Yelich, Brewers dent Cards' playoff chances with 12-4 win
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Christian Yelich homered and drove in six runs, and the surging Milwaukee Brewers hurt St. Louis' playoff chances with a 12-4 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Ryan Braun went deep twice and Jesus Aguilar also connected as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games. Manny Pina had two hits and drove in a run, and pitcher Gio Gonzalez contributed an RBI single for just his fourth hit of the season.
The Brewers (91-67) moved four games ahead of St. Louis for the top wild card. Milwaukee began the day 1½ games back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, while the Cardinals (87-71) had a half-game lead over Colorado for the second NL wild card.
Following Wednesday's series finale, Milwaukee closes the regular season with a weekend set at home against lowly Detroit. St. Louis also is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the slumping Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Yadier Molina hit a three-run homer off Gonzalez for the Cardinals, who had won six of seven before their 6-4 loss to Milwaukee on Monday night. Marcell Ozuna went 3 for 3 with a walk.
St. Louis left the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings when Jedd Gyorko came up empty each time. Third baseman Mike Moustakas turned an inning-ending double play on Gyorko's chopper near the bag in the fifth, and Gyorko flied to right for the final out of the seventh.
Milwaukee scored each of its first six runs with two outs. Aguilar and Braun hit back-to-back homers in the first off rookie Austin Gomber (6-2), and Gonzalez chased the left-hander with his hit in the fourth.
The Brewers went on to load the bases against Tyson Ross, and Yelich's liner to right-center rolled all the way to the wall for a triple and a 6-0 lead. He also hit a three-run drive in the ninth.
Yelich is batting .346 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 22 games this month, bolstering his case for NL MVP. He has 33 homers, 104 RBIs, 110 runs and 181 hits on the year, all career highs.
Gonzalez lasted four innings. Taylor Williams (1-3), the third of seven Milwaukee pitchers, got three outs for the win. The Brewers used nine pitchers in their series-opening victory.
Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter and manager Mike Shildt were ejected in the seventh inning. Carpenter became upset with home plate umpire Will Little after he was called out on strikes.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said All-Star RHP Jeremy Jeffress (neck spasms) was feeling a lot better after he was unavailable for the series opener. Counsell said Jeffress was going to play catch before they made a decision on his status Tuesday night.
Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he left Friday's victory over San Francisco with cramps in both hamstrings. He struck out swinging as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of Monday's loss. "Obviously at this point of the season no one's 100 percent," he said. "For me as long as I know I can run and I can play I'm going to be out there."
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (14-8, 3.61 ERA) and Cardinals right-hander John Gant (7-6, 3.53 ERA) pitch Wednesday night in the series finale. Chacin is 0-3 with a 4.34 ERA in four September starts. Gant lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his last outing, yielding one run and four hits Friday against the Giants.