Brewers 4, Cardinals 3, 11 innings
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Carlos Lee saved the game with his underrated glove, then won it with his bat.
Lee hit a tiebreaking home run in the 11th inning, minutes after making a pair of game-saving catches at the left-field wall, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
“That’s baseball, you know,” Lee said about his crucial sequence. “It happens. It’s a first for me.”
The Cardinals couldn’t overcome the first two-error game of center fielder Jim Edmonds’ career, which led to a pair of unearned runs and a 3-1 deficit in the fifth. St. Louis lost for the first time in three games at new Busch Stadium.
“I don’t know what to say,” Edmonds said. “It cost us the game, so I’ve got to deal with it.”
Lee leaped high above the wall to snare Juan Encarnacion’s bid for a two-run homer for the first out in the bottom of the 10th. Then he caught Edmonds’ drive to the wall off Jorge De La Rosa (1-0) with runners on first and third for the third out, banging into the padding after the grab.
Manager Ned Yost said Lee, who leads the Brewers with four homers and nine RBIs and is batting .344, doesn’t get enough credit defensively.
“I think he’s a very solid left fielder,” Yost said. “You don’t make a play any better than that.”
Lee’s drive just inside the left-field foul pole came off closer Jason Isringhausen (0-2), who surrendered his second crucial homer in four days. The Cubs’ Michael Barrett hit a grand slam on Sunday off Isringhausen, who allowed only four homers in 59 innings last season and entered the season trailing only Mariano Rivera for fewest homers allowed since 2000 with 22 in 382 innings.
“He’s one of the best closers out there in the game,” Lee said. “I was just trying to get on base, I was just trying to put the ball in play.
“I hit it real good.”
Isringhausen, who has allowed two homers in three innings this season, was booed as he walked off the field with one out in the 11th.
“It’s just kind of snowballing,” Isringhausen said. “I’m sure people are saying I don’t have anything left in the tank. Whatever. I still know I’ve got good enough stuff to get people out.”
Brady Clark and Bill Hall drove in a run apiece and Derrick Turnbow got the last three outs for his fifth save in five chances for the Brewers, who snapped a three-game losing streak after a 5-0 start to the season.
Edmonds, who has won six consecutive Gold Gloves since joining the team in 2000 and has eight overall, committed fielding errors in the second and fifth. He complained Wednesday night that he was having trouble judging balls in the new ballpark because the crack of the bat is not as pronounced as it was at the old Busch.
On Thursday he said the decorative pattern cut into the grass can make balls behave erratically. Mostly, Edmonds said he was trying to compensate for a .176 average.
“Obviously, I’m not hitting the way I want,” Edmonds said. “So, I was trying to make it up for it on defense.”
Edmonds dropped a drive near the wall that was ruled a double on Wednesday and said he had no idea where he was in relation to the wall. Another Cardinal perennial Gold Glover, third baseman Scott Rolen, committed his second error in two games on Thursday when he bobbled Corey Koskie’s slow roller several times in the sixth.
The first triple at the new stadium, by David Eckstein leading off the sixth, helped the Cardinals tie it. Rolen increased his team-leading RBI total to 12 with a one-out single and Edmonds followed with a sacrifice fly.
Edmonds’ second fielding error of the game helped the Brewers score twice in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. He misplayed Clark’s two-out RBI single, missing it with his glove, allowing a second run to score.
Koskie doubled off the center-field wall on one hop with one out in the second and went to third when Edmonds dropped the ball out of his glove for an error. Koskie scored on Bill Hall’s sacrifice fly to put Milwaukee ahead.
Encarnacion’s first RBI of the season, a one-out grounder with runners at second and third, tied it in the third for St. Louis.
Cardinals 2B Aaron Miles and C Yadier Molina, in a combined 0-for-25 slump, did not start. Miles entered in a double switch in the 10th. … Brewers 2B Jeff Cirillo had a pair of nice fielding plays to rob Pujols in the third and Hector Luna in the second. … Paid attendance of 40,222 gave the Cardinals a third straight sellout.