MILWAUKEE // Prince Fielder drove in the game-winning RBI in the eighth inning to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-4 victory over the St Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. The slugger reached on an infield single to score Craig Counsell and lift the Brewers (44-40) to within one game of the Cardinals (46-40) for the Central division lead.
"I have panic speed," said Fielder, known more for his power than his speed. "A hit is a hit, especially when it's an RBI to go ahead. I was just trying to put the ball in play." Milwaukee overcame a 4-1 deficit to get the win, just their second in the last seven games, with three runs in the fourth inning. Mat Gamel hit a two-run home run to right field and Counsell got an RBI single against St Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer, who was relieved after four innings and four runs allowed.
The Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan gave up four runs in nearly six innings before the team's bullpen handled the late innings. The Cardinals were in a position to snatch a dramatic ninth-inning lead when Skip Schumaker led off the inning with a double, and Milwaukee closer Trevor Hoffman walked two more batters. Hoffman, however, forced the St Louis catcher Yadier Molina to ground out with the bases loaded and pick up his 19th save of the year.
"To give up a lead off double with a one-run lead and not let the run score, that's a huge outing for Hoffman," said the Brewers manager Ken Macha. "He had to make some pitches and he did." Milwaukee's victory broke a three-game losing streak against the Cardinals, who went out to a 4-1 lead in the fourth when Molina had an RBI double, Brendan Ryan a two-RBI double and Schumaker drove in a run with a single. St Louis' Albert Pujols had a rare hitless day going 0-for-4.
The All-Star first baseman is among the league leaders in batting average and leads in home runs (31) and RBIs (82). John Fahey, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), has urged Major League Baseball (MLB) to adopt their code, which includes a two-year suspension for a first positive test. MLB and the players' association (MLBPA) have toughened their drug rules three times since their initial agreement in Aug 2002, and the executive vice president Rob Manfred dismissed criticism by Fahey, calling him "sadly misinformed".
The MLB policy calls for 50-game suspensions for first offenses, 100-game penalties for second offenses and lifetime bans for third violations. WADA specifies a lifetime ban for a second offense. "With recent cases, investigations and revelations, the evidence is indisputable that doping remains an entrenched issue in baseball," Fahey said. Three-time most valuable player Alex Rodriguez said in February he used steroids from 2001-03 while with Texas. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez returned last Friday from a 50-game suspension after he used a banned fertility drug.
"If they have nothing to hide, why don't the MLB and MLBPA join the rest of the world under the umbrella of the code?" Fahey countered. * Agencies