MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich got a big reward for a little extra early work.
Yelich hit three homers, including a pair of three-run shots, and drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Milwaukee Brewers past the St. Louis Cardinals 10-7 on Monday night.
"He put in some work today. He probably hit longer than he was anticipating, but it paid huge dividends," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Give the guy credit. He went and tried to fix himself. The great ones get answers quicker than everybody else, and he had a lot of answers tonight."
Yelich, the reigning NL MVP, hit his first three-run homer to cap a six-run second inning. After St. Louis tied it with three runs in the sixth, Yelich answered in the bottom half with a towering three-run blast to right off Mike Mayers (0-1).
Yelich capped off his night with his eighth homer this season, going deep to lead off the eighth. He also lined out in the first and was walked intentionally in the fourth.
Seven of his eight homers this season have come against the Cardinals.
"We have to find a solution and it starts with me figuring it out," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "Candidly, I've never seen anything like that in my life. We know he's a good player. I've managed against a lot of really good players who do it every night ... you have to tip your hat. It's unbelievable. It's almost like he's psychic."
On the Brewers' recent West Coast road trip, Yelich was 7 for 25 with no homers and two RBIs. His first home run snapped an 0-for-9 streak.
"It wasn't even about hitting homers, it was just about trying to swing at good pitches and hit the ball hard," Yelich said "I really think I got away from that over the last week or so. Just kind of expanding and pressing a little bit."
Junior Guerra (1-0) worked 1 2/3 innings for the victory. Josh Hader struck out the side in the ninth after allowing Marcell Ozuna's sixth home run to open the inning.
In the sixth, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out. Guerra entered, and his first pitch to Paul Goldschmidt sailed past catcher Yasmani Grandal for a run-scoring passed ball. Goldschmidt and Ozuna followed with RBI singles to tie it.
The Brewers erased a 2-0 deficit with six runs in the second off Dakota Hudson. Mike Moustakes opened with his sixth homer. Eric Thames, Ben Gamel, pitcher Freddy Peralta and Lorenzo Cain each singled to account for two runs. Yelich then lined a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-centre.
St. Louis made it 6-3 in the third on Yadier Molina's RBI double.
The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the first on consecutive one-out homers by Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong. Goldschmidt has hit five of his seven home runs this season at Miller Park, including a three-homer game on March 29.
Cain robbed Matt Carpenter of a two-run homer with a grab above the centre field wall to end the second inning.
Neither starter was effective. Peralta allowed three runs on four hits with three walks in 3 1/3 innings. Hudson was tagged for six runs on eight hits with three walks in 3 2/3.
Cardinals: OF Harrison Bader sat out a second consecutive game after tweaking his right hamstring Saturday against the Reds in Mexico. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday. ... RHP Carlos Martinez threw a bullpen session for just the second time since the first week of spring training when he was sidelined with shoulder weakness. ... CF Tyler O'Neill left in the third inning with right arm soreness. ... 3B Drew Robinson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis, and RHP Giovanny Gallegos was optioned to Memphis. RHP Luke Gregerson, dealing with a right shoulder impingement, was sent on a rehab assignment to Class A Palm Beach.
Brewers: RHP Jeremy Jeffress, who began the season on the injured list with a sore right shoulder, is scheduled to be activated Tuesday.
Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa left in the sixth inning after being struck directly in the mask with Guerra's first pitch. Third base umpire Jerry Meals moved behind the plate.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.93 ERA) looks to build on consecutive solid starts, having allowed one run in 11 innings in his previous two outings.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 6.00) makes his fourth start and second against the Cardinals.
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