Nyjer Morgan Sends Brewers To NLCS In 10th

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Nyjer Morgan's single up the middle scored Carlos Gomez from second base, and the Brewers won a postseason series for the first time since 1982.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks, Game 5: Live-Blog Highlights And Quotes

The Milwaukee Brewers needed extras, but thanks to Nyjer morning, they were able to down the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 to advance to the NLCS. And boy was it a thriller. In front of a rowdy crowd in Milwaukee, the Brewers and Diamondbacks went back-and-forth throughout the game, with Morgan's walk-off single winning it in the 10th.

Here are a few of the highlights from Friday's live-blog.

Justin Upton got the scoring started with a solo shot in the third inning to put the Diamondbacks in front, 1-0. But perhaps the home run was the result of umpire error.

Upton_jpg_medium

But no matter: Upton took advantage and Arizona had the lead.

An inning later, the Brewers responded, thanks to a sac fly to the second baseman that scored Nyjer Morgan. Yes, you read that right.

Then, to make matters worse, he fell behind Jerry Hairston Jr. 3-1. But! Kennedy threw a high fastball that Hairston popped pretty shallow down the right field line, and Aaron Hill ran it down for the catch.

But! Hill made his catch with his momentum leading away from home plate, and Morgan raced home from third to score the tying run. It wasn't a conventional sac fly, but they all count the same.

With two on and one out in the sixth, Jerry Hairston hit a shot to center that looked like extra bases off the bat. Then this happened.

Youngcatch

The Diamondbacks were still tied with the Brewers, at least momentarily. Of course Yuniesky Betancourt strolled to the plate and came through with an RBI single in the at-bat after the catch, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

And that's where it stayed through the seventh and eighth.With John Oxford looming in a save situation, it looked like the Diamondbacks were cooked. This update explains why quite well.

If everything goes as scheduled, John Axford will pitch the ninth inning.

After blowing a save (in spectacular fashion) on Opening Day and blowing another in mid-April, Axford converted 43 straight save opportunities and posted a 1.34 ERA.

None of which means this game is over. All of which means the deck is now stacked heavily against the Diamondbacks scoring a single run, let alone outscoring the Brewers from this moment until the last pitch.

Of course this is baseball, and the Diamondbacks still had some fight left in them. Gerardo Perra led the ninth off with a double, then advanced to third on a Sean Burroughs single. No outs, runners on the corners and Willie Bloomquist had a chance to at least tie the game. And he did it in such a Willie Bloomquist way.

Williebunt

Axford recovered without sustaining further damage, but blew the save as the Diamondbacks tied the ballgame at two.

Arizona went down in order in the 10th, and the Brewers had a chance to win it with a walk-off. Nyjer Morgan's single up the middle ended the Diamondbacks' dream season, and gave us an excellent moment of on-air cursing as the Brewers advanced to the ALCS with a 3-2 win.

For more on this game, visit the rest of the live-blog and check out Grant Brisbee's recap.

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VIDEO: Nyjer Morgan Delivers Game-Winning Hit, Curses During Postgame Interview

Can't even be mad at Nyjer Morgan for his postgame interview, which came just moments after he delivered a walk-off single in extra innings in Game 5 of the NLDS. As far as moments go, that's one of the finest, and Morgan had every reason to celebrate. There just happened to be a hot mic in his face as he celebrated, and an eager reporter hoping for a live interview.

If you missed it, here's how the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. T-Plush's interview comes right at the end, amidst shots of champagne being sprayed about the clubhouse.

Via SportsGrid

Here's a quick transcript:

Nyjer Morgan: YEEAAAAHH. FUCK YEAH. FUCK YEAH. WOOOOOO. GUUUUUUUHHH.

Sam Ryan: He's enjoying the moment guys.

Nyjer Morgan: Sorry about that, Sam.

See? He apologized. No harm, no foul. And truth be told, tell me you didn't enjoy Morgan letting his emotions run wild.

When you deliver a walk-off hit to propel your team to the next round of the playoffs, cursing on the air is almost mandatory. Besides, the moment was so T-Plush.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Milwaukee Walks Off In Extras, Advances To NLCS

The Milwaukee Brewers coughed up a lead in the ninth, but that just set up the walk-off win in extra innings to advance to the NLCS for the first time since 1982.

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Brewers vs. Diamonbacks: Big Bunt Ties Game 2-2 In 9th

John Axford hadn't blown a save since the middle of April.

Gerardo Parra hadn't hit safely since September.

Sean Burroughs hadn't gotten a big hit since 2006.

Burroughs and Parra have happily busted their streaks and Axford has unhappily broken his, and Game 5 of this Division Series is now tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Axford entered the game in the top of the ninth, having converted 44 straight save opportunities. But Parra, hitless in the Division Series, drove Axford's first pitch into the gap for a leadoff double. Burroughs was up next, due to a double-switch after the last half-inning. He tried to get a bunt down, failed, and on a 3-2 pitch blooped a single into left field, with Parra stopping at third.

Next up: Willie Bloomquist, who did get the bunt down, for a safety squeeze that plated Parra with the tying run and went as a single for Bloomquist.

Williebunt

And still nobody was out.

Then John Axford remembered that he's John Axford, and struck out Aaron Hill, turned a weak grounder from Justin Upton into a fielder's choice, and retired Henry Blanco on a grounder to shortstop, with Rafael Betancourt just beating Upton to second base.

Axford's streak has ended, but the Brewers still control their fate as it's 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: "Phewww"

The eighth and ninth innings are usually Innings of Death for Milwaukee's enemies, with Francisco Rodriguez pitching the eighths and John Axford pitching the ninths.

In this eighth, though, Rodriguez walked leadoff man Aaron Hill and gave up a one-out single to Miguel Montero, with Hill scooting to third base with the potential tying run.

And when Rodriguez fell behind rookie Paul Goldschmidt, two balls and no strikes, things looked bleak. But Rodriguez recovered to strike out Goldschmidt on a 2-and-2 off-speed pitch.

K-Rod still wasn't out of the woods, and walked Chris Young on a full-count slider in the dirt, loading the bases. That brought Collin Cowgill out of the dugout as a pinch-runner for Montero, which gave the Diamondbacks good speed at all three bases and Ryan Roberts due next.

This time Rodriguez wouldn't get behind in the count. He dropped a slow curve over the plate for a first-pitch strike, then threw a fastball down the middle that Roberts just missed. Now ahead in the count, Rodriguez threw a breaking ball that Roberts swung over, grounding the pitch weakly to shortstop Rafael Betancourt, who tossed to Rickie Weeks at second base for the force-out.

Crisis: Averted. And so it's still Brewers 2, Diamondbacks 1 in the middle of the eighth.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Here Comes Milwaukee's Ace Relief

You have to like the Brewers' chances.

Sure, after seven innings their lead is the slimmest possible: 2-1.

But a one-run lead is big after seven innings and especially if you're the Milwaukee Brewers.

If everything goes as scheduled, Francisco Rodriguez will pitch the eighth inning.

After joining the Brewers this summer, Rodriguez posted a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings, giving up just one home run.

If everything goes as scheduled, John Axford will pitch the ninth inning.

After blowing a save (in spectacular fashion) on Opening Day and blowing another in mid-April, Axford converted 43 straight save opportunities and posted a 1.34 ERA.

None of which means this game is over. All of which means the deck is now stacked heavily against the Diamondbacks scoring a single run, let alone outscoring the Brewers from this moment until the last pitch.

Still, it takes just one swing of the bat and the D'backs have a lot of guys who like to swing...

Heading into the eighth, it's still Brewers 2, Diamondbacks 1.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Chris Young Makes Otherworldly Catch, Brewers Take Lead Anyways

Ryan Braun led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. Prince Fielder followed with a walk. With two on and no one out, the Brewers were set up for a big inning. They even had their #5 hitter up, Rickie Weeks, who hit 20 home runs and 26 doubles in 118 games during the regular season.

Weeks popped up a bunt for the first out. With Ian Kennedy looking like a mortal with imperfect control, Weeks bunted on the first pitch. Amazing.

This could have something -- a lot, even -- to do with the injury that Rob referenced below. If Weeks isn't feeling right, maybe he wanted to make sure that there was at least one positive outcome that came from his at-bat.

Or maybe he just wanted to set up Jerry Hairston and Yuniesky Betancourt, you laugh, but Hairston hit a line drive for a double that scored two and Milwaukee is going crazy, they're going crazy, they're going crazy that should have been a double if not for one of the greatest catches you'll ever see.

 


Zoinks. It would have been even better if Betancourt didn't line an RBI single to center in the next at-bat. Ol' Yuni, coming through. Enjoy the sack of magic beans, Kansas City. Yuni's making his playoff mark.

And if Weeks got that bunt down, the Brewers might be up by two runs now. Shows what I know.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Gallardo Escapes 6th-Inning Jam

That's probably going to be all for Yovani Gallardo, who's thrown 112 pitches through six innings.

And the sixth was the toughest, as Gallardo gave up consecutive two-out singles to Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Young, leaving Milwaukee's starting pitcher in a fairly serious jam.

Fortunately for the Brewers, Gallardo, after falling behind Ryan Roberts three balls and no strikes, ultimately retired the Diamondbacks' third baseman on a grounder to his counterpart, Jerry Hairston. Roberts did hit the ball sharply, but couldn't find the hole.

Kameron Loe's already been warming up in the Brewers' bullpen, and figures to take the mound in the top of the seventh. At this point, the Brewers are obviously hoping to take the lead, but Ron Roenicke probably won't wait for a lead before going to Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford, his best relief pitchers.

Speaking of a lead, Ryan Braun has led off the bottom of the sixth with a double off Ian Kennedy, who's thrown only 68 pitches through five-plus innings...

For the moment, though, it's still Brewers 1, Diamondbacks 1. With Prince Fielder looming.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Good Ol' Sac Fly To The Second Baseman Evens Score

I think we last left you at 1-0 Arizona after the top of the third. In the bottom half, Ian Kennedy didn't give the Brewers any opening to respond, striking out the first two batters and then getting Corey Hart to fly out. So a third of the way through the action, the D-Backs held a lead.

They don't hold a lead anymore. Yovani Gallardo's fourth inning was much easier than any of the first three, at least in terms of pitch count. He worked around a leadoff single and a stolen base to keep the Diamondbacks scoreless, whiffing Gerardo Parra to end the frame.

To the bottom half we went, and Kennedy got into a mess. Nyjer Morgan started off with a line drive double to right, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Ryan Braun then drew a walk, and while Kennedy eased his burden by inducing a pop out from Prince Fielder, he drilled Rickie Weeks in the side to load the bases.

Then, to make matters worse, he fell behind Jerry Hairston Jr. 3-1. But! Kennedy threw a high fastball that Hairston popped pretty shallow down the right field line, and Aaron Hill ran it down for the catch.

But! Hill made his catch with his momentum leading away from home plate, and Morgan raced home from third to score the tying run. It wasn't a conventional sac fly, but they all count the same.

Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a ground out that ended the inning, and Kennedy did a terrific job of limiting the damage, but now we have a new ballgame on our hands entering the fifth. A new ballgame, where Yovani Gallardo is maybe a little more tired than Kennedy is.

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Rickie Weeks Playing On One Good Ankle?

Rickie Weeks is coming up in the bottom of the fourth, because he's the Brewers' No. 5 hitter today.

This is nothing new, as Weeks has been the Brewers' No. 5 hitter throughout this Division Series.

The only problem is that the Brewers' No. 5 hitter hasn't been hitting, at all.

Weeks tripled in Game 2, but is hitless in his other 15 at-bats.

Flukish? Sure. But Weeks really hasn't hit much since late July, when he went on the DL with a serious ankle injury. Weeks returned to the lineup in September, but since then and including this Division Series, he's batted .189 with one double, one triple and one home run.

It's not like anybody thinks Weeks is healthy. Here was Ron Roenicke yesterday, talking about Weeks:

"You guys see the ankle, it isn't right," Roenicke said. "We knew it wouldn't be. But we were hoping that offensively, he would get locked in and be able to really hold down that fifth spot."

The Brewers acquired Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trade deadline in part to cover for Weeks' injury. But he's since replaced Casey McGehee at third, leaving Roenicke limited options at second.

Craig Counsell would probably be the first choice, but he's had a disappointing regular season, hitting just .178.

One can't help wondering, though ... If Weeks' ankle is limiting him offensively, what about defensively? Is he still better than Craig Counsell with the bat and the glove?

Hard to say. That's why Roenicke's the manager, I guess.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Justin Upton Solo Shot Puts Arizona Ahead

The headline gives you an idea of what happened in the top of the third inning, but it lacks a little context. With two outs and two strikes, Yovani Gallardo threw a slider to Justin Upton. After the pitch, Gallardo started walking off the mound. The infield started to walk off the field. Outfielders began to jog. Upton's internal monologue started with, "Welp." But it was called a ball.


The pitch in question is #5. It wasn't really on the fringes of the strike zone like pitch #4 -- it was just a strike. On the next pitch, Upton launched a home run to the opposite field.

If the Brewers lose by a single run, if their first trip to the NLCS in 30 years is cancelled, that pitch will become the story. Well, it should be co-story, at least. The other story should be that Justin Upton is a freak who is just getting started. He's a 24-year-old with unbelievable athleticism, bat control, and patience. Dude's scary.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Scoreless Second Follows Scoreless First

In the first inning, both the Diamondbacks and the Brewers stranded a runner apiece, and didn't score. In the second inning, there were again two stranded runners and zero total runs, although this time, both runners belonged to Arizona.

Yovani Gallardo retired the first two guys that he faced, then struggled a little bit, allowing a single and a walk. The walk was issued with the pitcher on deck, so one can't be completely sure how much of it was on purpose and how much was accidental, but then Gallardo went on to need eight pitches to do away with Ian Kennedy. Kennedy hit a soft flare to left-center that looked like a possible hit off the bat before Ryan Braun ran it down and made a basket catch.

To the bottom half we went, and Kennedy had zero trouble getting through the opposition. That isn't fair. Two of the three batters he faced hit line drives. But one of them hit a line drive right to Ryan Roberts, and one of them hit a line drive right to Justin Upton. The other batter struck out, and while observers might have thought "wow, Kennedy got lucky," box score observers might think "wow, Kennedy was dominant." The truth is one of those, or somewhere in between!

0-0, third inning now.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Scoreless Through One

It always amazes me when pitchers start an elimination game and don't wing the first six pitches to the backstop before asking the trainer for a Valium. Don't they understand that the whole season is on the line? Every single game, every stupid road trip and plane flight, led to this game. Aren't they nervous? How can they be so calm?

I guess that's why they're at the highest professional level in the world. Yovani Gallardo was impressive in the first inning, allowing only a walk to Justin Upton before striking out Miguel Montero looking on a perfect pitch.

Kennedy might have been more impressive, though. He allowed a two-out hit to Ryan Braun, but it looked like he had pinpoint control. When he missed, he made the umpire flinch. For his last out of the inning, he struck out Prince Fielder

Too early to tell, but my money's on a 1-0 score in the seventh inning, or something like it. Plenty of time for that prediction to look stupid, but both pitchers look outstanding. More so than usual, even.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Milwaukee's Lineup For Game 5

It's Game 5, and where once the Brewers had a commanding 2-0 series lead in the NLDS, now they have to hope nothing weird happens. An outfielder losing a ball in the sun. A reliever having an off day. The other team using a cylindrical stick of wood to make solid contact with a spherical cork-and-horsehide doohickey. Here's the lineup Milwaukee wll use:

Corey Hart - RF
Nyjer Morgan* - CF
Ryan Braun - LF
Prince Fielder* - 1B
Rickie Weeks - 2B
Jerry Hairston - 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt - SS
Jonathan Lucroy - C
Yovani Gallardo - P

This is the least surprising lineup so far this postseason. While it would have been entertaining for Ron Roenicke to put Fielder at short, leave Braun out, and exchange lineups while wearing a leotard, the world isn't just here for our amusement. So the Brewers will be all boring and put out the best lineup they can for their most important game in 30 yeas.

What is a surprise is that the Brewers will be keeping their retractable roof closed because ...

Roof closed, panels open for this afternoon's NLDS game at Miller Park. MLB wants to keep playing conditions consistent.
Mil_weather_medium


 Weird.

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Brewers vs. Diamondbacks, NLDS Game 5 Preview: Time, TV Schedule, Lineups And More

Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers look to hold off the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5.

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