MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich hit his fourth homer in the first inning and a two-run double in the ninth, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a dramatic 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Ben Gamel led off the ninth with a pinch-hit double and advanced on Lorenzo Cain’s infield single off reliever Jordan Hicks’ glove. Yelich then hit a liner into the gap in left-center, driving in Gamel and Cain.
Yelich tossed his helmet in the air in celebration as Cain slid face first across the plate, giving Milwaukee three wins its opening four-game set against rival St. Louis. Yelich’s teammates rushed the field and doused the reigning NL MVP with Gatorade in a raucous celebration at second.
Yelich began his day with a long drive into the second deck in right against Michael Wacha, tying the major league record for homers in consecutive games to start a season. He also became the first player to win the MVP award and then homer in his first four games of the next season.
Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong homered for St. Louis, but Hicks (0-1) blew his first save opportunity of the season. Wacha struck out seven while pitching six innings of one-run ball.
The Cardinals got a scare in the ninth when Kolten Wong dove to steal second and got hit right below the left ear by Yasmani Grandal’s throw. Second baseman Mike Moustakas quickly signaled to the Cardinals’ dugout for help. Wong eventually got up and remained in the game.
Milwaukee right-hander Corbin Burnes struck out 12 in five innings in his first major league start. But Burnes was hurt by the long ball.
DeJong connected for a two-run drive in the fourth, and Carpenter and Goldschmidt added consecutive homers in the fifth. Goldschmidt also went deep three times Friday night.
The Brewers got two back in the seventh. With two out and a runner on first, left-hander Andrew Miller came in to face Yelich and walked him. Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw then hit RBI singles before Miller struck out Jesus Aguilar swinging to end the threat.
Jacob Barnes (1-0) worked the ninth for the win.
Jose Martinez started in right for St. Louis. He replaced Dexter Fowler, who is 1 for 9 through the opening series.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with Dexter’s start. A day game after a night game, we get (Martinez) in there,” manager Mike Shildt said. “Obviously, he can do damage as well.”
Brewers: RHP Jeremy Jeffress (right shoulder weakness) pitched an inning in Arizona on Saturday and is scheduled to go again on Tuesday. If the rehab goes as planned, he’ll pitch at Triple-A San Antonio on Friday. “We’re ready to get him into games,” manager Craig Counsell said.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright makes his first start of the season at Pittsburgh on Monday. His 13 career wins over the Pirates trails only Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants (20).
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies makes his first start in Cincinnati on Monday. He’s looking to bounce back after he was hampered by injuries last season.