David Freese can begin reading his mail again. No doubt besieged by suggestions as to how he could locate his power stroke — or find any stroke, at all, for that matter — the Cardinals’ third baseman made sure his first home run since last September was a resounding one Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Hitting against the Milwaukee Brewers with the bases loaded and two out in the first inning, Freese, just five for 31 with men in scoring position, shot a Wily Peralta drive over the center-field wall for a grand slam, his first homer of the season. An appreciative paid house of 39,426, eager to salute anything the hometown hero could accomplish, rose, roared and beseeched him for a curtain call. Freese would oblige with a quick salute.

The homer fattened a 1-0 Cardinals lead into a 5-0 cushion in the first. And a good thing. Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez bashed three-run homers off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia in the fourth and sixth innings, and the two other runs the Cardinals scored were just enough for the Cardinals to hold off the Brewers 7-6.

It was their seventh win in eight games this season against their National League Central Division rivals.

After Garcia nearly gave up what once was a six-run lead, rookies Seth Maness and Trevor Rosenthal and oldster Edward Mujica provided spotless relief as the Cardinals went to 6-2 on this 10-game home stand.

Milwaukee, which won nine games in a row earlier this season, is 7-24 otherwise. The Brewers are 4-14 in the Central against all other clubs but the Chicago Cubs, whom Milwaukee has beaten four times in five games.

Freese said his first homer, in and of itself, wasn’t all that important. “I was way past that pretty quick,” he said.

“It just feels good to help the team. You want to join the fun. I haven’t done squat this year and we’ve got a heck of a record.”

Freese agreed with a suggestion that the past six weeks had been the most difficult of his career. “Being a St. Louis Cardinal and you don’t play well, it’s troublesome,” he said. “It’s no fun failing ... all the time. But we’re playing darned good baseball right now and that’s enjoyable.”

Inasmuch as he later struck out twice and grounded out, Freese said, “I don’t even know that I’ve turned the corner.”

Asked for the best suggestion he received among many offered by fans, teammates, etc., Freese said it consisted of two words, with the second word being “it.”

“Just go play the game you’ve been playing for 26, 27 years. And that’s the way it should be,” said Freese.