MILWAUKEE – The St. Louis Cardinals nearly got the best of a Milwaukee Brewers closer for the second night in a row, coming up just short in an attempted rally against Francisco Rodriguez.
The Cardinals wound up losing 3-2, but Lance Berkman was more upset about the seventh inning.
With the Cardinals trying to put together a big inning, home plate umpire Brian Gorman ruled Berkman's attempt at a checked swing a strikeout — then threw Berkman out of the game after he argued the call. Berkman said he simply wanted Gorman to appeal.
"My biggest beef was you can't make that call (from home plate)," Berkman said. "They think they can, but he was having a hard time getting the strike zone right, much less seeing if anybody swung a bat or not. So my beef was, just appeal. I mean, we've got a guy standing down there. It's not tough to ask, you don't have to make that call."
The Cardinals' Matt Holliday left the game after getting hit in the leg with a pitch in the first inning. Manager Mike Matheny didn't know if Holliday would miss any time.
"He's been working with the trainers and they seem to think that he's come a long way since he left the game, so he's feeling a lot better," Matheny said.
Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (1-2) took the loss. Kelly went six innings, giving up three runs — two earned — with six hits, a walk and four strikeouts.
On Monday, the Cardinals rallied for three runs off Brewers closer John Axford for a 3-2 win. It was the continuation of a rough season for Axford, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before the game that Rodriguez was taking over as closer.
Tuesday's outing wasn't easy for Rodriguez, who gave up a leadoff double to David Freese, then a single to Yadier Molina to put runners on first and third with no outs.
Rodriguez then got Matt Carpenter to ground out, holding the runner at third, and struck out pinch hitter Skip Schumaker. With runners on second and third, Rodriguez got pinch hitter Daniel Descalso to pop up and end the game.
"We had the opportunities," Matheny said. "We were right where we wanted to be, got a couple big hits from David, then Yady, putting us in a good spot right there to make something happen. You don't get those very often, you've got to come through. Tough situation, tough pitcher. Last night, it happened and couldn't get it to work tonight."
Brewers starter Randy Wolf (3-6) went 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Wolf hasn't had a victory since April 30 at San Diego, but the Brewers' bullpen shares some of the blame for his winless streak. Coming into Tuesday's game, Wolf was 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA during his last 12 starts. During that stretch, he left seven games with the lead, only to have the bullpen blow it.
Holliday took an 89-mph fastball from Wolf off his left leg in the first inning. Holliday remained in the game but Matheny took him out in the bottom of the second.
With Milwaukee leading 3-2, Wolf then allowed back-to-back singles to start the seventh. After a lengthy meeting with Roenicke at the mound, Wolf stayed in the game, and Tyler Greene's sacrifice bunt advanced runners to second and third with one out.
Berkman pinch hit and Wolf ran the count to 3-2 before Berkman was called out on a checked swing. Berkman complained about the call and was thrown out of the game.
With two outs, Roenicke pulled Wolf for reliever Jose Veras — and took Braun out of the game, putting Nyjer Morgan in right field and switching Norichika Aoki from right to left.
Veras got Rafael Furcal to pop out to the catcher, ending the inning.
Notes: Under Major League Baseball rules, Holliday does not lose the 15-game hitting streak he brought into Tuesday's game. ... Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was removed with a right adductor strain in the seventh, but Braun said it wasn't serious. ... After a recent wave of temperatures in the high 90s, it was 85 degrees at first pitch.