Milwaukee Brewers Still Have a Flair for the Dramatics

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst ISeptember 25, 2008

For the second time in the past three days, the Milwaukee Brewers have won a game in their final at bats with towering home runs.

Last Tuesday, it was Prince Fielder who took a 2-0 pitch in the bottom of the ninth from Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher J.T. Beam and drove it over the right-center field wall.

With the N.Y. Mets having lost earlier that night to the Cubs, that bomb kept the Brewers one game behind the Mets in the Wild Card chase with five games to play.

Fast-forward to Thursday night, and the Beer Makers did it again. This time it was their other superstar, Ryan Braun, in the bottom of the tenth inning against those same Pirates.

Before the drama unfolded, let's start from the beginning.

Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo was making his first start since May 1st, after suffering a torn ACL in Chicago. At first glance, it was reported that Gallardo wouldn't make another start in the 2008 season.

Eventually word got out that it might be possible for him to start in the post-season, if the Brewers were lucky enough to get there.

Gallardo has a history of being a quick healer, and he proved it once again on Thursday. Having pitched only a handful of simulated games, and never testing his bad knee, Gallardo would take the mound in what would be the biggest game of his young career thus far.

The Brewers gave him a slim 1-0 lead when Bill Hall doubled in Mike Cameron in the third inning.

Gallardo did not miss a beat on his end, as he breezed through the Pirates lineup in the first three innings, amassing seven strikeouts. His lone hiccup was a solo home run from Steven Pearce in the fourth inning.

Being on a strict pitch count, manager Dale Svuem quickly relieved Gallardo for Carlos Villanueva after four innings. Villanueva and six other relievers did not allow Pittsburgh to score another run. The only problem was, the Brewers couldn't score either.

Which brings us to the bottom of the tenth inning, still tied 1-1, and Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Pirates.

Rickie Weeks led off the inning with a base hit to right, and Chavez followed that by allowing free passes to Ray Durham (intentional) and Craig Counsell to load the bases. And stepping up to the plate, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, Ryan Braun.

Braun, has been in his biggest slump of his career, which is probably a result from a nagging strained oblique muscle. He came in batting .207 in the month of September, and he also hadn't hit a home run since Sept. 13...until now.

"Brauny" also had never hit a grand slam, and had never hit a walk-off home run in his short career...until now.

Chavez threw a hanging 2-2 slider pretty close to down the heart of the plate, and Braun did not miss it, as he sent it flying into the left field bleachers.

With that shot, the Brewers swept the Pirates and remain tied with the Mets for the NL Wild Card with three games to play.

The Mets play host to the Florida Marlins this weekend, unless mother nature has something to say about it. The Brewers will host the front-running Cubs in hopes of seeing a slender Chicago lineup having already clinched everything throughout the playoffs.

With three games left to play this weekend, and possibly games going into Monday and beyond if the forecast is correct, the drama is just beginning.