- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - At least the Milwaukee Brewers showed some fight.

Stephen Piscotty’s second grand slam of the season propelled the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-8, rain-soaked, elongated victory Sunday and a weekend sweep, but the Brewers made the ending suspenseful.

“It was 8-2 and rain delays and everything, and we put the tying run 90 feet away and certainly had a chance to tie it up,” manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s an easy game to kind of stop, but they don’t make excuses for anything.”

Brandon Moss had a go-ahead double in a two-run fifth inning, and rookie Aledmys Diaz hit his 11th homer. The Cardinals lead the season series 7-2, with many of the games lopsided.

“I’m sure we’re not the only team that struggles against the Cardinals,” said Ryan Braun, who had a season-high four hits and made a nice catch at the left-field wall to rob Diaz of an extra-base hity. “They’re fundamentally sound. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t beat themselves.”

The Cardinals won the first two games of the series by a combined 10-1.

“We certainly haven’t done enough in all phases to beat them,” Counsell said. “Against any of these better teams, you’ve got to do a lot right and we’re just not doing enough against these guys.”

The series finale was looking like another comfortable victory for St. Louis, ahead by six in the sixth. The Brewers scored two in the seventh and four in the ninth to make it very interesting.

“It would have been an amazing win if we came all the way back,” Braun said. “But, obviously, it’s a good sign that we continue to fight and continue to battle to the end.”

The start was delayed by 1 hour, 20 minutes by rain, there was a 14-minute stoppage in the middle of the sixth and a third delay of 55 minutes in the top of the Brewers’ two-run seventh. Perhaps a few thousand of a crowd of 41,148 stuck it out for a game that lasted 3:48 and ended with puddles everywhere.

Piscotty is 5 for 9 with 13 RBIs with the bases loaded this season, including his first career slam on May 27 at Washington, and for his career he’s 8 for 15 with 18 RBIs. He connected on a full count against Blaine Boyer with two outs in the sixth for an 8-2 lead.

Michael Wacha (5-7) allowed two runs and nine hits and escaped his fifth and final inning when Aaron Hill grounded into a double play on a 3-1 count with the bases loaded. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a two-run double in a four-run ninth and the tying and go-ahead runs were on base when Seung Hwan Oh struck out pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado for his second save.

Chase Anderson (4-9) has lost three straight starts, allowing 15 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings and was pulled after his fifth walk, with one out in the fifth. Jacob Barnes gave up Moss’ RBI double for the lead and Jhonny Peralta’s sacrifice fly.

Ramon Flores’ two-run double put the Brewers ahead in the fourth.

Milwaukee is 13-26 on the road with one series win and four splits in 13 attempts, and finished the first half 35-46.

BREWERS MOVE

After the game OF Keon Broxton was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs and INF Will Middlebrooks’ contract was selected from Colorado Springs. LHP Chris Capuano was transferred to the 60-day disabled list from the 15-day DL.

SURPRISE STICK

Anderson, who entered a career .077 hitter, singled in the second.

ROSENTHAL’S WOES

Trevor Rosenthal, who lost his closer job about a week ago, faced four hitters in the seventh, retired none of them and was charged with two runs.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee is 9-2 in starts by Junior Guerra (5-1) entering an 11:05 a.m. matchup against Max Scherzer (9-5, 3.30) at Washington. The right-hander will be facing the Nationals for the first time.

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