Sat. Final: Brewers 4, Phillies 1
By Todd Welter
Next game: Game 4 of the NLDS, October 5 vs Philadelphia at Miller Park
The Brewers lived to fight another day.
The Crew kept their season breathing by doing things that the Brewers were incapable of in the first two games of the NLDS. The bats stayed patient and came up with key hits. Dave Bush pitched so efficiently you would have thought he was a brand new Toyota Camry. The Brewers avoided elimination in the NLDS with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park.
"These guys knew what they had to do with a guy like Moyer on the mound," Brewers' interim manager Dale Sveum said. "They knew they had to be patient, and they were."
"The fact of the matter is the guy still never gave in and never really gave us anything to hit when we had guys on base. I think the guys gained a lot of confidence today by their at-bats," Sveum added.
J.J. Hardy led the offensive charge as he went 3-4 with a run and a RBI. Bill Hall and Jason Kendall also contributed some big hits as both had 2-4 nights. The Brewers finished off their improved offensive production with 11 hits in this game after only coming up with seven hits total in the first two games of this series.
"We just kind of needed to get off to a good start and get a couple runs there early, and hopefully we could relax out there," Hardy said. "We played a little small ball, and it worked out for us."
Dave Bush worked better than your brand new washing machine. He only threw 70 pitches but he made them count as he gave up just one run on five hits, struck out three and walked none during five and a third innings to pick up the win.
"I don't think I would have envisioned this," Bush said. "It was a big thrill. Being out there was a great experience for me."
"Mixing my pitches, trying to keep them off balance, just being able to throw strikes and throw all my pitches for strikes," Bush explained about why he had success on the mound. "Really kept pounding the strike zone and letting the movement within the zone work for me."
The bullpen was stellar once again as Carlos Villanueva, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres combined to allow no runs and four hits through the game's last three innings. Torres got the save as he closed out the game but he did not make it easy on himself.
He loaded up the bases with three straight hits by Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs, and Shane Victorino. He got Pedro Feliz to ground into a double play and then the Brewers got a call to go their way. Howard did cross home put the run was scratched off as Victorino was called for runner's interference and by rule, Howard had to return to third.
"To tell you the truth, my crack coaching staff was on top of that," Sveum explained. "Eddie Sedar, our first base coach said that the guy called interference at second base, and then there was the fact of, if we're not mistaken, everybody has got to go back. So I give the umpires a lot of credit for taking the time to get that play right."
Torres then got Carlos Ruiz to hit a little dribbler right back to him and Torres tossed to first for the Brewers first postseason win since 1982.
"Milwaukee outplayed us tonight," Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel said. "I was surprised they took close pitches because they haven't been. Maybe that was their game plan."
The Crew struck the scoreboard first in the game's beginning. Cameron and Hall drew walks and advanced into scoring position on Moyer's wild pitch. Cameron scored on Prince Fielder's sacrifice fly to right. Hardy knocked in Hall with a scorching single to left.
The Brewers added another run in the fifth as Ryan Braun drove in Cameron with a sacrifice fly to left. The Crew could have added more as Clay Condrey loaded up the bases with two outs but Craig Counsell took a called third strike to end the inning.
The Phillies broke up the shutout in the sixth as Jayson Werth led off the inning with a triple. It almost looked like Corey Hart was going to make a spectacular catch at the fence but as he flipped over from the impact of crashing into the wall; the ball fell out of his glove. Werth would come home on Ryan Howard's ground out.
The Brewers missed out on a big chance to blow this game wide open in the sixth. The Crew loaded up the bases on three straight one-out singles by Villanueva, Cameron, and Hall. Milwaukee came up empty handed as Braun went down on strikes and Scott Eyre got Fielder to fly out to left to end the threat.
The Brewers did not come up empty the next inning. Hardy led off the inning with a single and got to third on Hart's sacrifice bunt and Counsell's infield single. He scored on Jason Kendall's RBI single to left. The Brewers had to settle for just one run as Brad Nelson struck out and Cameron grounded into a fielder's choice to kill the inning.
The Phillies now lead the NLDS 2-1. The Brewers will entrust Jeff Suppan to keep the season alive as he will pitch Game 4. The Phillies will go with Joe Blanton as their Game 4 starter.
Rickie Weeks left the game with a sprained left knee after the third inning...The Phillies have only scored runs in three innings total during this series...The Brewers stranded 12 runners in this game...Coming into the contest All-Stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley combined for just one hit, both combined for three hits in this contest...Villanueva's hit in the 6th was the first ever hit for a Brewers' pitcher in postseason play...Mike Cameron reached base four times with two runs, not bad for a guy who just got back into Milwaukee a few hours before the first pitch after his wife gave birth to their fourth child in Philadelphia on Friday.