ST. LOUIS (AP) — One St. Louis Cardinals pitcher reached a career milestone, while another added to his growing reputation as one of the league’s toughest relievers.
Adam Wainwright was warm enough on a cool day, allowing one run in six innings for his 150th career victory as Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
“It means something to me,” Wainwright said. “I’m proud to have been a Cardinal for the whole time of it, too, and I’m proud to win most of those with my brother (catcher) Yadier Molina and a lot of those in front of these great fans in St. Louis.”
Jordan Hicks preserved the win with a strikeout of last year’s MVP, Christian Yelich, who had most of the day off but still got a chance to rescue the Brewers. Yelich came up as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
Hicks, known for his 100-mph-plus fastball, only threw one heater out of his five pitches to Yelich, the only batter he faced. He got the strikeout on a 91-mph changeup, earning his seventh save in eight chances.
“I won’t tell you our scouting report, but obviously we’re facing a good hitter,” Molina said. “He’s hot and you’ve got to be smart in that situation.”
The Brewers loaded the bases with two out while trailing 5-1, but manager Craig Counsell elected to stick with Ben Gamel instead of going to Yelich sooner. Andrew Miller walked Gamel, setting up the Yelich-Hicks matchup.
“If you put him (Yelich) up in a tying situation, I felt like we were just counting on a home run there, and then Hicks has got some good matchups,” Counsell said. “So this way I thought that one of our other guys had to do the job, and Ben Gamel did the job, and I thought that gave us a real legitimate shot.”
Wainwright (2-2) matched his season low in runs allowed, and it was his first quality start in a game with a starting temperature of 60 degrees or cooler since May 27, 2017.
“Let’s just step back and appreciate what an accomplishment that is,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said of Wainwright’s 150th win. “You look at the Mount Rushmore of the pitchers in this organization, which is pretty impressive, he’s carving out a spot.”
Marcell Ozuna and Molina homered for the Cardinals as part of a four-run fourth. Ozuna’s three-run homer extended his on-base streak to 14 games, and it was his 17th career homer against the Brewers, the most he’s had against any opponent.
Molina’s blast extended his 12-game hitting streak, tying him with Paul DeJong for the longest by a Cardinal this season. Paul Goldschmidt got the rally started with a single, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
St. Louis’ three-game sweep of Milwaukee was its first against its NL Central rival since July 1-3, 2016. The teams have already played 10 times this season, and Wednesday’s result evened the season series at 5-5. They combined for 45 home runs in the 10 games.
Jhoulys Chacin (2-3) lasted four innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Zach Davies on April 13 was the last Brewers pitcher to turn in a quality start.
Brewers starters have gone 8-7 with a 5.84 ERA this season, and they are the only team in the NL whose starters average less than five innings per game. Help is coming soon, however, in the form of left-hander Gio González, who has agreed to a one-year contract with Milwaukee, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement had not been announced.
“He pitched good for us last year,” Chacin said of Gonzalez. “Wherever he can help us to get going, because I think outside of having to get going, we haven’t pitched deep in games. We haven’t put the team in a good position to win ballgames every day.”
Eric Thames homered in the first for Milwaukee. The team’s last 23 runs have come via the home run.
Before the game, the Cardinals activated OF Harrison Bader (right hamstring strain) from the 10-day injured list and optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to Triple-A Memphis.
Brewers: Yelich (rest) wasn’t in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
Cardinals: OF Tyler O’Neill (right elbow ulnar nerve sublaxion) went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game at Double-A Springfield on Tuesday night.