(Friday, April 6th)
Final Score: St. Louis 11, Milwaukee 5
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday hit back-to- back solo home runs in the third inning and World Series hero David Freese followed with a two-run shot two batters later to help the Cardinals defeat the Brewers, 11-5, on Friday.
"We know we can score runs. We got results today," said Beltran.
Yadier Molina began the home run spurt with a solo knock in the second, while Beltran finished 2-for-4 and Freese batted in three runs in the win for the defending champions.
Jaime Garcia picked up the win (1-0) by tossing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits and two walks.
Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo (0-1) was tagged for six runs on seven hits, including all four Cardinal homers, and five walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
"I don't know why [Gallardo] was out-of-sync. Once in a while he gets out of his delivery and his rhythm isn't there," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "We saw in spring training where he would have it for an inning, then he would be off for awhile, but then he would get it back. Today he didn't have any innings where he was on."
Ryan Braun, last season's National League MVP, went 0-for-5 in his first game since being suspended for, and successfully appealing, a violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy.
He was greeted by a long standing ovation and chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the home crowd before lining out in the first.
Brewers backup catcher George Kottaras hit the first pinch-hit home run of his major-league career, a three-run blast in the bottom of the ninth.
"It was a special moment. My heart was racing. I thought, 'Wow,'" said Kottaras.
Milwaukee opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning as Carlos Gomez plated Rickie Weeks with a triple and Aramis Ramirez added an RBI groundout to knock in Gomez.
But the Brewers were then held scoreless until Kottaras' bomb in the ninth.
"Jaime found his groove. Things certainly could have gone a lot differently after the first inning," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Molina answered in the next half-inning with an opposite-field home run on the first pitch offered by Gallardo.
The Cardinals' big third-inning began when Beltran took Gallardo deep to right-center on a 3-0 count. Then Holiday belted one to left-center on the righty's next pitch.
Gallardo next walked Lance Berkman, who trotted home when Freese launched a 1-1 fastball into Miller Park's second deck.
St. Louis tacked on a run with two outs in each of the fourth, sixth, and seventh innings, and posted three runs in the top of the ninth to seal the victory.
Freese singled in Rafael Furcal in the fourth, Berkman scored Beltran on a double in the sixth, and Shane Robinson's infield single knocked in Jon Jay to make it 8-2 in the seventh.
Matt Carpenter's pinch-hit double in the ninth brought home Molina and Daniel Delscalso before Furcal plated him with his own double.
Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki, who played six seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, made his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. He struck out against Garcia...Cardinals outfielder Erik Komatsu got his first major-league hit with an infield single in the ninth.
04/06 20:14:48 ET