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Christian Yelich homers, Milwaukee Brewers beat St. Louis Cardinals in key doubleheader opener

Members of the Milwaukee Brewers including Luis Urias (2) and Christian Yelich, second from left, celebrate a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader Friday in St. Louis. (AP photo)

ST. LOUIS — Christian Yelich homered, Brent Suter combined with Devin Williams and Josh Hader on a five-hitter and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 in the opener of a doubleheader Friday.

Both teams are among the eight NL clubs still vying for four available postseason spots. Milwaukee pulled within a game of St. Louis, which started the day in second place in the NL Central. The top two teams in each division advance to the playoffs.

The Brewers and Cardinals are also in contention for the two NL wild cards up for grabs as they finish the season with this five-game series.

Yelich’s 12th home run of the season in the third gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead. It came three pitches after Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty (4-3) crumpled to the ground during his delivery of an 0-2 pitch.

Flaherty sat for about a minute, sometimes grimacing in pain, before resuming.

He lasted five innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He also struck out five and walked four.

Suter pitched two-hit ball over four innings, Williams (2-0) solidified his Rookie of the Year resume with two tidy innings and Hader came on for his 12th save in 14 tries.

The left-handed Suter struck out four and walked one in his longest outing of the year. He hasn’t lost a decision since returning from Tommy John surgery in September of 2019, going 7-0 in that span.

It’s the second consecutive game the Brewers have gotten to Flaherty. He gave up nine runs and eight hits over three innings in an 18-3 loss Sept. 15 at Milwaukee.

The Brewers scored twice in the second. Eric Sogard’s single scored Daniel Vogelbach, and Keston Hiura came in on Orlando Arcia’s groundout to third.

“I started off well, good first inning,” Flaherty said. “Then Vogelbach walks, it’s just not a good start to the inning.”

Milwaukee also pulled off three double plays and St. Louis didn’t get a runner get past first until Paul Goldschmidt doubled to lead off the seventh.

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