Suter goes 7, Brewers beat error-prone Cardinals 11-3
Brent Suter turned a quick mistake into a big win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The left-hander pitched seven strong innings, Manny Pina homered and the Milwaukee Brewers capitalized on a season-high four errors by St. Louis in an 11-3 victory Thursday night.
Suter (8-4) retired 12 straight after Matt Carpenter homered on the first pitch of the game.
"Not that I just laid it in there, but it kind of fired me up," Suter said. "It was like, OK, they're coming out swinging. I have to locate better and come out with that much more conviction on my early pitches."
That he did.
Suter went a career-high seven innings for the second time this season and third overall. He limited the Cardinals to two runs and two hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
"I was able to get some early outs and keep them off the bases," he said.
Suter is 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA in his last seven starts and made an impression on his manager by commanding his curveball and changeup.
"To me, this little run he's on, his off-speed pitches have been well-located," Milwaukee skipper Craig Counsell said.
The Brewers regained the lead in NL Central, one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs.
Carlos Martinez (3-4) struggled in his fourth start since returning from the disabled list (right lat strain). He allowed seven runs - five earned - on eight hits in four innings with two walks, three strikeouts and two wild pitches. The right-hander is 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA since being activated on June 4.
Milwaukee went ahead 2-1 in the first and never looked back.
Left fielder Marcell Ozuna tracked Jesus Aguilar's towering fly and climbed the wall in anticipation of making a home run-saving catch. The ball hit the padding behind and below Ozuna and bounced away as two runs scored for Milwaukee.
Fielding and throwing errors in the third helped the Brewers tack on two unearned runs.
Lorenzo Cain reached on Carpenter's fielding error at third base and scored on Travis Shaw's double. Shaw advanced on a wild pitch and then raced home when Martinez lost the grip on the ball as he threw toward the plate and it squirted toward the third base line.
The Brewers broke it open in the fourth on a home run by Pina, a run-scoring single by Cain and a sacrifice fly by Shaw.
Milwaukee added three unearned runs in the seventh aided by a fielding and throwing error by second baseman Jedd Gyorko.
The four Cardinals errors surprised Suter.
"They definitely had some uncharacteristic mistakes," he said. "We had a lot of baserunners there. So, maybe keeping the pressure on them led to that. They don't do that very often, and they probably won't the rest of the series."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny addressed the miscues.
"Mistakes are mistakes," he said. "Guys prepare. They compete. They don't give up. Mistakes are going to happen. Do we settle for them? Do we try to fix them? We don't settle. We try to fix. That's all."
Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Yairo Munoz in the fifth. Munoz had a run-scoring base hit in the ninth.
Carpenter hit the first pitch from Suter for his 17th leadoff home run and second of the season.
Cardinals: RHP John Gant was recalled from Triple-A Memphis for the third time this season. He allowed three hits and four unearned runs with two strikeouts over two innings.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun, who is batting .236 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs, had a cryotherapy injection in his troublesome right thumb Wednesday in Los Angeles. It's the first time this season and fifth overall that he's undergone the procedure to freeze the nerve. He did not play.
Cain came out in the top of the fifth with a right hamstring cramp. He hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth before exiting in what the team called a precautionary move. Counsell said Cain will be in the lineup Friday.
The Cardinals placed right-hander Michael Wacha on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. Wacha (8-2), who has a 3.20 ERA and leads the team in wins and strikeouts (71) in 15 starts, left Wednesday's outing against Philadelphia with the injury. Matheny said an MRI confirmed the strain and it was too early to tell how long Wacha will be out. "It'll be a couple of weeks, at least," Matheny said. "We don't have a clear time. They're still doing testing."
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.66 ERA) makes his third career start against the Brewers and second at Miller Park, where he made his major league debut on April 3, striking out nine in a 5-4 loss. He was optioned to the minors the next day to make roster room for RHP Adam Wainwright.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (3-5, 2.89) makes his 14th start of the season and third against the Cardinals. He is 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts vs. St. Louis, including 1-0 in two starts this season.