MILWAUKEE (AP) — Casey McGehee homered in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-7 victory over St. Louis after the Cardinals rallied against closer Trevor Hoffman on Sunday night.
Hoffman was protecting a 7-4 lead with two outs in the top of the ninth when baseball's career saves leader unraveled for the second straight appearance. Albert Pujols hit his second two-run homer of the game to cut the lead to one, and Matt Holliday followed with a tying shot.
But McGehee connected off Kyle McClellan (0-1) with one out to give Hoffman (1-1) an unlikely victory and help the Brewers avoid a three-game sweep after they tagged Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter for three homers and seven runs.
Pujols struck late.
In the seventh, he sliced a drive inside the right-field foul pole with two outs to cut Milwaukee's lead to 7-4 and chase starter Randy Wolf, who pitched well in his second start since signing a $29.75 million, three-year contract.
Hoffman then again ran into trouble with two outs in the ninth after allowing Nick Stavinoha to hit the go-ahead homer in the same situation on Friday night.
This time, the 42-year-old right-hander allowed a one-out double to Felipe Lopez and got Stavinoha to pop up as a pinch hitter for the second out.
But Pujols hit a homer to left field that Ryan Braun could only watch for his first career hit against Hoffman. Holliday added one high off the batter's eye in center for the closer's second blown save in two appearances.
Hoffman's last four blown saves have all come against the Cardinals.
Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart and Braun homered for the Brewers, who finally figured out Carpenter only to watch a five-run lead evaporate.
Carpenter has allowed five homers in two starts this year after yielding seven all last season. Carpenter left his third pitch up in the zone for Weeks, who hit a line-drive homer into the Brewers' bullpen as Milwaukee scored first for the first time this season.
Hart homered in the second, Milwaukee scored two runs on two errors by Cardinals third baseman David Freese, and Braun hit a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Brewers a 7-2 lead.
NOTES: Cardinals CF Joe Mather made a spectacular diving catch in the third that saved two runs. ... Cameras caught Brewers 1B Prince Fielder smacking the dugout padding in frustration after striking out in the third. ... The visiting team had won the last nine games in this series. ... Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he sent Fred Couples a text message wishing him luck before Couples' final round at the Masters. ... Milwaukee gave CF Carlos Gomez a day off. Jim Edmonds started in his place.