Fielder’s first homer of year wins finale in St. Louis

Good things come to those who wait.
The first 7 innings of Thursday’s matinee in St. Louis was, in a nutshell, some very discouraging baseball for Brewers’ fans. Not only was Manny Parra unable to find the dish (43 balls versus 38 strikes over just 4 innings), but the bats were unable to find the ball, too. The Crew mustered only two base hits–both singles and both by #8 hitter Craig Counsell–over the first 7 innings.
Parra gave up 3 runs, all earned, in his four innings of work, starting with a solo shot by Ryan Ludwick to lead off the 2nd inning, then two more in the fourth inning. Parra finished the day with having given up 5 base on balls and 5 base hits to only 3 K’s, bringing his ERA for the season up to 5.40, and pretty much assuring that either he or Carlos Villanueva will be making their next start in Nashville.
The Brewers finally got to Cardinals’ starter Kyle Lohse in the 8th–first Counsell led off the inning with his third hit of the day, this time a double to right; Hernan Iribarren followed with a double to left to plate Counsell and cut the lead to 3-1; Ryan Franklin came in for Lohse and promptly plucked Rickie Weeks, and J.J. Hardy advanced both Iribarren and Weeks on a sac bunt. Ryan Braun followed with a sac fly to left, to plate Iribarren and cut the lead to 3-2; Cards’ skipper Tony La Russa went to bullpen star Randy Flores to face Prince Fielder, and Fielder delivered with the third double of the inning, which scored Weeks to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, it was Braun and Fielder delivering again–Braun beat out an infield hit to Cards’ shortstop Cesar Izturis, then Fielder took a 1-2 curveball from Brad Thompson deep into the right field bleachers for his first home run of 2008. Eric Gagne earned his 4th Save in the 10th to secure the 5-3 win.
Next up: three games in Cincy before facing the Cardinals again next week at Miller Park.