Weaver gave up two runs and five hits and struck out four in
throwing six strong innings in the Cardinals' 12-2 victory over the
Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
He also drove in a run with a double in the sixth, an inning
before the Cardinals scored six runs.
"He inspired our guys, and they just kept cranking and
cranking, and then we broke it open," La Russa said. "I think our
club followed his example. The key to our game was Jeff Weaver."
The Cardinals reduced their magic number for clinching the NL
Central for a third straight season to six.
Isringhausen, who has 33 saves, will have arthroscopic surgery
on his arthritic left hip on Sept. 21. Isringhausen, who has 10
blown saves this season, has not pitched since Sept. 6, and did not
make the trip to Milwaukee.
"He's the anchor of that bullpen out there, and it's an
unfortunate situation, but we are blessed with a lot of good arms
out there," Weaver (7-14) said.
The 34-year-old Isringhausen, the Cardinals' all-time saves
leader, will begin physical therapy within several days of the
surgery, but the team said no timetable has been set for his
return. Right-handers Braden Looper and Adam Wainright are expected
to handle the closer duties.
"Everybody is pitching well, and finally we got some runs early
in the ballgame," Belliard said.
Ben Sheets (5-7) gave up four runs and 10 hits in six innings
for Milwaukee, which has lost 18 of 24 games. Sheets fell to 4-13
in his career against St. Louis, his most losses against any
The 10 hits allowed matched a season high for Sheets, who struck
out eight and walked one.
"It was a struggle," Sheets said. "It definitely wasn't good.
One thing I'm happy with, I think I kept some crooked numbers off
the board each inning. But it definitely wasn't one of my better
The big crooked number came in the seventh, when, one night
after stranding 10 runners and going 1-for-12 with runners in
scoring position, the Cardinals sent 11 batters to the plate.
They scored six runs on four singles, three walks and an error.
Five runs were off former Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow, who
lasted just 1-3 of an inning. His ERA jumped to 6.71.
"We just fell apart," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "It
exploded on us in the seventh inning. We haven't been blown out in
a lot of games this year. But the dam broke in the seventh and we
couldn't contain it."
Weaver, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on July 6, improved
to 4-4 as a Cardinal. He walked none.
Miles, filling in for the injured shortstop David Eckstein, also
impressed La Russa.
"That's why we're still in first place," he said. "You lose a
guy like David Eckstein, and that's huge for our ball club, and
we're still there because a guy like Aaron Miles comes in and plays
like David Eckstein."
Bill Hall hit his 32nd home run for Milwaukee, which has
averaged just 3.4 runs in its last 24 games. Hall then left the
game in the seventh with back spasms after diving trying to snare a
bloop single. Hall was listed as day-to-day.
Belliard's homer was his second since being acquired from
the Cleveland Indians on July 30. "I don't know," he said.
"Sometimes you get lucky. I am not a power hitter, and he gave me
a fastball and I put a good swing on it." ... The Brewers have
surpassed their final attendance from 2005 (2, 211, 023) with five
home games left. Attendance stands at 2, 213, 848, third-most in club
history. ... Brewers OF Geoff Jenkins singled in the second for his
19th hit in 38 September at-bats. He had two hits.