Brewers beat Cards in opener of key series

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[September 25, 2018]  Eric Thames scored the tiebreaking run on an error by losing pitcher Bud Norris in the eighth inning Monday night as the Milwaukee Brewers outlasted the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 in a potential National League wild-card game preview.

By winning the opener of a three-game series, the wild-card-leading Brewers (90-67) reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three and moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

The Cardinals (87-70) hold just a half-game lead for the second wild card over the Rockies (86-70). Colorado beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-1 earlier Monday night.

The Brewers went ahead in their first half-inning following a 31-minute rain delay. With one out in the eighth, Thames, pinch-hitting for winning pitcher Corbin Burnes, tripled to right field off Norris (3-6).

Mike Moustakas was intentionally walked, after which Norris got ahead of Erik Kratz 0-1. Norris then threw to first to try and pick off Moustakas, but the throw bounced off Moustakas and sailed behind the bag as Thames raced home from third without a throw.

The Brewers added an insurance run in the ninth, when Lorenzo Cain led off with a single and scored on Christian Yelich's double.

Burnes (7-0), the seventh of nine Brewers pitchers, allowed one hit over two-thirds of an inning. Corey Knebel, pitching the ninth inning in a save situation for the first time since July 27, earned his 16th save by striking out three.

Norris allowed a run on two hits.

Ryan Braun homered in the second inning for the Brewers, and Matt Carpenter laced an RBI double in the third for the Cardinals before the teams traded blows in a wild sixth inning.

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Cardinals right fielder Jose Martinez (38) reacts as umpire Lance Barksdale (23) calls him out on strikes to end the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Braun (bases-loaded walk) and Moustakas (sacrifice fly) each collected RBIs before the Cardinals scored three runs off All-Star Josh Hader in the bottom half, when Jose Martinez hit a solo homer and Marcell Ozuna blasted a two-run shot. It was only the second time this season Hader has allowed more than two runs in an outing.

The Brewers tied the game on Yelich's grounder to short in the seventh. Keon Broxton scored from third as the Cardinals couldn't pull off the inning-ending double play.

Cain had three hits for the Brewers while Martinez finished with two hits for the Cardinals.

Milwaukee's Dan Jennings made his first big league start and exited after retiring leadoff batter Carpenter. Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty allowed three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings.

--Field Level Media

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