Brewers manager Ron Roenicke knows why it's so hard to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers lost their third straight to Cardinals when Jon Jay homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth and Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso each hit home runs to lead St. Louis to a 7-6 win over Milwaukee on Saturday.
"They're outplaying us. There's no doubt," Roenicke said. "Every personnel on their team when they put them in there they do a good job."
The Brewers finally scratched out some runs off Adam Wainwright who went 5 1-3, allowed 11 hits, the most since he gave up 11 on Opening Day at Arizona, and struck out five.
His first three pitches of the game hurt, especially the one that snapped his streak of not allowing a home run this season.
On a 1-0 pitch, Norichika Aoki' singled. Then first-pitch swinging Jean Segura hit his fourth home run of the season.
But the lead didn't last long as Jay's three-run homer in the second erased Milwaukee's 2-0 lead.
A fluke play figured in the set-up to the home run.
Craig singled and advanced on David Freese' hit up the middle which Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo deflected just enough to cause shortstop Segura to backtrack and then throw late to second for the force. Jay crushed a 2-0 pitch for his third of the season.
"If I catch it, it's an easy double play, or, if I just get out of the way, Segura is right behind me. Obviously, it doesn't help falling behind the next guy and then leave a pitch out over the zone to hit it for a home run."
After Jay's home run, Gallardo retired 13 of the next 14 batter, but then gave up Craig' homer into the Cardinals' bullpen in right-center field.
"They have a little bit of everything," Gallardo said. "They can hit for power, average. It just seems that they keep battling. They make you work. They make the pitchers work. You can only do it for a certain amount of time."
St. Louis manufactured a run in the ninth that game them their fifth win in a row, the series and a possible sweep on Sunday.
Shane Robinson, who came in as part of a double switch in the bottom of the eighth, singled to center and then took second on center fielder Carlos Gomez's fielding error off Jim Henderson (2-1) who started the ninth for Milwaukee with the game tied at 6. Robinson stole third and then scored when Jay singled up the middle, the last lead change in a back-and-forth game.
"When we go out there and we battle, we've got a pretty good offense," Jay said.
Jay hit a three-run home run in the second, Craig connected for a solo shot in the sixth and Descalso put the Cardinals ahead with a two-run homer in the seventh.
"That probably the first time that's happened," Jay said of the home runs from the three of them.
The Brewers trailed by one in the eighth when they got one-out singles that put runners on the corners. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in Randy Choate. Aoki dropped a perfect bunt down as pinch-runner Jeff Bianchi raced home and slide feet first, avoiding catcher Yadier Molina's tag. Seth Maness (1-0) came on and got the Cardinals out of the jam, getting Jean Segura to hit into a double play.
Matheny turned to Maness because of a thin bullpen, but also the Cardinals manager believed that he could do the job.
"He got the ball down and got the big double play in the eighth," Matheny said. "That was huge. We have a few of those guys that really don't fall into traps when the intensity gets higher. They just make their pitches."
Maness earned his first major league win. He made his major-league debut on Friday, throwing a perfect eighth inning.
"He's proving to be one of those guys," Matheny said of the relievers that can handle the pressure.
Edward Mujica pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Descalso hit his first homer of the season off reliever Tom Gorzelanny who came on for Gallardo. The Milwaukee right-hander looked liked he might pick up the win after Milwaukee went ahead 5-4 in the sixth.
"Gorzelanny's coming into the game," Roenicke said. "He's been pitching so well, getting all the left-handers out. Descalso gets a slider and puts one out over the fence."