MILWAUKEE -- One of the things that has gone seemingly unnoticed by many in the series with the Brewers is the excellent defensive play by shortstop Pete Kozma.
While Jon Jay's clutch single in the ninth gave the Cardinals the lead in their victory over the Brewers on Saturday, starter Adam Wainwright took time to give Kozma credit for an exceptional play in the first inning.
"Koz made maybe a game-saving play at shortstop," Wainwright said. "That was an amazing play."
With the bases loaded and two outs and Milwaukee already having scored twice in the first inning, Alex Gonzalez hit a grounder into the hole between shortstop and third. Kozma got to the ball and made an off-balance throw to second, getting Martin Maldonado by a step to end the inning.
Wainwright pumped his arms excitedly and jogged back to the dugout.
"I knew I had to make the throw to second or to throw to first, it was kind of one of those things where you've got to do what you've got to do," Kozma said. "If you make a great play regardless of where it is, it's going to make anybody feel good."
Third-base coach Oquendo misses Sunday's game
MILWAUKEE -- Third-base coach Jose Oquendo missed Sunday's game to attend to family matters in St. Louis, and manager Mike Matheny said he is pleased with his coach's aggressive approach this season.
The Cardinals had runners called safe while beating the tag at the plate on Thursday night and then had runners tagged out at home on Friday night. On Saturday, Jon Jay was thrown out trying to go from first to third on a great throw from right fielder Norichika Aoki.
"I love how aggressive Oquendo is at third base," Matheny said. "He knows the game. He knows the situation. He's very in tune with what's going on. I never have an issue when we have a play like that.
"He's very seldom wrong, too," he said. "With nobody out you don't see him making many mistakes. When there is one out, two outs, we're at the bottom of the order, let's take a chance."
First-base coach Chris Maloney moved to third on Sunday, and Bengie Molina was the first-base coach.
Beltran, Carpenter get breaks from lineup Sunday
MILWAUKEE -- Starters Carlos Beltran and Matt Carpenter were out of the lineup Sunday.
Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson -- each with big hits on Saturday -- were their replacements.
"Carlos is a little worn down, so that gives Shane an opportunity," manager Mike Matheny said. "Danny has pretty good numbers."
Jon Jay, who had six hits in the first three games of the series, moved back into the leadoff spot.
"He's been working hard to get it going, made a couple of adjustments and the adjustments are working now," Matheny said.
Descalso hit his first home run of the year Saturday, and Robinson singled and scored the winning run in the ninth inning.
The Cardinals have two off-days in the coming week, so Yadier Molina remained in at catcher.
"He claims he feels as good now as he's ever felt physically," Matheny said. "Two off-days coming gives us an opportunity to take advantage of how good he does feel."
Cards' bullpen enters Sunday back at full force
MILWAUKEE -- The Cardinals bullpen was back at full strength Sunday, one day after Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez were unavailable.
Both relievers needed the day off, manager Mike Matheny said. Martinez was a starter in the Minors and pitched a scoreless inning Friday night. Rosenthal pitched Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
In a tie game Saturday, Matheny removed Matt Holliday in a double switch because Seth Maness was the last available reliever with the exception of closer Edward Mujica. Had the Cardinals not scored in the ninth, Maness would have pitched multiple innings.
"Seeing that we had two pitchers in the bullpen with Martinez and Rosenthal it looked like we were still armed for bear," Matheny said. "But those were both guys I was going to stay away from unless there was an emergency and I don't even know how to define emergency because I didn't want to pitch either one of them."
With Jason Motte out for the season and slated to undergo Tommy John surgery and Mitchell Boggs sent to the Minors due to ineffectiveness, the bullpen remains in flux.
"Right now we've got a whole bunch of new pieces to this puzzle that we've got to figure out," Matheny said. "We've still got quite a bit of uncertainty.
"Last night, you take two pieces away from us and we were in a bind," he said.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.