MILWAUKEE (AP) — This was a first for Tony La Russa, who was managing for the 5,000th time in his career. And it had nothing to do with the game.
St. Louis managed just six hits off Chris Narveson and the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Cardinals 8-0 on Friday night despite a small fire in the ballpark.
"No kidding? I hadn't seen that one," La Russa said. "I wasn't sure what it was."
St. Louis has lost two of three and could fall out of first place in the NL Central if the Brewers can sweep this weekend series.
"You lose, you're disappointed. If you win, you're excited," La Russa said. "It is a very simple life. We are disappointed."
La Russa was honored with an announcement before the game and tipped his cap to a warm ovation. He also discussed a call in the fourth inning with first-base umpire Angel Campos, but never came close to being tossed.
The 66-year-old La Russa is 2,676-2,320-4 with two World Series titles in 33 seasons with the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. Only Connie Mack has managed more games in major league history — 7,755 over 53 years.
"Five-thousand is unbelievable for a manager," Brewers first-year manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's not just hanging around. He's winning a lot. He has with different organizations. It is pretty incredible. That is really hard to think about a guy being around that long and manage that many games."
The accomplishment wasn't lost on his players. Starter Kyle Lohse (7-3) was 10 months old when La Russa took over the White Sox in 1979.
"It is pretty awesome that he has been able to accomplish that. It was pretty cool to get to start that game," Lohse said. "Unfortunately I didn't give us a chance. It would have been nice to let him win that game. He is great at what he does. It has been fun to play for him."
Instead, the Brewers chased Lohse after five innings. Lohse has lost five straight to Milwaukee and hasn't won in Miller Park for six years.
"It was a rough one. I threw a lot of pitches around the zone. I just wasn't accurate enough," Lohse said. "That is a tough team to keep falling behind guys on. You're going to pay for mistakes when you leave the ball up over the plate."
Narveson, let go by the Cardinals after the 2007 season, was sharp throughout after going 0-1 with a 10.66 ERA in his previous three starts. He only had more than one baserunner in the eighth and he sprinted off the mound after striking out Jon Jay to end the threat.
"We liked him when we had him," La Russa said. "He pitched well."
Ryan Braun and Corey Hart homered for the Brewers, who are a major league-best 23-9 at home. Hart's homer came off Ryan Franklin just as thick, sweet-smelling smoke wafted down from a concession stand's malfunctioning popcorn machine onto the field of play. No one was hurt in the fire and a small section of the Miller Park roof was opened on a chilly, 52-degree night to help clear the air.
By then, it was the only interesting thing happening on a sluggish night for the Cardinals, who trailed big and never figured out Narveson. Tim Dillard got three outs to finish the six-hitter.
"Anytime you can shut down our offense, you must have been doing something good," Lohse said.
NOTES: Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to eight games. ... The Cardinals recalled RHP Mitchell Boggs and optioned RHP Lance Lynn to Triple-A Memphis. Lynn made two starts, going 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA. ... Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was on the field before the game chatting with La Russa. ... St. Louis was shut out for the third time this season.