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Neither Jesus Aguilar nor Bud Norris wanted to let their team down.
Aguilar succeeded twice.
Aguilar homered to break up rookie Jack Flaherty’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning Authentic Customized Steelers Jerseys , then homered again in the ninth to lift the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 on Friday night.
Both teams got just three hits. The benches and bullpens briefly cleared in the eighth after Eric Sogard slid into St. Louis shortstop Yairo Munoz, who caught a wide throw on a bunt play in the eighth.
Norris (3-2) started the ninth for the Cardinals by striking out Travis Shaw. But, Aguilar followed with an opposite-field drive to right for his 16th home run.
”Don’t get a strikeout. Don’t get a strikeout,” Aguilar said about digging in against Norris. ”That’s why I was kind of overaggressive, I think. I got lucky to hit that pitch.”
Norris, speaking in front of his locker in the subdued Cardinals clubhouse, owned up to the mistake.
”I yanked one pitch, and he hit it,” Norris said. ”That’s the game.”
It was another tough loss for the Cardinals, who have lost nine of the last 12.
”Watching them walk us off, that’s hard,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”Jack did everything he could possibly do.”
Corey Knebel (1-0) pitched the ninth for the NL Central leaders.
With one out in the seventh, Aguilar drove an 83 mph slider from Flaherty into the Brewers’ bullpen in left, where reliever Jeremy Jeffress caught the ball on the fly. A woman who was knitting – it appeared to be crochet, actually – in the front row behind home plate barely flinched as Aguilar connected.
”He got that ball almost off the ground,” catcher Yadier Molina said. ”We’ve got to give him some credit.”
Aguilar tipped his cap to Flaherty.
”He was dominating the strike zone tonight, and I think we got lucky,” he said. ”We tied the game in the moment. It’s a new game, and we’re moving forward, thinking we’re going to win this game.”
Flaherty matched a career high by striking out 13 in seven innings, allowing just one hit. The Cardinals played stellar defense behind him after giving up six unearned runs with a season-high four errors in Thursday’s 11-3 loss to Milwaukee. Munoz robbed Jonathan Villar of a base hit in the fifth with a nice running backhand stab of a liner tailing away from him.
”That was unbelievable,” Molina said of Flaherty’s performance. ”Good pitching, good effort. Everything was working for him. We didn’t hit enough to get him the win tonight.”
Matt Carpenter walked, advanced on a sacrifice by Harrison Bader and scored on Marcell Ozuna’s liner up the middle in the third.
Brewers starter Junior Guerra allowed one run and three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in five-plus innings.
Cardinals: INF Paul DeJong (left hand fracture) took batting practice and is anxious to return. ”It looked like he didn’t miss a beat, but we’re going to have to slow down and make sure we’re following the program Authentic Customized 49ers Jerseys ,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun missed his second consecutive game after receiving a cryotherapy injection in his troublesome right thumb Wednesday in Los Angeles. … LHP Wade Miley (right oblique strain) made a rehab start for Double-A Biloxi. He went two innings and allowed a run on three hits and struck out three.
Each team struck out 15 times and each one seemed to bring consternation with plate umpire Tim Timmons.
”When the pitchers keep putting the balls on the corners, there’s going to be some disagreements,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”There were a lot of balls put on corners tonight.”
Tommy Pham, batting second, was ejected by Timmons after Pham took a called third strike in the first. He continued to bark about it from the dugout before being tossed for the first time in his career. Bader replaced Pham in center field.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (7-2, 2.69 ERA) makes his third start against the Brewers this season. He won 8-4 in his Cardinals debut on April 2.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (5-6, 4.54 ERA) makes his second start this season against the Cardinals. He is 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 career outings, including a no-decision April 3 at Miller Park.
Jacksonville linebacker Myles Jack put his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart as it sank in for him that the Jaguars had fallen just short – just like the Falcons and the Seahawks and the Rams and so many other Patriots opponents had before.
”Close, man. We were almost there,” he said after New England came back to beat Jacksonville 24-20 on Sunday for the franchise’s 10th AFC championship.
”On the one hand, we could have won the game. But on the other, Tom Brady is Tom Brady,” Jack said. ”We got Tom Bradyed again.”
Entering the game as a 9+-point underdog, the Jaguars opened a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champions. No team had ever rallied from a double-digit, fourth quarter in the AFC title game.
But then, no team has Bill Belichick on the sideline, Brady lining up behind the center and a resume full of big-game comebacks going back to their first Super Bowl win 16 years ago.
”That’s what those guys do, and they do it very well,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. ”And that’s why they’re moving on.”
Blake Bortles completed 23 of 36 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown, Leonard Fournette ran for 76 yards and a touchdown and Allen Hurns had six catches for 80 yards for Jacksonville (12-7).
Bortles, who had never won a playoff game before this month, had outplayed Brady through three quarters, with a quarterback rating of 121.9 to the five-time NFL champion’s 87.5.
But Bortles said he didn’t allow himself to start thinking about making it to the Super Bowl.
”I don’t think you can, especially when playing Tom Brady and the Patriots,” he said. ”Because they’re going to score. They’re going to find a way to put pressure on you.”
Jacksonville took a 20-10 lead on Josh Lambo’s field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter. Jack then forced the only turnover of the game – ripping the ball from Dion Lewis’ hands after a 20-yard reception that would have put the Patriots at the Jaguars 33.
Jacksonville went three-and-out Authentic Customized Seahawks Jerseys , but then Marcell Dareus sacked Brady. On third-and-18 from the New England 25, Brady hit Danny Amendola for 21 yards. On the next play, Brady handed off to James White, who pitched it back to the quarterback, and he lofted a pass over Jack to seldom-used receiver Phillip Dorsett for 31 yards and his only catch of the game.
Three plays later, Amendola scampered into the end zone on the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdown catches that sent New England to its eighth Super Bowl since Brady and Belichick teamed up in Foxborough.
”We were getting three-and-outs, three-and-outs, three-and-outs. And then they just found it,” Jack said. ”They don’t stop playing until the game is over.”
Jacksonville punted on its next two possessions, and Amendola returned the second for 20 yards to give New England the ball at the Jaguars 30-yard line, down 20-17, with just under five minutes remaining. Brady completed two passes to get the ball inside the 10, scrambled for 2 more and then found Amendola at the back of the end zone for the game-winner.
”Man, it hurts. It stings a lot,” said defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who sought out Brady on the field after the game to congratulate him. ”He’s the best player to ever play the game. I’ve got so must respect for him … I wanted to make sure he knew it.”
For the Jaguars, who went 3-13 last season, the trip to the conference title game was a stepping stone that few expected when the season started.
”We had a two-minute drive at the end of the game to win the AFC championship, so there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for than that,” said Bortles, who had never won a postseason game before this month.
”It’s been an awesome season. I think it’s been a lot of fun despite what happened today,” he said. ”It’s tough to try to enjoy it right now, but I’m sure that at some point we’ll be able to reflect and think about all the good things that happened.”