ST. LOUIS — The Milwaukee Brewers’ NL Central lead is nearly gone after another terrible week on the road.
Ryan Ludwick’s bases-loaded walk broke an eighth-inning tie, Albert Pujols followed with a three-run double and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Brewers 9-5 Sunday.
On Saturday, the Cardinals came back from six down in a 7-6 victory in a doubleheader opener.
“Those are timely hits,” said Scott Rolen, whose 1,000th RBI came on a single that tied the score for the second straight day. “We haven’t had that, but we did the last couple of days.”
Milwaukee, which led the division by 81/2 games before play on June 24, is just a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs. It’s the Brewers’ smallest margin in the Central since before play on April 22.
The defending World Series Cardinals, who trailed by 101/2 games at the end of June, are just six games back despite a pitching staff devastated by injuries. St. Louis won three straight for the first time since June 3-6.
“It would have been very easy a whole bunch of times to say ‘This is not our year,’” manager Tony La Russa said. “We could have just disappeared. If we start doing the baseball things better, character-wise we’re in great shape and we can have some fun.”
St. Louis closed to 5-4 in a four-run fifth inning, then went ahead in a five-run eighth.