MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt was hoping to swing for baseball history when Brewers manager Craig Counsell took the bat out of his hands.
Though he felt for the boo-bird Cardinal fans behind the visiting dugout, the move wasn’t much of a surprise to Goldschmidt.
“We’re still in a tight game there,” the six-time All-Star said. “They’re going to do what they think is best.”
Goldschmidt hit three home runs and then was intentionally walked in the ninth inning, leaving him one shy of the big league record in St. Louis’ 9-5 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night.
Counsell signaled for the free pass with one out and a runner on second, his team trailing by four runs. Cardinals fans in enemy territory cheered as Goldschmidt approached the plate, and booed even louder when Counsell sent Goldschmidt to first.
“Trying to win the game,” Counsell said. “There’s a base open. It’s the logical thing to do.”
Goldschmidt thought it was a practical decision.
“You understand the situation,” Goldschmidt said. “You understand what (the fans) were thinking, but you also understand that we’re out there trying to win. That’s the number one thing. Not anything individual or personal.”
Just 18 players have hit four homers in a game, including J.D. Martinez and Scooter Gennett in 2017.
Goldschmidt had four hits and drove in five in his second game with St. Louis. He was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in his debut Thursday after an offseason trade from Arizona. Set to test free agency after this season, Goldschmidt instead signed a $130 million deal to stay with St. Louis through 2024 last weekend.
Goldschmidt crushed a fastball from Freddy Peralta in the first inning for a two-run shot. He hit a solo drive off Taylor Williams (0-1) in the sixth, then another two-run homer against Jacob Barnes in the seventh.
“When those guys are locked in, the mistakes are likely to get hard,” Counsell said.
It was Goldschmidt’s second career three-homer game and his first since tallying a career-best six RBIs against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 3, 2017.
Goldschmidt also flashed some nifty glove work at first base. He snared Yasmani Grandal’s one-out hot shot down the line, threw to second for an out and caught the return throw to end the sixth.
Matt Carpenter had two hits for St. Louis. His 1,000th career hit drove in a run in the seventh.
NL MVP Christian Yelich homered for Milwaukee for the second straight day, spoiling lefty reliever Andrew Miller’s first outing with St. Louis. Ryan Braun had a three-run homer for Milwaukee.
John Gant (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Goldschmidt is the first player to record a multihomer game in his first two contests as a Cardinal since Buddy Bradford in 1975 at Philadelphia, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Cardinals: INF Jedd Gyorko (right calf sprain) is expected to join the team in Pittsburgh on Monday and come off the 10-day injured list for the home opener April 4.
Brewers: RHP Corey Knebel, shut down during spring training with a right ulnar collateral ligament injury, chose to have season-ending Tommy John surgery instead of trying to rehab the elbow. … RHP Jeremy Jeffress, who is on the 10-day IL with right shoulder weakness, is scheduled to throw in Arizona before advancing to Triple-A San Antonio. … CF Lorenzo Cain jammed his thumb attempted to steal second base in the fifth. He was examined by a trainer but remained in the game. Counsell said that Cain’s thumb was fine.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson makes his first start and fourth career appearance against the Brewers. Last season, he was 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 26 appearances.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff makes his first career start and third appearance against the Cardinals. He had six stints with Milwaukee in 2018 and finished 3-0 with a 3.61 ERA and one save in 19 games, four of them starts.
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