ST. LOUIS -- For the second consecutive evening, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals battled deep into the night, needing extra innings for one to prevail.
And, for the second consecutive game, the short-handed Brewers showed they wanted it more.
After failing to get down two bunt attempts, first baseman Lyle Overbay snapped a tie with a run-scoring single in the 11th inning Tuesday night to send the Brewers to a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Brewers, who won in 12 innings on Monday, became the first team in the majors to get to 20 victories. And they got there with a familiar formula: solid starting pitching, some timely hits, and stellar work from the bullpen.
Never mind that with Ryan Braun, Jean Segura and Aramis Ramirez injured, the Brewers played the game with only two healthy players on the bench.
"We're thinking about being short on the bench and the bullpen being worked a lot," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "You get wins like this and it's worth it."
Once again, it was up to veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez to record the last three outs. And, once again, he came through, converting his 13th save, a club record for one month.
Not only has Rodriguez been perfect in converting saves, he has not yielded a single run.
"It's pretty incredible," said Roenicke.
Once again, leftfielder Khris Davis put behind him a poor night at the plate with a big hit in extra innings, leading off the 11th with a double. After fouling off two bunt attempts against tough lefty Kevin Siegrist, Overbay bounced his single up the middle past diving second baseman Mark Ellis.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has enjoyed overwhelming success against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse in the past and that trend quickly continued. With two down in the first inning, Molina hammered a three-run homer to left-center for a big, 3-0 lead.
Molina was 9 for 16 (.563) with two home runs against Lohse entering that at-bat and first base was open at the time. But rather than intentionally walk Molina in the first inning, he put a 1-1 sinker in the wrong place and it got whacked.
St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, who shut out the Brewers over seven innings in a 4-0 victory in Milwaukee on April 14, took the 3-0 lead into the fourth inning, where he found all sorts of trouble.
It started with an infield hit by Scooter Gennett, who moved up on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Davis' grounder to second. Overbay then extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single to right.
After Mark Reynolds drew a walk, Jeff Bianchi bounced into a force at second. Lynn pitched around No. 8 hitter Martin Maldonado to load the bases but was foiled when Lohse battled through a seven-pitch at-bat that ended with a two-run single to left to tie the game, his first hit of the season.
Another wild pitch moved runners to second and third before Carlos Gomez let Lynn off the hook by striking out on a high fastball. But at that point Lynn was doomed to a short night by already getting to the 90-pitch mark. He would depart after the fifth.
Lefty Tyler Lyons took over for the Cardinals in the sixth inning and retired the first five batters he faced. That string ended in dramatic fashion when Gomez lined a changeup over the leftfield wall for his sixth home run to put the Brewers on top, 4-3.
The lead didn't last long. Will Smith took over in the bottom of the inning for Lohse and walked pinch-hitter Peter Bourjos, batting .160. Matt Carpenter bounced into a fielder's choice, but Allen Craig sliced an opposite-field triple into the right field corner, past the diving Elian Herrera, to produce the first run allowed by Smith this season.
The ball slipped out of Herrera's hand and he threw it directly into the ground but Craig was held at third, and Smith opted to intentionally walk Matt Holliday. That ploy worked when Smith struck out Matt Adams and Molina to keep the game knotted at 4-4.
"We had a little hiccup but, you know something, Smith made some great pitches to keep them from scoring two runs," said Roenicke. "So I liked that. And the other guys were great again."
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