MILWAUKEE — Daniel Vogelbach is back.
Vogelbach actually returned from a long injury absence a few days ago, but he truly made his presence known Sunday afternoon, coming off the bench to deliver a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning that beat St. Louis, 6-5, at American Family Field.
The Brewers were trailing, 5-1, entering the ninth but rallied for five runs to win it. Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a double to right-center and scored on a single up the middle by Luke Maile.
After Luis Urías struck out, Jace Peterson yanked a double into the right-field corner to leave men on second and third. When Escobar drew a walk to load the bases, Giovanny Gallegos gave way to St. Louis closer Alex Reyes.
Vogelbach came up as a pinch-hitter and delivered his slam to right that sent the crowd into a frenzy and gave the Brewers the series, two games to one. It also extended their lead in the NL Central to 11 games over Cincinnati, a loser at home to Detroit.
With Willy Adames going on the 10-day injured list before the game with a quadriceps strain, banged-up Avisaíl García out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game with back and leg stiffness, Kolten Wong on paternity leave and Christian Yelich getting a day of rest, the Brewers sent a much different lineup out to play the Cardinals.
García and Yelich would come off the bench in the eighth inning during a key sequence in which a defensive gem seemed to have saved the game for St. Louis. It began with a one-out double by Eduardo Escobar off reliever Genesis Cabrera, followed by walks to García, who was pinch-hitting, and Lorenzo Cain.
Right-hander Giovanny Gallegos took over for the left-handed Cabrera even though a lefty-hitter, Rowdy Tellez, was due up. Gallegos got Tellez to go after a 3-2 breaking ball in the dirt to strike him out, prompting manager Craig Counsell to send Yelich to bat for Pablo Reyes.
Yelich sent a laser beam that appeared headed for the right-fielder corner and a three-run, extra-base hit, but St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt speared it with a leaping effort, turning cheers to groans among the 33,845 on hand.
Corbin Burnes started for the Brewers and battled his way through six innings, allowing three runs, all in the fourth inning with some defensive hiccups playing a role. Burnes allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Veteran lefty Jon Lester, a trade deadline pickup who has been a nice addition for the Cardinals, made pitches when he had to, limiting the Brewers to six hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings. It was his third consecutive start in which he allowed just one run.
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The Brewers got on the board first with one swing of the bat. With two down in the second, Reyes – getting the start at second in place of Wong – knocked a 1-1 changeup from Lester out to left for his first home run of the season.
Burnes pitched around a leadoff walk and pickoff error by Tellez in the second inning and stranded a runner at second in the third but the Cardinals broke through for three runs in the fourth. And the Brewers gave them plenty of assistance in doing so.
After Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neill singled with no outs, Burnes threw four straight balls to Yadier Molina, who was squaring around as if to bunt each time, loading the bases. Edmundo Sosa’s sacrifice fly to right tied the score and the other runners advanced on Bradley’s high, off-target throw toward the plate.
Harrison Bader followed with a slow chopper down the third-base line that Escobar barely touched with his glove, the ball rolling into foul territory beyond the bag as O’Neill and Molina both scored on what later was scored as a two-run double. Bader was called out at second on the play but that was overturned on video replay, leaving St. Louis with a 3-1 lead at the end of the inning.
The Brewers had a chance to answer in the bottom of the inning after Escobar led off with a single. Omar Narváez forced him at second and Cain flied out to right but Tellez doubled to left-center, putting two runners in scoring position.
After falling behind in the count, 3-0, to Reyes, Lester intentionally walked him to get to the slump-ridden Bradley. That moved paid off when Bradley grounded out to second base for the second consecutive at-bat.
Hunter Strickland took over for Burnes in the sixth and found trouble of his own making. A one-out walk and a pair of two-out walks loaded the bases before he retired Goldschmidt on a foul popup.
St. Louis padded its lead to 5-1 in the seventh at the expense of Jake Cousins. Dylan Carlson drew a leadoff walk and was on second base with one down when O’Neill belted a tape-measure homer to left that sailed through the panel opening and was estimated to carry 455 feet.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers win on Daniel Vogelbach’s walk-off grand slam vs. Cardinals
Source: Yahoo Sports