ST. LOUIS (AP)—Bill Hall figured something good had just happened because he didn’t feel a sting when he connected in the 10th inning.
“When you hit home runs, you don’t really feel the ball at all,” Hall said. “As soon as I hit it, I knew it hit the good part of the bat. When you see the trajectory of the ball, you knew it had a good chance of getting out.”
Milwaukee is 4-0 on its seven-game trip and a National League best 35-19 since May 20. The win moved the Brewers percentage points ahead of St. Louis for second place in the NL Central behind Chicago.
“From the looks of it, it’s us, the Cardinals and the Cubs who will be battling for the division,” Hall said. “Every win is important in this division.”
Brewers’ manager Ned Yost said taking the first game of the four-game set was particularly important.
“It’s always good to get off to a good start especially against a tough team like St. Louis,” he said. “To take the first game of a series is always big in my mind.”
Hall’s home run helped make a winner out of Solomon Torres (5-2), who gave up the tying run in the ninth. Torres also pitched the 10th.
Torres was grateful for the chance to pitch another inning.
“I was glad I was given a second chance to go out there,” he said. “The guys picked me up right away. We scored a couple of runs and it was business as usual. … It’s not going to show on the record, but let me have a mulligan and let me save it for a second time.”
The Brewers scored twice more in the 10th off Franklin (3-3) on a throwing error by second baseman Aaron Miles and an RBI single by J.J. Hardy. Franklin allowed three runs—two earned—on four hits in 1 1-3 innings.
“There’s no excuses,” Franklin said. “I should have done the job, and I didn’t.”
Hardy went 4-for-6. Rickie Weeks provided the rest of the Brewers’ offense with a three-run home run.
Trailing 3-2 entering the ninth, Yadier Molina led off with a ground-rule double over the wall in right-center. Pinch-hitter Jason LaRue moved pinch-runner Brendan Ryan over to third with an infield single, and Ryan scored on Skip Schumaker’s sacrifice fly to left. Torres retired Albert Pujols on a fly out to center with two men on to end the threat.
“We had a shot,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “We had the right guy up there to win the game. (He) just got under it a little bit.”
Torres said he should have approached the situation with Molina differently.
“One mistake to Molina,” he said. “I should have known better. I should have attacked, keep the ball down.”
After spotting the Cardinals’ a 2-0 lead, Weeks gave McClung and the Brewers the lead in the fifth.
With one out, Jason Kendall doubled down the right-field line and McClung followed with a single to center. Weeks then hit St. Louis starter Joel Pineiro’s next pitch 431 feet into the third deck in left field for his eighth home run and a 3-2 Milwaukee lead.
Weeks’ home run was one of 10 hits allowed by Pineiro in six innings. He also walked one while striking out two.
Brewers reliever Eric Gagne, who prior to Monday had a 9.00 ERA in four appearances since returning from the disabled list June 30, pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts in his first action since July 12. … Milwaukee has homered in a season-high 17 straight games; the team record is 19 straight set from June 11-30, 1996. … Ray Durham, acquired from San Francisco yesterday, saw his first action as a Brewer when he pinch-hit for Gagne in the eighth. With runners at second and third and one out, Durham grounded into a 5-2 fielder’s choice. … Russ Springer, who pitched a scoreless seventh, has allowed just two earned runs over his last 34 outings (25 2-3 innings, 0.70 ERA). … Glaus is hitting .525 (21-for-40) during his 10-game hitting streak.