Arenado's late HR lifts Cards over Brewers in home debut

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St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, April 8, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS – Nolan Arenado hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning of his home debut with the Cardinals, lifting St. Louis over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Thursday as fans returned to Busch Stadium for the first time since 2019.

Arenado, a five-time All-Star acquired from Colorado on Feb. 1 after eight seasons with the Rockies, followed a walk to Austin Dean with the score 1-1. Arenado turned on a first pitch 96.6 mph offering from Drew Rasmussen (0-1) and sent the ball 373 feet to left for his second homer this season.

Arenado pointed to the St. Louis dugout just before rounding first and screamed as he helped the Cardinals to their fourth straight win, setting off cheers from a crowd limited by coronavirus protocols to 13,328.

Adam Wainwright started his sixth home opener, tying the franchise record set by the late Bob Gibson. The Cardinals wore patches with No. 45 on their left sleeves in honor of Gibson, the Hall of Famer who died Oct. 2.

Wainwright, a 39-year-old righthander, allowed one run and five hits in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Giovanny Gallegos (2-0) gave the Cardinals their third straight inning of hitless relief, following Ryan Helsley and Andrew Miller.

Alex Reyes finished the six-hitter for his third save, allowing a leadoff single to Omar Narváez in the ninth and stranding him at third when Daniel Robertson hit a game-ending flyout.

Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes gave up one hit in six scoreless innings, struck out nine and walked none.