Justin Masterson’s debut Saturday night was anything but memorable. The 6’5 righthander went six innings in the Cardinals 9-7 victory versus the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up five earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out four. Masterson’s control had been his downfall in Cleveland and it wasn’t much better in his first game with St. Louis.
Luckily, the Cardinals’ offense woke up in a big way. Leading the way were rookies Kolten Wong, who homered in the first and added a two RBI single in the second, and Oscar Taveras, who added a bases loaded double that scored two in the fifth. The Cardinals-Brewers series have been high scoring affairs this season and the first two games of this three game set have been no different as the two teams have accounted for twenty-seven runs on forty hits.
Cardinal reliever Kevin Siegrist gave up two earned in an inning of work and continues to struggle to find the control and consistency that made him one of the best relievers in the game last season. Siegrist’s ERA jumped to 4.44 with the inning of work. The Cardinals were able to shut the Brewers down after the seventh with breakout all-star Pat Neshek throwing a hitless and scoreless eighth while striking out two and lowering his ERA to 0.88 on the season. After allowing a lead-off double in the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal recorded his 33rd save by striking out the final two batters.
The victory brought the Cardinals to two games back in the central and for the time being into a virtual tie for one of the two wild-card spots. Sunday’s series finale brings an opportunity to climb even closer in the Central and brings the debut of recently acquisition John Lackey. Lackey was strong in his final three starts for Boston, compiling a 2-1 record while giving up just four earned in twenty innings. If Lackey is able to continue the success he saw in Boston the central division race will come down to the wire.