back with a fastball on Tuesday night. But they were expecting to see Sexson go down, not Helms.

“We know it’s coming,” Yost said during batting practice, adding that he’d be surprised if Sexson didn’t get hit in the first inning.

After the game, Yost said he didn’t think Helms was plunked on purpose and swore that Cairo was just the victim of an inside pitch that got away.

“I’m not so sure about Podsednik,” Yost added. “But after last night, who can tell? It didn’t look good when De-Lo hit Martinez. It looked like he was trying to hit him but in his heart he knows he wasn’t.

“So, I can say the same for Cal Eldred. It didn’t look good in that situation, but maybe he was just trying to pitch him in.”

Simontacchi, who said he was just trying to pitch Helms inside, took exception to a high and tight fastball from Kolb when he batted in the sixth.

“That’s not talking about someone’s career. That’s talking about someone’slife,” Simontacchi said.

Notes

Cardinals OF J.D. Drew led off an inning all six times up. … Martinez flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. … Eduardo Perez and Albert Pujols each had three hits by the third inning. … Eddie Perez tied a career high with his seventh homer. … Rolen returned to the Cardinals lineup after missing the first two games of the series with a stiff neck and back. CardinalsCF Jim Edmonds sat out with a sore left hip.

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