8 - 7 Final/11
  for this game

Berkman lifts Cardinals over Brewers in extras

Aug 3, 2011 - 6:53 AM Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Lance Berkman drove in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning with a bloop single, lifting the Cardinals to a critical 8-7 victory over the Brewers.

Milwaukee won the opener of this three-game series on Monday to extend its winning streak to seven and expand its lead in the NL Central to 3 1/2 games, making Tuesday's contest a big one for St. Louis.

The Cardinals grabbed the victory thanks to a series of small plays. Matt Holliday reached on an infield single before stealing second with two outs. Facing the right-handed Marco Estrada (2-7), Berkman then worked the count full and swung at a low-and-outside pitch.

He sent a soft fly ball to shallow left field, where neither shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt nor Ryan Braun could make the catch. Holliday scored to break a 7-7 tie.

"That was one of the hardest-earned wins of the year," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It was a hell of a game. I think we needed it more than they did."

Octavio Dotel recorded the final two outs in the bottom half of the inning to record his first save with the Cardinals, who acquired him from Toronto last week.

Dotel replaced Kyle McClellan (8-6), who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to record the win in an arduous game for both teams.

The contest featured a three-run homer by Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, 22 runners left on base, multiple lead changes, a few big innings and heated moments -- including the ejection of St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina after he bumped and incidentally spit on the home plate umpire.

The Brewers held a 3-1 lead after two innings, thanks to a Braun groundout and Prince Fielder sacrifice fly in the first, and Corey Hart's RBI single in the second. Holliday began the top of the second with a homer to put St. Louis on the board.

The teams then swapped high-scoring innings.

The top of the fourth didn't begin with a bang -- Albert Pujols opened it with a single, moved to second on Holliday's walk and scored when Skip Schumaker reached on a fielder's choice with one away.

But the inning did end with one. After Daniel Descalso singled in Holliday, Garcia ripped a three-run blast to right field. The pitcher hit his first career homer on a full-count changeup that Shaun Marcum left over the plate, giving St. Louis a 6-3 edge.

"It definitely hurt us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We should have had them out three times."

The Brewers countered in the fifth. Jerry Hairston Jr. reached on a fielder's choice that erased Hart, who got on base thanks to an error by Schumaker.

Consecutive singles by Braun and Fielder brought home Hairston, and two batters later, Betancourt slugged a three-run homer. Garcia left a pitch up in the zone and Betancourt sent it over the wall in left-center for a 7-6 lead.

St. Louis tied the game in the seventh, when Takashi Saito took over for Marcum and immediately got himself into a jam. Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay singled before Saito hit Pujols in the left hand with a high pitch.

Pujols was in pain, and the scene was slightly reminiscent of the June 19 game when he suffered a fracture in his left wrist/forearm. However, he remained in Tuesday's game after a brief on-field examination.

The incident left the bases loaded with nobody out, but the Cardinals managed to plate just one run. Holliday grounded into a double play before Berkman grounded out.

The tension ratcheted up in the bottom of the seventh, which Jason Motte began by hitting Braun in the back. Braun appeared exasperated at the seeming retaliation for Pujols being hit, while Motte was immediately pulled.

The Brewers went on to load the bases with nobody out, but came up empty, while St. Louis left the bases loaded in the eighth.

Milwaukee had a chance to win the game in the ninth. With two outs, Betancourt singled and Jonathan Lucroy walked before pinch-hitter Felipe Lopez sent a fly ball to shallow left field. But shortstop Furcal raced back to make a game- saving catch and send the contest to extra innings.

Molina was called out on strikes to begin the 10th and likely earned a suspension for his reaction to home plate umpire Rob Drake's call. He went belly-to-belly with Drake, bumping into him several times while screaming and sending flecks of spit onto Drake's face.

"It was a bad call," Molina said. "He (Drake) was pushing at me. He said 'don't come back here.' And I said I have every right to. I would never spit in the face of another man. I thought he made contact with me first. This was a big win for us."

Game Notes

Garcia went five innings, allowing seven runs -- three earned -- on 10 hits, while striking out six...Marcum gave up six runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings...Descalso had three hits for St. Louis, while Casey McGehee led the Brewers with three...The Brewers' eight-game home winning streak was snapped, one shy of tying the franchise record.