Thanks to a gutsy effort by Randy Wolf, the Milwaukee Brewers are back in the thick of things and have tied the NLCS at two games apiece.
Wolf gave the Brewers their first quality start of the NLCS. After being down 2-0 and on the ropes early, he scattered six hits over seven innings. The runs came two solo home runs by Allen Craig and Matt Holliday. The win was the first playoff victory of Wolf’s 15-year pro career.
Yovani Gallardo had given the Brewers their only two previous quality starts of the postseason, both coming against Arizona in the NLDS. But even Gallardo struggled against the Cards, getting pulled after allowing four runs in five innings of work.
Other than Wolf’s excellent start, the Brewers didn’t dominate in any phase of Thursday night’s game.
Rickie Weeks booted a ground ball, leading to a difficult situation for Wolf with two runners on base, although the soft-tossing southpaw was able to work out of the jam. Yuniesky Betancourt allowed a sharp grounder to get past him into left field.
The normally potent power of the Brewers lineup was absent, with the Crew’s longest hit going for a double.
The bullpen certainly did its job, holding St. Louis scoreless over two innings. Closer John Axford earned his second save of the NLCS and third in the playoffs.
Looking to tonight’s contest, Brewers fans hope Zack Greinke can exorcise his road demons and put forth a good effort in Game 5 at Busch Stadium.
He's had a couple of rough outings so far this postseason. Although the Brewers have won each of his two starts, Greinke has allowed 16 hits, 10 earned runs and four home runs in just 11 innings.
Both of those performances came at home, where Greinke had been much stronger than on the road during the regular season. Brewers fans are hoping for Greinke to pull a reverse Jekyll and Hyde act and give a superior effort in St. Louis.
On Thursday night, the Brewers showed they can win a game without following their usual blueprint of jacking the ball out of the park. The game was a momentum changer and should give the club a new dose of confidence heading forward.
Perhaps more importantly, the Brew Crew guaranteed the NLCS will return to Miller Park, where the Brewers own the MLB’s best home record. The National League pennant is still Milwaukee’s to lose.