- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Ryan Braun showed the Milwaukee Brewers he’s ready to play again.

Braun felt good taking batting practice and lined out to right as a pinch hitter to end the seventh in Milwaukee’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Manager Craig Counsell said Braun, who has missed seven straight starts due to lower back tightness, could be in the lineup on Saturday.

“He felt great, so he’s ready to go,” Counsell said. “I think we’ll see how he feels tomorrow but there are still possibilities for starts, for sure.”

Khris Davis homered off Trevor Rosenthal leading off the ninth inning after Will Smith (7-2) got the Brewers out of danger in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez earned his 36th save in 38 chances.

“We’re still in here fighting,” Smith said. “We all know how good they are and how stacked they are.”

The loss cut the Cardinals’ NL Central lead to three games over Pittsburgh with eight games remaining.

“We’re playing spoiler right now and that means something every day,” Davis said. “Craig is a winner and that’s what he expects us to do.”

Rosenthal (2-3) was St. Louis’ eighth reliever after Carlos Martinez lasted just seven pitches before leaving with tightness in his pitching shoulder.

Davis’ 24th homer was just the second allowed by the St. Louis closer; the other was by Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang on May 3 in St. Louis. Davis was 1 for 5 with four strikeouts against Rosenthal before lining a 1-1 fastball into the right-field bullpen.

“I don’t know the numbers but I know he’s got great stuff,” Davis said. “I was just looking to get on base.”

Milwaukee has lost 12 of 17 against the Cardinals this season and 53 of the last 77 meetings.

Martinez got one out and faced two hitters before flinching after a called first strike to Adam Lind. The 24-year-old Martinez, who’s among the NL leaders in wins (14) and ERA (3.01) left the field with his glove covering his face and in apparent pain.

Jean Segura scored from second to tie it at 3 in the seventh when second baseman Greg Garcia couldn’t get the ball out of his glove on a two-out grounder by pinch-hitter Domingo Santana.

Jonathan Lucroy had a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth and Jordan Schafer doubled twice. Starter Ariel Pena allowed three runs in five innings.

The Cardinals got RBIs from Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty and Tony Cruz.


The attendance of 45,057 was the Cardinals’ 35th sellout with two dates remaining.


Cardinals rookie Tommy Pham, who entered with a major league-best .412 average including three homers since Sept. 15, struck out in all four at-bats. … Pinch-runner Peter Bourjos was caught stealing for eighth time in 13 attempts in the eighth.


Brewers: Lucroy, coming off a concussion, has a pinch-hit single the last two games and finished at first base.

Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright is scheduled for a second simulated game Saturday. The two-time 20-game winner is attempting to come back just five months after tearing his left Achilles.


Lefty Jaime Garcia (9-5, 2.45) is 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA in 10 starts since Aug. 1 and the Cardinals are 9-1. Tyler Wagner (0-0, 12.27) makes his second career start for the Brewers.

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