MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun walked away in the eighth and walked off in the ninth.
Braun and Christian Yelich hit consecutive homers off Dominic Leone with two out in the ninth, sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Leone (0-1) retired the first two batters, but then lost Yelich on a 2-2 pitch before Braun whacked the next one for his fourth career game-ending homer.
“As a player and a competitor, those are the moments that we live for,” Braun said. “You hope to be given an opportunity to do something to impact the game there in the ninth inning.”
Braun almost missed out on that chance. He jawed with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg for a bit after a called third strike in the eighth, but he returned to the dugout in time to avoid the ejection.
“I was lucky I didn’t get thrown out in the eighth,” Braun said. “I wasn’t too excited about that strike call. So, luckily I didn’t say too much and I was able to stay in the game and have an opportunity to come through.”
Dan Jennings (1-0) picked up the victory with a perfect ninth.
Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham opened the game with consecutive homers for St. Louis, and Marcell Ozuna made it 4-0 with a two-run shot in the third. Jack Flaherty struck out a career-high nine while pitching five innings of one-run ball, but the Cardinals’ bullpen lost the lead.
“It was just one of those games that got away,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I know it’s not going to happen very often with this group.”
According to MLB.com, it was the first game in major league history to begin and end with consecutive home runs.
Yelich started Milwaukee’s rally with a two-out RBI single off the glove of shortstop Paul DeJong in the fifth. The Brewers pulled within one on RBI singles for Travis Shaw and Jonathan Villar in the eighth.
Fowler, mired in a 1-for-18 stretch, drove the first pitch from Chase Anderson into the Cardinals’ bullpen for his 24th career leadoff home run. Pham looked at one pitch and then lined the next one over the wall in deep right-center.
Anderson was charged with four runs and eight hits in four innings.
Cardinals: 3B Jedd Gyorko (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and OF Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Gyorko left Monday night’s game before the Brewers batted in the bottom of the seventh. … RHP Adam Wainwright (left hamstring strain), who is eligible to off the disabled list Thursday, worked out again before the game. Matheny was non-committal about a timeline for the return of the 36-year-old right-hander.
Brewers: C Stephen Vogt took batting practice, but still has a little way to go before he’ll be able to join the team, manager Craig Counsell said. Vogt began the season on the disabled list because of a right shoulder strain suffered early in spring training.
FOWLER, PHAM, OZUNA GO DEEP
Fowler has nine career homers against Milwaukee, his second-most against any opponent. Pham has six career home runs against the Brewers, all at Miller Park. Ozuna collected his 10th home run, a 479-foot blast, at Miller Park, his most in any ballpark other than Marlins Park.
NICE START, BUT NO GUARANTEE
Flaherty kept the Brewers guessing with a two-seam and four-seam fastball and a nasty slider in his sixth career start in seven appearances. He was recalled March 28 from Triple-A Memphis when Wainwright was placed on the DL.
Matheny liked Flaherty’s performance, but was undecided whether he would get another start. Wainwright could come off the DL soon and join the rotation.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (0-1, 8.31 ERA) makes his second start of the season. He is 5-4 with a 2.18 ERA in 23 career games against the Brewers, including 12 starts.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-0, 10.80 ERA) makes his second start of the season. A free-agent signee, he is 0-5 with a 6.10 ERA in six career games against the Cardinals.