Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Three

NLCS Game 3 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals


11:20pm: Thanks for hanging out. Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET.

11:19pm: McGehee also chases a high fastball from Mote. Game over.

11:18pm: The Brewers will pinch-hit for Lucroy with Casey McGehee.

11:16pm: Betancourt chases high heat. Two down.

11:14pm: Hairston grounds out to shortstop. One down.

11:11pm: Furcal strikes out. The Brewers will send Hairston, Betancourt and Lucroy to the plate in the top of the ninth inning, down one run. The Cardinals can take a 2-1 NLCS lead if Motte closes it out.

11:07pm: Punto strikes out to open the frame, then Fielder makes a nice play on a tough hop to retire Descalso. The Cardinals are back to the top of their order, but they have two outs here in the eighth.

11:03pm: Motte strikes out Weeks, hitting 99 mph with his out-pitch. To the bottom of the eighth…

11:00pm: The Cardinals bring in closer Jason Motte for a four-out save.

10:57pm: Rzep fans Fielder. TBS’ Ron Darling calls his last slider the “biggest pitch Marc has ever thrown.”

10:54pm: Freese has been replaced by the more defensively adept Daniel Descalso.

10:53pm: Lynn stays in the game and retires Braun on a groundout to second base. The Cardinals will bring in left-hander Marc Rzepczynski to face Fielder, then probably a right-hander to face Weeks.

10:49pm: Freese grounds into an inning-ending double play. The Cards hold a mere one-run lead and the Brewers have Braun, Fielder and Weeks set to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Huge inning for Milwaukee.

10:46pm: Molina flies out to right field. Freese, who is 3-for-3, steps to the dish.

10:44pm: The Brewers bring in Takashi Saito, who plunks Berkman with his first delivery.

10:39pm: Hart also flies out to center, then Kotsay flies to right. Lynn sets ’em down in the top of the seventh.

10:35pm: Morgan flies out to center field. More boos from the St. Louis faithful.

10:33pm: Lance Lynn enters and will face pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan. Big boos from the crowd.

10:30pm: Holliday strikes out again with two batters on. He’s 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored so far in this NLCS Game 3. The Cardinals still lead the Brewers 4-3 as the top of the seventh inning arrives.

10:26pm: Pujols is intentionally walked. The pressure is on Holliday yet again.

10:24pm: Jay flies out to left field. Pujols steps in with a man on second base.

10:20pm: Furcal bunts Craig over to second base. Jay and Pujols are coming up.

10:18pm: Allen “Wrench” Craig singles to left field as a pinch-hitter to open the frame.

10:17pm: Gallardo is also finished after five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked five, but the Cardinals were only able to score those four first-inning runs. The right-hander tossed 95 pitches (48 strikes). The Brewers’ first reliever of the night will be veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins.

10:14pm: Salas quickly retires all three batters in the top of the sixth. To the bottom half we go.

10:12pm: The Redbirds’ first reliever is Fernando Salas.

10:10pm: Carpenter is done for the night. He allowed six hits and three earned runs over five innings, issuing three walks against three strikeouts. Carp threw 89 pitches, 48 of which went for strikes.

10:08pm: Gallardo strikes out Punto. Let’s head to the sixth.

10:04pm: Berkman pops up on a first-pitch swing to open the bottom of the fifth, then Molina is retired on a fly ball in foul territory. But Freese stays hot with his third hit of the night, a single to right field.

9:59pm: Carp fans Weeks to escape the danger. To the bottom of the fifth we go.

9:55pm: Fielder is issued an intentional pass after Carpenter falls to a 3-0 count.

9:53pm: Light rain has begun falling at Busch Stadium.

9:51pm: Braun flies out to the right-field warning track, but Kotsay tags and advances to second base.

9:50pm: Hart strikes out, Kotsay walks. The Brewers have a runner on with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:44pm: Holliday chases high heat and strikes out. Gallardo escapes a big jam. The Cardinals lead 4-3 as we head to the top of the fifth inning. Carpenter is at 67 pitches and Gallardo is up to 82.

9:42pm: Pujols advances to second base on a ball in the dirt.

9:40pm: Gallardo intentionally walks Pujols, bringing up Holliday with runners at first and third.

9:39pm: Jay swings on the first pitch and grounds into a double play. Ugly at-bat.

9:38pm: Furcal walks. Gallardo has now thrown 71 pitches, just 35 for strikes.

9:35pm: Carpenter leads off the bottom of the fourth inning with a hot shot to shortstop, where Betancourt couldn’t make a play. The Cardinals now have the top of their batting order coming up.

9:31pm: Gallardo grounds out to end the top of the fourth.

9:29pm: Punto snags a hard-hit line drive from Lucroy for the second out of the fourth inning. Betancourt was almost doubled up at first base, but Pujols couldn’t keep his back leg on the bag.

9:26pm: Holliday makes a sliding catch on a Hairston pop-up for the first out of the fourth inning, then Betancourt reaches when Freese can’t complete a diving stop at the hot corner. One on, one out.

9:21pm: Punto grounds out to second to end the threat. This NLCS Game 3 heads to the fourth inning. The Cardinals still lead 4-3, but Gallardo appears to be settling in faster than Carpenter.

9:18pm: Berkman grounds out to second base to open the bottom of the third, then Molina flies out to center field. But Freese keeps the inning alive with a ground-rule double over the head of Braun.

9:12pm: Weeks grounds out to end the top of the third. The Cardinals will bat with a one-run lead.

9:11pm: Furcal turns an impressive double play on Fielder, who broke his bat on contact.

9:10pm: Braun bloops a broken-bat single to right. He’s 5-for-9 in this series and 14-for-27 this postseason.

9:08pm: Kotsay, who made two bad mistakes in the first inning, just sent a no-doubt home run into the right field bullpen at Busch Stadium. The Brewers are down only one run with Braun and Fielder coming up.

9:07pm: Pitch counts through two innings: Carpenter 45, Gallardo 47.

9:05pm: Holliday grounds out to short. The Cards still lead 4-2 as we move to the third inning.

9:03pm: Albert advances to second base on a wild pitch by Gallardo. Holliday is at the plate.

9:01pm: Pujols remains ridiculously hot, punching a single through the right side of the infield.

8:59pm: Furcal and Jay are both retired on groundouts. Two quick outs for Gallardo.

8:55pm: Hart strikes out looking to end the frame, but the Brewers are back in this. Carpenter is suddenly up to 45 pitches and is leaving balls up in the zone. We head to the bottom of the second.

8:52pm: Gallardo scores Hairston with a sacrifice fly. Two outs. Cardinals 4, Brewers 2.

8:51pm: Lucroy flies out to right field. Brewers have runners at first and third, one out.

8:47pm: Betancourt adds another single, scoring Weeks from second base. Cardinals 4, Brewers 1.

8:46pm: Hairston also singles to right. The Brewers have life again here in the second inning.

8:43pm: Weeks laces an inning-opening line drive to right field. Up comes Hairston.

8:40pm: Carpenter grounds out to end the frame. Gallardo threw 33 pitches, 16 for strikes.

8:38pm: Punto is given an intentional walk after the count climbs to 3-0. Carpenter is now batting.

8:36pm: Freese launches a ball to deep right field that gets over the glove of Hart. Holliday scores, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead in the first inning. The Brewers seem a bit shell-shocked at the moment.

8:35pm: Molina grounds into a double play, but another run crosses the plate. Cards lead 3-0.

8:32pm: Berkman draws another walk. The bases are loaded, no outs. Molina is coming up.

8:28pm: Holliday draws a walk. There are still no outs. Gallardo looks to be in serious trouble.

8:26pm: Pujols golfs a ball to the base of the left-center field wall, scoring Jay. Cardinals lead 2-0.

8:23pm: Furcal advances to second base on a ball in the dirt, then scores when Kotsay can’t come up with a diving catch in center field. Jay is awarded a double and an RBI. He’s at second base.

8:20pm: Furcal leads off the Cardinals’ half of the inning with a single up the middle.

8:16pm: Fielder flies out to center field, and Kotsay is caught creeping too far off the second base bag for a double play. That’s what we call a momentum-changer. To the bottom of the first inning…

8:14pm: Carpenter plunks Braun in the arm after beginning the at-bat with two consecutive strikes. Fielder is coming up, looking to do a little early damage with one out and two men on.

8:12pm: Kotsay draws a one-out walk.

8:09pm: Carpenter retires Hart to lead off the game after the at-bat goes to a 3-2 count. We’re expecting a pitcher’s duel, but expecting anything in baseball’s postseason is often foolish.


The sky has looked threatening all day long in the St. Louis area, but the city has avoided rain drops thus far and this NLCS Game 3 is going to start on time. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

We’ll be live-blogging the action all night, even if play needs to be stopped for thunderstorms (or squirrels). It’s Brewers vs. Cardinals. The seven-game series is tied 1-1. Here are your starting lineups:

1. Corey Hart, RF            1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Mark Kotsay, CF           2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF            3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B        4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Rickie Weeks, 2B          5. Lance Berkman, RF
6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B    6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS   7. David Freese, 3B
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C        8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Yovani Gallardo, RHP      9. Chris Carpenter, RHP

Updates will read bottom-to-top. Consider the comments an open thread. Let’s have some fun.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.