Milwaukee Brewers, who continue to be baseball's biggest surprise, opened up a three-game set at Busch Stadium against the second-place St. Louis Cardinals. With a two-game lead coming in, this is a series that could have led to a shift in power in the NL Central by Sunday night. However, Milwaukee assured that won't be the case with an impressive 7-4 victory.The showdown series of the weekend isn't Yankees-Red Sox for a change. Instead, we look to the midwest where the first-place
Did we say impressive? We meant extremely impressive. The Brewers scored all seven of their runs off NL Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright before he was removed with one out in the sixth. Aramis Ramirez, who has owned Wainwright throughout his career, did the damage early, connecting for a solo homer in the first and an RBI double in the third.
He later added a single to his career average against Wainwright to .415.
''I don't have an explanation for it.,'' the Milwaukee Brewers cleanup man said. ''He's been one of the best pitchers in the game for a while. ''I don't know, for some reason I get good swings and good pitches to hit.''
He wasn't alone on Friday. Ryan Braun doubled twice and knocked in two. All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy had a pair of hits as well, including a bases-clearing double that clinched the win in the sixth.
Meanwhile, starter Willy Peralta pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball to pick up win No. 13 and help Milwaukee even the season series at five.
VOGELSONG PROVIDES A LIFT: On the same day the San Francisco Giants received disappointing news on the injury status of Matt Cain, another veteran, 37-year-old Ryan Vogelsong, stepped up and pitched a complete game two-hitter in San Francisco's 5-1 victory against the New York Mets. The complete game was the second of Vogelsong's 10-year career. Of course, it's worth noting the other complete game was of the six inning variety in a rain-shortened game in 2011.
Friday's outing was on a different level entirely. Vogelsong faced 28 batters, just one over the limit, and carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. Juan Lagares broke it up with a single leading off, but was quickly erased on a double play. Lucas Duda ended the shutout with a home run leading off the eighth, but even still Vogelsong was determined to finally finish what he started.
''I just kind of didn't answer them (speaking most notably of manager Bruce Bochy) because I didn't want to come out,'' said Vogelsong. ''It was something I wanted to do.''
And he did so impressively and efficiently, needing only 102 pitches. The game itself was completed in two hours and six minutes.
A'S BLANKED BY ROYALS: The A's were clear winners at the trade deadline despite moving Yoenis Cespedes, but the offense definitely lacked punch on Friday, losing 1-0 to the Kansas City Royals.
The only tally of the game was provided by 42-year-old Raul Ibanez, who connected for a home run off Sonny Gray in the fifth inning. Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie kept the zero in Oakland's scoring column for six innings. He struck out six and allowed three hits. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland each pitched a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts to finish the shutout.
The win was Kansas City's first in Oakland since April 10, 2012. And it was a big one knowing that they will be staring down Jon Lester and Scott Kazmir on Saturday and Sunday.
''There's no doubt about it, with the pitching matchups we're facing in this series, this was a huge win for us,'' manager Ned Yost said.
Don't worry, Ned. You're not the only manager dealing with this reality. Just wait until you get back in the Central and see Detroit again.
TOMMY MEDICA'S FIVE-HIT GAME PACES PADRES: The San Diego Padres limped into the All-Star break with the worst offense in baseball. In the 14 games since, they've been among the best, scoring a total of 71 runs.That includes the damage they did in their 10-1 win over the Braves on Friday night.
Rookie Tommy Medica led the charge in San Diego's season best 20-hit attack by going 5 for 5. That included a pair of two-run homers, to go along with four runs scored and a career-high four RBIs. Everth Cabrera added four hits, which equaled the Braves total for the game. Starter Eric Stults allowed two of those hits and walked four over 6 1/3 innings.
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