ST. LOUIS (Ticker) --
did major damage to the St. Louis Cardinals' postseason hopes.
Kieschnick belted a pinch two-run homer in the top of the ninth and Conti smacked an RBI single later in the inning to give the
to a 7-6 victory over the Cardinals.
The loss kept St. Louis five games off the pace in the National League Central Division with nine to play.
Trailing, 1-0, the Cardinals erupted for five runs in the third inning, including two on a single by
Conti, who drove in Milwaukee's first run with a sacrifice fly, pulled the Brewers within 5-4 in the fifth with a three-run homer.
"It was good timing, I guess," Conti said. "The guys did a good job getting on in front of me. (St. Louis'
) started me off with a fastball down the middle last time and I said if he starts me off with that, I'm going to take a pretty good swing at it. Sometimes good swings get good results."
St. Louis, which had won two in a row, tacked on a run in the sixth and handed the ball to closer
in the ninth. The righthander walked
and struck out former Cardinal
before Kieschnick batted for
and crushed an 0-1 pitch into the right field seats to tie it.
"I was basically looking for a fastball (on the first pitch) and he threw a cutter and tied me up pretty good," Kieschnick said. "I was just looking for the same pitch the next pitch because he made me look pretty bad on the first one. The second one obviously wasn't as good as the first cutter he threw me."
"I walked the leadoff guy and I throw a bad pitch to Kieschnick," Isringhausen said. "He's up there to hit a home run and I threw him the perfect pitch to do it on. ... It was a cutter in and I threw it right in his wheelhouse. Anywhere else and he wouldn't have hit it."
The blast was the seventh of the season and second as a pinch hitter for Kieschnick, who also has homered as a pitcher and a designated hitter.
"Kiesch has a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark, he's done it all year for us," Milwaukee manager
said. "We were just looking for somebody that could drive it out of the park. I think he got a hanging breaking ball and he hit it a long way."
Isringhausen (0-1) lost a 10-pitch battle with rookie
, who walked and stole second. Conti followed with a single to center, scoring Podsednik and giving the Brewers a 7-6 lead.
"Today was just getting ahead and getting a pitch up in the zone to hit into center," Conti said.
"Izzy is one of the best closers in baseball," Rolen said. "You're not used to something like that happening. I think he's taken for granted sometimes. He's human."
The five RBI were a career high for Conti, who entered with just two this season.
"I had a bunch in rookie ball one day eight years ago," Conti said. "I think I had eight. ... I know I haven't had more than two or three in the big leagues and I can't remember having four or five in the minor leagues too often."
Estrella (7-3) benefited from the rally, gaining the win with two scoreless innings.
worked a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
The loss all but ended the Cardinals' NL wild card chances as they fell seven games behind the
"This one hurts," Rolen admitted. "This one makes it tough. We have to come back and play as tough as we can and try to win out. That's what we were trying to do in the first place."
"They hung tough," St. Louis manager
Tony La Russa
said. "That's the way they have been playing. They hung tough and ended up getting a win that makes it very difficult for us at this time of the year to accept."
Podsednik generated the game's first run, leading off the first with a triple and scoring on Conti's sacrifice fly.
"Huge night for Conti," Yost said. "He had five RBIs, just had a great night for us. He's a real good defensive outfielder and he can swing the bat, too. He showed it tonight."
But Milwaukee starter
fell apart in the third, allowing five runs on five hits.
Stephenson opened the inning with a single and took third on
's base hit but was erased at the plate on J.D. Drew's grounder.
flied out, but Sheets walked
to load the bases.
Rolen took advantage of the situation, stroking a single to center to give St. Louis a 2-1 advantage. After
was hit by a pitch,
punched a two-run single to shallow left and
capped the rally with an RBI base hit to center.
"I made some pretty good pitches to Rolen and I finally made a bad one and he put a good swing on it," Sheets said. "It wasn't a terrible pitch, but it was up. He just put a good swing on it."
Conti's second homer of the season in the fifth drew the Brewers within a run, but Widger led off the sixth with a double, took third on a sacrifice and scored on Drew's single off Sheets' glove for a 6-4 edge.