The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Colorado Rockies 3-2 in 10 innings in Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series on Thursday. The Brewers now lead the best-of-five series 1-0, with Game 2 looming on Friday afternoon.
Here are some things you should know about the series opener.
Yelich keeps hitting, Moose walks it off
Christian Yelich, the odds-on favorite to win the NL MVP award, received his first taste of postseason play. He seemed to like it.
Yelich recorded two hits,:
Yelich later singled, but was forced out on an odd play. Ryan Braun hit a liner just over first baseman Ian Desmond's head. Desmond faked out Yelich, acting as if he caught it, and Yelich wasn't able to recover in time to reach second safely. For those who like their postseasons tinged with red-hot emotions, Braun was shown letting off a string of expletives afterward. It just goes to show, even MVPs can get yelled at at work.
In the 10th inning, it was Yelich who led the frame off with a walk before coming around to score on a Mike Moustakas single.
Bullpen play works out -- until it doesn't
The Brewers defied convention by eschewing a starter in favor of a bullpen game. This was different than an "opener," because it didn't see a starter enter an inning or two into the game. Rather, manager Craig Counsell linked one reliever to another to build a nine-inning chain.
Officially, Brandon Woodruff received credit for the start. He held the Rockies without a hit through three innings, walking one and fanning three. Counsell pinch-hit for Woodruff once the pitcher's spot came up, and handed the reins over to Corbin Burnes. Burnes then threw two shutout innings of his own before he too was pinch-hit for when the time arose. Corey Knebel then tossed 1 ⅔ shutout innings, permitting a single baserunner along the way. By then, the Brewers were close enough to the finish line to call upon Josh Hader, who pitched until the ninth inning. Milwaukee's line for the day through eight included one hit, two walks, no runs, and 10 strikeouts. Impressive.
Jeremy Jeffress took over in the ninth and it seemed like the Brewers were on their way to victory. Except Jeffress couldn't get anyone out early on. He allowed three consecutive hits before Orlando Arcia made a costly error. Jeffress recovered in time to keep the game tied, but it was a high-leverage blemish on an otherwise pristine pitching day for Milwaukee's staff.
Braun sets record before making mistake of own
Speaking of Braun, he notched the first hit of the game when he singled with two outs in the bottom of the first. That hit made him the franchise's all-time postseason hits leader:
Ryan Braun's first-inning single makes him the Brewers' all-time leader in postseason hits with 23, breaking the tie with Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 4, 2018
Braun would later advance to second on a wild pitch, then would try to advance two bases on a subsequent wild pitch. He was tagged out. Give credit to him for creativity, if nothing else.
Pina's arm pays off
No one considers Manny Pina a pivotal player. Not in this series, not in any series. But he threw out two attempted basestealers on Thursday, and those plays loomed large in a close affair.
Pina first zapped DJ LeMahieu to end the top of the first. He later helped Ryan McMahon find a seat on the bench earlier than was necessary. In each case, the top or middle of the Rockies lineup was due up with two outs in the frame.
During the regular season, Pina threw out 41 percent of prospective thieves..
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