Randy Wolf has pitched well all year, but his record just doesn't show it.
He’s been the victim of five road shutouts and poor run support all year long. But when you can throw eight one-run innings, you’re in pretty good shape to get the win.
That was the case Wednesday night in St. Louis. Wolf (9-8) only gave up one first-inning run to the Cardinals, as the offense supported him with five runs–much more than he would need. The Brewers’ starter’s command was impeccable throughout the night, walking none despite only striking out one batter.
Prince Fielder put the Brewers on the board with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, before his counterpart Albert Pujols tied the game in the same manner. Fielder then added an RBI double to give the Brewers a cushion that Wolf would not relinquish. With the game still in reach for the Cardinals, Corey Hart added a two-run single in the ninth off Mitchell Boggs to open it up.
As for the Brewers road woes? They are now one win away from a perfect 6-0 road trip to Houston and St. Louis, both places where the team has struggled historically.
“I think we carried over what we were doing at home and I’m hoping that this is the point where it doesn’t really matter to them whether we’re at home or road, they know we can win at both places,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “That’s important for them to feel that way.”
In Wolf’s 13 road starts in 2011 he has a 3.43 era and a 1.25 WHIP, yet a losing record of 4-6, obvious indicators that the offense has struggled in his starts. This was not the case Wednesday night, as the Brewers southpaw relied on his defense to easily get him through eight innings on only 92 pitches.
The Cardinals were without Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday. Berkman sat out the night due to lifetime 3-30 hitting versus Wolf, and Holliday was out after injuring his back while lifting weights.
By the end of the night, St. Louis was without their manager Tony LaRussa, who was ejected in the top of the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Josh Wilson was called safe on a bunt at first. First base umpire Greg Gibson believed Pujols never touched first, despite replays showing that his toe may have scraped the bag.
In LaRussa-esque fashion, he called it a “very undeserved ejection." Tony’s never wrong, I guess.
With the win, Milwaukee clinched the road series victory and extended its division lead to five games. By the end of the series it will either be four or six games, depending on Thursday’s outcome.
Curt runs a Brewers blog called Plushdamentals. Click here for more Brewers coverage.