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Date of game: 9/18/2014

Recap: St. Louis vs. Milwaukee

St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Tony Cruz singled in the game-winning run in the 13th inning as the St. Louis Cardinals dealt the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff hopes a painful blow with Thursday's 3-2 marathon victory.

St. Louis scored twice in the eighth to even things, and after the Brewers wasted several scoring chances in extras, Cruz came through to keep the Cardinals' lead in the NL Central at 2 1/2 games over the Pirates.

"We know what's at stake...so this is a huge team win," Cruz said.

Rookie Jimmy Nelson (2-8) was put in a tough spot in the 13th with the Brewers having already used six relievers. Matt Holliday led off the inning with a single before Matt Adams beat out a potential double-play ball.

Jhonny Peralta followed with a base hit under Aramis Ramirez's glove at third, and Cruz punched one through the middle to plate the slow-moving Adams and send what was left of the Busch Stadium crowd home happy.

The Brewers sit 3 1/2 games behind the Pirates in the wild card race heading into their crucial three-game series at Pittsburgh this weekend.

Sam Freeman (2-0) tossed a perfect 13th to pick up the win behind Shelby Miller, who allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits over six frames.

The Cardinals trailed 2-0 heading into the eighth and were glad to see Kyle Lohse given the hook with one out.

Lohse needed just 88 pitches to keep St. Louis scoreless to that point but was nevertheless pulled in favor of Jonathan Broxton with a runner on first.

Milwaukee failed to turn a potential inning-ending double play on A.J. Pierzynski's grounder to first, and Broxton walked Matt Carpenter before giving up a run-scoring single to Jon Jay.

With the help of a replay reversal, Holliday beat out an infield single to load the bases, and Adams took a payoff pitch off the plate to force in the tying run.

The Brewers stranded runners on the corners in the 10th, the bags full in the 11th and a runner on second in the 12th. They went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left a dozen on base.

"We have to win (Friday)," Lohse said. "We put ourselves in this situation and we have to get ourselves out."

Miller was lights out early, setting down the first 11 hitters he faced before Jonathan Lucroy lined his MLB-leading 52nd double down to the left-field wall with two outs in the fourth.

Lucroy, who is trying to became the first catcher in MLB history to lead the league in doubles, scored when Ramirez followed with a base hit.

With two outs and runners on the corners in the fifth, Scooter Gennett hit a chopper between first and second. Rather than letting the sure-handed Kolten Wong field it, Adams tried making a backhanded stab and instead knocked it into short right field.

Matt Clark scored on the miscue, which was originally ruled an error and later changed into an RBI single.

Game Notes

Lucroy has 45 doubles as a catcher, tying Ivan Rodriguez (1996) for the single-season MLB record ... Miller came in 5-0 with a 2.30 ERA against Milwaukee ... The Cardinals won the season series, 12-7 ... Game time: 4:26.

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