MILWAUKEE (AP) — Keon Broxton did a little bit of everything for the Brewers on Thursday.
Broxton drove in the go-ahead run and saved a run with a leaping catch, Matt Garza made a strong start in his return from the disabled list, and Milwaukee beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1.
Broxton, who robbed Jose Martinez of a homer in the second when he stretched his glove atop the center field wall, gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead with a single in the fifth off reliever Brett Cecil (1-4).
“It was awesome to be able to come out today and do something good for the team,” Broxton said. “I’m just trying to make plays. That’s my job. It’s huge for my confidence, it’s huge for the team’s confidence. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Garza (5-5), making his first start since July 21 because of a right leg strain, gave up one earned run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings to give second-place Milwaukee its first home series win over St. Louis since July 2012. The Brewers, trying to stay close to first-place Chicago in the NL Central, won for just the fifth time in their last 17 games.
Kolten Wong missed a tying home run by a few feet when his drive to right-center bounced off the wall in the eighth. He was stranded at second when Anthony Swarzak retired Tommy Pham on a groundout and Matt Carpenter on a flyout.
Corey Knebel worked the ninth and struck out Greg Garcia with runners on first and second to earn his 20th save in 25 opportunities.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha allowed one run on five hits in four innings. With the game tied at 1 in the fifth and runners on first and third, manager Mike Matheny pulled Wacha for pinch-hitter Luke Voit, who hit into an inning-ending double play.
“We have to take a shot, especially when you can see we weren’t getting many opportunities up until that point,” Matheny said. “He was averaging 20 pitches per inning, so he was only going one more inning. We had guys like Cecil that needed to pitch.”
Wacha’s only blemish was Jesus Aguilar’s homer to left in the third. Aguilar’s drive was his 11th this season, and he homered in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Cecil retired the first two batters in the fifth but then gave up three consecutive singles. Broxton’s hit drove in Travis Shaw, who went 2-for-4 after getting just two hits in his previous 19 at-bats.
Garza retired 12 of his first 13 batters to improve to 2-0 against St. Louis this season.
“I thought Matt was very efficient through four innings,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
Domingo Santana inadvertently hit Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in the back of the head with his bat on a strikeout in the seventh. Earlier in the game, a foul tip by Santana bounced off Molina’s chest and lower face mask, leaving him in pain.
Eric Thames batted leadoff for Milwaukee, the first time he’s occupied that spot in the lineup since he was with Toronto in 2011. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts as the Brewers’ seventh leadoff hitter this year.
“I thought about Thames a bunch in the leadoff spot,” Counsell said. “It just hadn’t happened yet.”
Cardinals: Mike Leake (7-9, 3:29) opens up a three-game set Friday at Cincinnati. He is 0-4 against his former team.
Brewers: Milwaukee will call up RHP Brandon Woodruff from Triple-A Colorado Springs for Friday’s opener of a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Cardinals: Carpenter returned to the lineup after he was scratched Wednesday with hip discomfort. He was 0 for 4.
Brewers: C Jett Bandy left the game late and X-rays revealed he has a fractured rib from getting hit by a pitch earlier this week. Counsell said he will go on the disabled list.
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