I love bratwurst on the grill. 

I love the seared bratwurst served with a cold beer. 

With cheese curds on the side. 

I loved the late Rick Majerus, the proud son of Milwaukee. He showed me the best out-of-the mainstream joints to find a delicious Milwaukee meal. When Majerus and Miklasz walked into the place, the manager had to bring in an extra cook. 

I love the Jerry Lee Lewis song “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous Has Made A Loser Out Of Me.” What’s that? Say what? 

Someone buys another round / And wherever drinks are free / What’s made Milwaukee famous has made a fool out of me.

I love the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. It’s beautiful. It looks like a spaceship or something. It seems to have eyes. It’s quirky in that delightful Milwaukee way. 

I loved the TV show “Happy Days.” I love that you can go look at a statue of The Fonz in Milwaukee. 

Yes, I love the town of Milwaukee. Sincerely so. 

And I love it when the Cardinals and Brewers play ball. It’s a colorful, underrated rivalry. It’s got some history. The 1982 World Series, the 2011 NLDS. The beanball war of 2007 and Tony La Russa vs. Ned Yost. Nyjer Morgan vs. Chris Carpenter. La Russa vs. the LED ribbon board at Miller Park. 

Budweiser vs. Miller. Yadier Molina vs. Brewers fans. Mike Matheny vs. the Brewers after the team put out an All-Star voting campaign video, encouraging Brewers fans to vote for their catcher Jonathan Lucroy — just because he isn’t a Cardinal. It was all in good fun. The always-serious Cardinals took offense. “Disrespectful,” Matheny said.

There was Zack Greinke, calling Chris Carpenter a “phony” the day before NLCS Game 1. And don’t forget about “Tony Plush” — Morgan’s alter ego — who risked bodily harm by referring to Albert Pujols as “Alberta.” 

The first meeting of the Cardinals and Brewers in 2021 took place at Busch Stadium. The home opener on April 8. New STL third baseman Nolan Arenado jumped into the rivalry by hitting a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Cards a 3-1 victory. 

And then there was Tuesday night’s game at American Family Field, aka Miller Park … 

Here we go again.

I loved this game. 

Cardinals 6, Brewers 1. 

This entanglement lasted 11 innings and was mostly a frustrating game for both sides. But the dramatic payoff was worth it for St. Louis. 

After scoring only three runs in their previous 16 innings, the Cardinals went off for five runs in a sequence of five batters. A two-run detonation from Paul Goldschmidt. A three-run discharge by Tyler O’Neill. Boom. Boom. A sudden charge of lightning and thunder. 

Goldy and Bro’Neill sent those homers Green Bay Packin.’ (Shout out to Nelly.) 

I really think this was the Cardinals’ best win of the season to date. 

Why?

+ Because this rivalry game was crazy with the pitchers on both sides shutting down the hitters until the delayed fireworks show began in the top of the 11th with two rockets and a red-bird glare. There was dazzling defense and bold baserunning and relief pitchers refusing to budge. Hitters couldn’t get much done. The pressure escalated with each missed opportunity to score a run. 

+ The Cardinals were playing a division rival. The Cards and Crew are widely considered to be the best teams in the NL Central. This should be a tight race, and every game between these teams matters just a little bit more. And the Brewers had taken two of three from the Cardinals in St. Louis on the first weekend of the season. 

+ The Cardinals went into Milwaukee on a 13-4 roll that put them in first place, two games ahead of the Brewers as play began Tuesday night. Over the same stretch, the injury-torn Brewers were 8-9 and struggling. But even though Christian Yelich remains on the IL with lower-back problems, the Crew is getting healthier, had won two in a row, and surely viewed this three-day visit from St. Louis as a statement kind of series.

+ The Cardinals had one hit — and an infield hit at that — over the first seven innings against Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta. Leading 1-0, the Brewers had their big, brutish bullpen lined up to put the Cardinals away. 

+ Harrison Bader did a terrific job of creating the tying run in the eighth against Milwaukee changeup conquistador Devin Williams: leadoff single, followed by a Matt Carpenter walk, followed by Bader’s aggressive tag up to third on a Tommy Edman fly ball, followed by a sac fly from Dylan Carlson for a 1-1 tie. But even then, the Cardinals would sputter along with only two hits and a run through 10 innings. 

+ Meanwhile, you had Cards starter Kwang Hyun Kim and relievers Ryan Helsely, Kodi Whitley, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes averting multiple threats all night. Surely, one of the St. Louis guardians would crack, serve up a mistake pitch, and the Brewers would skylark in celebration. Right? The tension was constant. Together the five Cardinals pitchers faced 24 batters with at least one runner on base, and 19 batters with runners in scoring position. The Brewers, of course, scored one run. The exasperated home team went 1 for 15 with RISP. 

+ It was important for the Cardinals to win this game. Look, the Cards or any team can beat any starting pitcher on a given day. But if the Brewers won the series opener, the Cardinals would face two tough assignments in the recovery effort. Milwaukee’s co-aces, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, were set to start the next two games. This season they have combined for a 1.64 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 71 innings. That’s another reason why this was such a great win for the Cardinals. 

+ The Cardinals won the Battle of the Bullpens, and these reliever rumbles will be a key facet of the STL-MIL rivalry games. Kim pitched well for the Cardinals but only provided 5.1 innings. Their four relievers had to cover the remaining 5.2 innings. Because the Brewers were bulwarked by seven dominant innings from Peralta, their four relievers — Williams, Josh Hader, J.P. Feyereisen and Brad Boxberger — were asked to handle only four innings. 

Milwaukee hitters managed only one hit in 17 at-bats against Cards relievers — an RBI double by Lorenzo Cain off Helsley. (The inherited run was charged to Kim.) The bullpen’s four walks and a hit batter were problematic, but the Cards relievers powered through the jams. Reyes struck out five Brewers in two innings to offset three walks (one intentional.) 

Before the 11th inning Goldschmidt and O’Neill had combined to go 0 for 7 with three strikeouts. And in the game-flipping 11th they unloaded on Boxberger, who was carbonized for three hits (two homers) and five runs. Hader and Feyereisen were unscathed in their two innings, but Williams (blown save) and Boxberger yielded six runs while pitching to only 12 Cardinals combined. 

+ The Cardinals saved runs — and prevented heartburn — with superb defensive plays by outfielders Carlson, Bader and shortstop Paul DeJong. The timely plays added to the excitement. 

+ Manager Mike Shildt survived a decision to burn two players, catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Edmundo Sosa, with a 10th-inning call to have Sosa pinch run for Molina. The Cardinals failed to get Sosa in for the go-ahead run, the opportunity spoiled by an Edman groundout. Close-game is always heightened by risky late-inning strategy that could blow up on the manager. 

+ But a smart Shildt call — using Carpenter to pinch-hit and draw a walk in the critical Cards’ eighth inning — was overlooked but crucial. With the walk, Carpenter moved Bader up to second base. And that put Bader in position to use his speed and daring to produce a run without the benefit of a teammate’s base hit. 

I love baseball. 

That is all. 

The official Redbird Review will be presented to you this afternoon. 

Thanks for reading. 

–Bernie 

Please check out Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen live online and download the Bernie Show podcast at 590thefan.com  … the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.