“F*** YEAH! F*** YEAH!” Nyjer Morgan yelled into the microphone for what was meant to be a post-game interview, which he then followed with “I GOT NOTHIN TO SAY! AHH GOTTA GO!”
TBS should have known better than to try to get Morgan, Friday night’s hero and forever’s legend, for an interview.
With Carlos Gomez on second and one out in the bottom of the tenth, Morgan transformed into legend Tony Plush and laced a single right back up the middle as Gomez came around to score the winning run. On to the National League Championship Series.
The Brewers held a 2-1 lead going into the ninth inning, but John Axford blew his first save opportunity since mid-April when Gerardo Parra scored on a Willie Bloomquist suicide squeeze. Axford then escaped a major jam, striking out Aaron Hill, inducing a weak fielder’s choice groundout from Justin Upton, then Henry Blanco rolled out to Yuniesky Betancourt. Betancourt out-sprinted Upton on a phenomenal play. But who cares about the blown lead? He was just setting up the stage.
After Craig Counsell lined out sharply to Upton to lead off the tenth off of Arizona’s JJ Putz, Gomez singled to left. Everyone in the raucous Miller Park knew what was to come: “Go-Go” would be stealing with T. Plush at the plate.
On what turned out to be a completely overlooked play, Gomez took off for second and Plush squared to bunt. At the very last moment, the Brewers center fielder pulled back, screening the catcher Blanco as the ball squirted away. Gomez reached second and the stage was set.
Putz threw a 2-2 fastball that Plush, or Morgan (you choose) laced back right up the middle. Putz had the only play on it, but a kick-save attempt failed. The speedy Gomez then beat out the throw from center fielder Chris Young as the celebration began.
Miller Park and the city of Milwaukee erupted and rejoiced as the Brewers won their first Playoff series since 1982.
To say the least, the Snakes are on a plan going home.
Arizona opened up the scoring on a solo homer from Justin Upton to the D-Backs bullpen in right field. The homer came two pitches after Milwaukee thought they were out of the inning on a supposed strike three.
Milwaukee tied up the score on a Jerry Hairston sac fly that scored Morgan. Second baseman Aaron Hill had to range to shallow right field to make the grab and his momentum was too much to overcome and Morgan tagged and scored easily. The lead then came in the 6th from an unlikely source.
After a Ryan Braun leadoff double, Prince Fielder walk, failed bunt by Rickie Weeks, and incredible catch by Young in center to rob Hairston of a bases-clearing double, Betancourt singled to center to score Braun. The oft-criticized Betancourt was in place to be the hero.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo consistently found himself in jam after jam, but escaped them all. With a pitch count of 112, Gallardo exited after six excellent innings of one-run ball. He gave up five hits, struck out five, and walked two. The only blemish on Gallardo’s line was the two-out homer to Upton.
D-Backs starter Ian Kennedy gave up two runs in six innings of work and was on the hook for the loss until Bloomquist’s safety squeeze tied the game.
Takashi Saito pitched a perfect seventh and Francisco Rodriguez escaped a nerve-wrecking bases loaded jam in the eighth.
Arizona third baseman Ryan Roberts, who hit the Game Four grand slam, came up and K-Rod had nowhere to put him. The mid-season pickup came through for Milwaukee, as Roberts grounded into a fielder’s choice, shortstop to second.
Immediately after the hit, Morgan gave the Beast Mode signal to Brewers players and fans. What a sight.
In the words of T. Plush “F*** YEAH!” ONTO THE NLCS!
After Milwaukee’s Game One victory over Arizona, they will send out home ace Zack Greinke to the mound. Greinke’s comfort zone seems to be Miller Park, where he is 11-0 with a 3.15 era. Manager Ron Roenicke opted to start Greinke on three day’s rest at Miller Park than on normal rest on the road.
After throwing only 74 pitches on Wednesday, the Milwaukee righthander isn’t concerned about the short rest, admitting that he “didn’t throw that many pitches last time because we planned on it possibly happening.”
Greinke will oppose D-backs starter Daniel Hudson, like Greinke, a 16-game winner. In the first inning, opponents hit 50 points higher than the rest of the game, meaning that the top of the order will need to jumpstart the offense early.
The teams will head off to the desert after Sunday’s game for back-to-back games. If necessary, a Game Five would be at Miller Park.
Diamondbacks Game One starter Ian Kennedy is the Cy Young candidate, but Yovani Gallardo pitched like the deserving winner on Saturday.
Over eight innings, Gallardo only allowed four hits and one run, coming on an eighth inning home run to Ryan Roberts. Meanwhile, Kennedy was consistently in jams, but had held Arizona in the game through 6 2/3 innings with the score still at 2-0 until Milwaukee’s big boys stepped up.
Ryan Braun fought off tough pitches from Kennedy before dumping an outside corner fastball down the right field line for a double. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson then opted to pitch to Prince Fielder with a base open and the Brewers slugger made him pay. Fielder laced a 1-0 breaking ball over the right field fence for a home run that was caught by Jack Wallisch, a friend of mine, to put Milwaukee up 4-0. (What a monster, right??)
That was all Milwaukee would need, as John Axford came on to record a 1-2-3 9th for the save and Milwaukee’s first Game One victory since the 1982 World Series. Gallardo struck out nine over his 8 innings for the victory.
The Brewers opened up the scoring with a Jerry Hairston, who was starting in place of Casey McGehee, sac fly that scored Braun. Jonathan Lucroy followed up a Yuniesky Betancourt triple with a two-out jam-job RBI single to left (Arizona once again opted not to walk a batter with two out and a base open and paid).