Braun’s homer in 9th leads Brewers to 4-3 win
The left fielder hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to cap his second straight four-hit game and lift Milwaukee to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Brewers’ eighth straight win.
The latest victory completed a 7-0 road trip that included a four-game sweep of the Cardinals.
Braun has led the offensive resurgence, reaching base in his last nine plate appearances. He went 14-for-29 on the trip with three homers. He said Thursday’s home run off closer Ryan Franklin (3-4) provided him with a huge thrill
“To me, a game-winning homer is the best feeling in the world,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”
Home runs have become commonplace with Milwaukee. The Brewers have hit at least one in each of their last 20 games, a franchise record.
“Right now, our confidence level is at an all-time high,” Braun said. “This is the way you want to start the second half of the season.”
“Clutch hitting, great pitching, this was a great road trip,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve got a lot of clutch players, a lot of guys who really want to win and it shows.”
Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets threw seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. He left the game with his team trailing 3-2.
St. Louis scored runs in the first and third innings and carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth. Hardy started the winning rally with a one-out single. Braun then ripped an 0-1 offering from Franklin into the bleachers in left-center.
“I made some really good pitches (but) messed up on one,” Franklin said.
St. Louis used a run-scoring single by Rick Ankiel to jump in front in the first. Aaron Miles doubled in the third and Adam Kennedy came around to make it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols, who was 0-for-2 and has just two hits in his last 14 at-bats.
Milwaukee capitalized on a wild streak by St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer to climb within 2-1 in the fourth. Wellemeyer, who went five innings, walked four in the frame.
The Brewers have outscored their opponents 44-21 during the winning streak.
Sheets says it’s been a combination of timely hitting and solid pitching that has put the Brewers within one game of first-place Chicago in the NL Central.
“I still believe it all starts with starting pitching,” Sheets said, “But I may be a little biased.”
The Brewers (59-43) are 16 games over .500 for the first time since the end of 1992 season when they finished 92-70. … The Brewers have won their last seven road games and have a major league-best 14-5 road mark since June 11. … The Brewers have hit 31 home runs in their 20-game homer streak. … Milwaukee, which has won the last six games against the Cardinals, swept a series in St. Louis for first time since September 1999. … St. Louis will play 17 of its next 24 games on the road. … Cardinals 3B Troy Glaus was 2-for-14 in the series.
- News & Notes: Victorious Rays still angry with Tropicana Bartmen
- Rangers uncertain whether Beltre starts season on DL
- Pirates RF Polanco to skip Canada trip with shoulder issue
- Cardinals ride improved defense to winning spring
- Twins finalize bullpen, with Rule 5 pick righty Justin Haley
- Braves' new ballpark could be game-changer for industry