Mon. Final: MIL 1, STL 0, 10 innings
By Todd Welter
Next game: Tuesday, May 26th vs. St. Louis
It is not the swing that Bill Hall has been struggling with during a 1-for-28 slump. It has been the confidence battle in his head that has been the issue. Nothing can boost one's confidence like driving in the game-winning run as the Brewers squeaked out a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
"It is all about getting rid of the negative thoughts as fast possible," Hall said. "That is one of the things I am working on. Obviously, the swing is the swing and I got some things to work on there too. If you feel confident in yourself, you definitely have a better chance of getting hit. Today I had the most confidence I had in a really long time."
In a game where both teams combined for five hits total, Hall would probably be the least likely candidate to drive in the only run of the game. Hall did not even get the start today as he had to sit on the bench until the eighth inning. He has always had a knack for rising to the occasion and he did just that in the 10th inning with a game-winning RBI single to right-center.
This was quite the pitchers duel as neither team scored a run in regulation. The team that commits the least amount of defensive mistakes usually ends up winning the duel. Luckily for the Brewers, the Cardinals defense committed the errors and at the worst possible time for St. Louis.
The Brewers' part of the 10th started off with Casey McGehee reaching first on a one-out error by third baseman Brian Barden. Prince Fielder reached on an intentional walk. The inning could have been over when Mike Cameron hit a bouncer to pitcher Kyle McClellan but the ball ricocheted off his glove, bounced to shortstop Brendan Ryan who had just enough time to get Fielder out at second but had no time to get Cameron out at first.
Still, Hall's heroics was no sure thing as Hall had to face a righty. Hall was hitting .167 against right-handed pitching coming into the game. He worked a 2-1 count and then ripped a slider to right-center and the Brewers snapped a three-game losing streak. Maybe that will be the hit that gets Hall out of this May funk.
"Hopefully this will be a start to get him going," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "I got my fingers crossed."
The Brewers (27-18) broke a first place N.L. Central tie with the Cardinals (26-19) and have now won four in a row over their rival from Missouri.
It certainly was a grind but you can excuse the Brewers' bats for looking like they were sleep walking through most of the game. One reason was because the team arrived in Milwaukee in the wee hours of Memorial Day after a night game on Sunday vs. Minnesota. The other reason was Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter looked the guy who won the 2005. N.L. Cy Young.
Carpenter's career has been slowed by injuries since winning the 2005 N.L. Cy Young but on this Memorial Day, he looked like his 2005 form as he had complete control of his pitches. Carpenter walked none as the Brewers' bats could barely touch his stuff as he allowed no runs, gave up just two hits and struck out a season-high ten hitters. Carpenter had a perfect game going through six innings when Craig Counsell broke up that notion with a seventh-inning, lead-off single.
"Hats off to Carpenter," Hall said. "He has battled a lot of injuries and had some tough comebacks. He is a former Cy Young winner so we know he had great stuff and it showed today."
Carpenter has not given up a run in the 23 innings he has pitched so far this season.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo was not so bad himself as he had a no-hitter going through five innings until Brendan Ryan smacked a bouncer to short and beat out Counsell's throw to first.
"I felt very relaxed up there," Gallardo said. "I was able to pitch the way I pitch. It all came down to fastball command."
Besides that hit, Gallardo did not make many mistakes through his eight innings of work. Gallardo allowed no runs, gave up just two hits, struck out six and walked four. Despite the dominant performances from both starters, each had to settle for a no decision.
Carlos Villanueva (2-3) took the win for pitching a clean 10th inning. McClellan (2-2) took the loss.