Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Four

NLCS Game 5 Live Blog: Brewers vs. Cardinals

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11:15: It’s all over, as Craig Counsell pops out to Daniel Descalso at third base for the final out of the ballgame. The Cardinals win 7-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. The series will resume Sunday in Milwaukee.

11:14: A little confusion in shallow left center, but Jon Jay catches a pop fly off the bat of Taylor Green for the second out.

11:12: “First ball swinging Yuni Betancourt” – Ah, everything is back to normal. Betancourt flies out to center field. One away.

11:07: Matt Holliday knocks in two runs with a double to left, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 7-1. They are three outs away from a 3-2 lead in the series.

11:02: Marco Estrada commits the Brewers’ fourth error of the game on a pickoff attempt at first base. Jon Jay ends up at second base on the errant throw.

10:58: Things are looking good for St. Louis at the moment, but this could potentially be Albert Pujols’ last home at-bat as a member of the Cardinals. Crowd gives him a nice hand.

10:52: Rickie Weeks grounds out to end the top of the eighth inning. Another scoring opportunity turned aside by the Cardinals’ bullpen.

10:48: Rzepczynski gets Fielder swinging for the second out. Huge out. Closer Jason Motte is coming in to face Rickie Weeks.

10:43: Braun grounds into a force out, as Rafael Furcal made an awkward play to cut down Hairston at second base. Marc Rzepczynski (no idea if I’m spelling that right) will come in to face Prince Fielder with runners at the corners.

10:40: Things are getting interesting here in the top of the eighth, as Lance Lynn walks Hairston. Runners on first and second with nobody out for Ryan Braun.

10:38: Corey Hart reaches with a leadoff single, his third hit of the night.

10:34: Lynn works the count full, but strikes out looking for the final out of the inning. It’s 5-1 Cardinals as we move to the top of the eighth inning.

10:31: After Kameron Loe induced a double play ground ball, he allowed a single to Yadier Molina and walked Nick Punto. Two away for Lance Lynn. Interesting that La Russa sticks with him as they have a chance to tack on some insurance runs, but everything he touches is turning to gold tonight.

10:23: Nyjer Morgan grounds into an inning-ending double play, much to the delight of the Busch Stadium faithful.

10:15: Chris Narveson, who replaced Greinke, just got Lance Berkman to ground out for the final out of the sixth. Didn’t see a replay, but it looked like Prince Fielder may have taken his foot off the first base bag before he caught the throw from Jerry Hairston, Jr. Anyway, it’s 5-1 Cardinals entering the seventh.

10:11: Pujols capitalizes on the error by Betancourt, delivering an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 5-1 lead. Greinke is done.

Greinke didn’t pitch well — in fact, he failed to strike out any of the 30 batters he faced tonight — but his defense didn’t do him any favors, either.

10:08: After a two-out double by Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt boots a ground ball for the Brewers’ third error of the game. Two on for Albert Pujols. Yeesh.

10:01: Octavio Dotel, who struck out Braun to end the fifth inning, retires the Brewers in order in the top of the sixth.

9:54: Greinke wiggles his way out of the bases loaded jam, getting Molina to fly out to center fielder Carlos Gomez for the final out of the inning. The score remains 4-1 in favor of the Cardinals as we move to the sixth.

9:51: Freese walks, loading the bases for Yadier Molina. Greinke is on the ropes here as pitching coach Rick Kranitz visits the mound and Kameron Loe gets loose in the bullpen.

9:48: Yuniesky Betancourt saves a run with a diving stop, but is unable to get Matt Holliday at first base. First and third with two out for David Freese.

9:43: Rickie Weeks is charged with an error after making a horrible throw on a ground ball off the bat off Albert Pujols, who advances to second base on the play.

9:38: La Russa does it again. Dotel gets Braun swinging to end the top of the fifth as the Cards keep the Brewers off the board.

9:32: Quick hook, as Garcia is done after 4 2/3 innings. Dotel will pitch against Braun. La Russa’d.

9:31: Hairston follows with a single to left. Two on and two out for Ryan Braun while Octavio Dotel throws in the bullpen for St. Louis.

9:29: Hart gets the Brewers on the board with an RBI single to left. It’s now 4-1 Cardinals.

9:25: Greinke bunts Jonathan Lucroy over to second base. Two away for Corey Hart.

9:19: Carlos Gomez saves a run with a diving catch in center field, robbing Rafael Furcal of a hit. It’s 4-0 Cardinals as we move to the fifth in St. Louis.

9:16: And it works out. Garcia hit a ground ball to Yuniesky Betancourt, but he had no shot to cut down David Freese at home plate. Garcia gives the Cardinals a 4-0 lead with the RBI groundout.

9:14: You don’t see this often. The eighth place hitter Nick Punto bunts the runners over for the pitcher Jaime Garcia. Interesting choice by Tony La Russa.

9:13: Yadier Molina dumps a single off Rickie Weeks’ glove in shallow center field. Runners on first and second with nobody out for Nick Punto.

9:11: David Freese just keeps hitting. After getting hit by a pitch in the bottom of the second inning, he just lined a single to right field to lead off the bottom of the fourth.

9:07: Garcia sits the Brewers down in order in the top of the fourth.

9:05: Big, orange and fall of hot air = Boog Sciambi. Burn, John Smoltz. Burn.

9:02: Greinke works around a walk to Albert Pujols to pitch a scoreless third. It’s 3-0 Cardinals as we move to the top of the fourth.

8:56: Rafael Betancourt follows Albert Pujols with a fine over the shoulder catch of his own. Of course he does.

8:54: Albert Pujols makes a fantastic over the shoulder grab on a foul ball along the first base line to end the threat. This guy is good at baseball.

8:52: Hairston strikes out swinging. Two away for Ryan Braun. Does he get anything to hit here?

8:50: Corey Hart singles, moving Greinke over to third base. Here comes Jerry Hairston Jr. with a chance to redeem himself.

8:47: Zack Greinke reaches with a one-out single. Didn’t see a beastmode this time.

8:43: Furcal grounds out for the final out of the bottom of the second inning, but the Cardinals put a three-spot on the board.

8:41: Oh boy. Garcia hits one right between the legs of Hairston, scoring two runs. It’s now 3-0 Cardinals. After the play, a frustrated Greinke threw the baseball into the ground and it came up and hit him in the neck. Garcia remained at first base, however.

8:40: Jerry Hairston Jr. just robbed Nick Putno of an RBI single with a diving stop at third base. Two away for Jamie Garcia.

8:37: Molina drives one just over the outstretched glove of Corey Hart for an RBI double. He narrowly missed a three-run homer. It’s now 1-0 Cards with runners on second and third for Nick Punto.

8:35: Greinke hits the hot-hitting David Freese. Runners on first and second with one out for Yadier Molina.

8:33: Berkman, who didn’t start Game 4, hits a leadoff single against Greinke in the bottom of the second inning. First hit of the night for the Cards.

8:28: Gomez was on the move and got picked off by Jamie Garcia to end the top of the second inning. He was 16-for-18 in stolen base attempts during the regular season.

8:25: Carlos Gomez, who is making the start in center field against the southpaw, dunks a two-out single into left field.

8:19: Albert Pujols hit a ground ball right up the middle, but the Brewers had him positioned perfectly. Zack Greinke retires the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the first.

8:16: Rafael Furcal lines out to Corey Hart in right field for the first out in the bottom of the first.

8:13: Garcia fans Prince Fielder for the final out in the top of the first inning, stranding Braun at second base.

8:10: Ryan Braun smacks a two-out double down the third base line. He is now batting .486 (17-for-35) during the postseason.

8:07: Garcia strikes out Hart swinging to get us started.

8:06: And we’re off! Jaime Garcia delivers a first-pitch strike to Corey Hart.

7:45 p.m. ET: The Brewers and Cardinals are all tied up at 2-2 going into Game 5 of the NLCS tonight at Busch Stadium. We’ll have it all covered in a live blog, beginning right around first-pitch at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Here are tonight’s lineups, as mentioned by Aaron earlier this afternoon:

MILWAUKEE BREWERS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

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

SP Zack Greinke, RHP            SP Jaime Garcia, LHP

Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.