ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Prince Fielder waited a long time for this one -- 54 at-bats, in fact.
After leading the NL with 50 home runs last year, Fielder connected for his first of 2008, a two-run drive in the 10th inning that led the Milwaukee Brewers over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3.When he reached the dugout and saw his smiling teammates, Fielder bounced around and exchanged high-fives."I was trying to act tough, but I couldn't hold it," Fielder said. "It was like a Little Leaguer. I was jumping up and down like a little kid."Manager Ned Yost pointed out that after 15 games last year, Fielder also had one homer. The young star hit 13 in May."You've got to understand how long the season is, and you've got to understand players getting in sync," Yost said. "He hits them in bunches."Fielder had tied the score with a bloop RBI double that capped a three-run, eighth-inning rally against Kyle Lohse and two relievers. He had been in a 3-for-30 slump that dropped his average to .241."You've always got to promise yourself you're going to be as positive as you can, no matter what," Fielder said. "It was actually getting easier, to tell you the truth, the worse I was doing. I just kind of realized that whatever's going to happen is going to happen."Milwaukee trailed 3-0 and was in danger of getting swept in the three-game series before the comeback against Lohse, who extended his scoreless streak at home to 19 innings.The Brewers, who had three hits through the first seven innings, tied it when pinch-hitter Hernan Iribarren chased Lohse with a double for his first career RBI, Ryan Braun hit a sacrifice fly off Ryan Franklin and Fielder had an opposite-field double against Randy Flores on a ball that barely eluded Skip Schumaker's attempt for a diving catch.Lohse, who threw 93 pitches, said he wasn't tired in the eighth."I know a guy's coming in pinch-hitting, probably looking for a fastball up and over the plate, and that's where I put it," Lohse said. "But I felt just as strong as I did in the first."Braun, batting .228 coming in, beat out an infield hit starting the 10th against Brad Thompson (1-1), who made his second relief appearance after two starts. Fielder homered to right on a 1-2 hanging breaking ball."That's a left-handed hitter's dream pitch right there," Thompson said.Braun knew it was gone."As soon as he hit, a big weight lifted off his shoulders, and a big weight lifted off our shoulders as a team," Braun said.
What a Prince
Prince Fielder's game-winning two-run shot in the 10th inning of the Brewers' 5-3 win vs. the Cards came in his 15th game, breaking the MLB record for the most games a player needed to hit his first homer the year after hitting 50-plus.
Pinch-hitter Chris Duncan grounded out with two on against Brian Shouse (1-0) for the last out in the ninth. Eric Gagne got into trouble in the 10th when Ryan Ludwick doubled off a high changeup leading off and Yadier Molina walked, but he got his fourth save in six chances when Aaron Miles flied out, Rico Washington struck out and Cesar Izturis fouled out."I got myself into a jam and I got out of it," Gagne said. "That's just a lot of positives."Ludwick was 4-for-5, his first career four-hit game, and homered in his fourth straight start for the Cardinals, who had won seven in a row at home.Lohse's two-run, bases-loaded single through a drawn-in infield gave St. Louis a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Cardinals pitchers have seven RBIs, including a homer by Adam Wainwright on Wednesday.
Brewers center fielder Gabe Kapler grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th, his first appearance after bruising his right shoulder when he hit the wall leaping for a fly ball in batting practice on Tuesday. Yost said Kapler was close to 100 percent. ... Shouse hasn't allowed any of his 11 inherited runners to score. He had been the lone lefty in the Milwaukee bullpen, but a second left-hander, Mitch Stetter, was recalled from Triple-A Nashville after the game. Iribarren was optioned to Nashville. ... Yost said outfielder Tony Gwynn (hamstring) will start a rehab assignment on Friday. ... Albert Pujols singled in the seventh and is 13-for-35 (.371) during a nine-game hitting streak.