Sun. Final: Phillies 6, Brewers 2
By Kyle Dlabay
The big game pitcher came up short in the biggest game of the year for the Brewers.
Jeff Suppan signed a four-year deal worth $42 million before the 2007 season. Suppan was the 2006 NLCS MVP with the Cardinals and had a career postseason ERA of 3.00 coming into this year's playoffs.
With the Brewers needing a win to force a Game 5 on Tuesday, Suppan gave up five runs including three home runs in three innings to put Milwaukee behind early against the Phillies. The Brewers could not overcome the early hole and was eliminated by Philadelphia in Game 4 of the NLDS. The Phillies won the best of five series 2-1 with a 6-2 win Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
Phildelphia moves on to the NLCS where they will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers who swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS.
The big blast of the day came in the third inning when Pat Burrell hit a 2-2 fastball out of the park for a three-run homer.
"He hit the pitch I wanted to throw," Suppan said. "But, he hit the location I didn't want to throw it. I thought I could go up and in and what I did was I ended up pulling the ball down the middle. We all know good hitters hit balls down the middle."
That long ball put the Phillies up 4-0 and Jayson Werth followed Burrell with a solo shot for Philadelphia's fifth run of the game. The Brewers decided to walk Ryan Howard to face Burrell in that inning.
"The goal coming into this series is not let Howard hit two-pointers against you," said Brewers manager Dale Sveum. "It's not that difficult of a decision. Burrell came into the series hitting .170 off righties the last 30 days. Unfortunately, he was our Achilles' tendon today, on two pitches when we had him in the count in our favor. So unfortunately it didn't work out."
Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a homer off Suppan that landed in the right field bleachers.
Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton was outstanding in his first career postseason start. Blanton threw six innings and gave up one run to pick up the victory. He struck out seven Brewer hitters and did not walk a batter. At one point during the game, Blanton retired ten straight.
"That's the best I've seen him pitch," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He was very aggressive. He definitely wasn't scared of nothing. He went right at them."
Prince Fielder got the Brewers on the board in the seventh inning with a solo home run, his first of the postseason and his only hit of the playoffs. Ryan Braun drove in Mike Cameron in the eighth for Milwaukee's second and final run.
The Brewers bullpen finally gave up a run in the postseason when Burrell hit his second home run of the game in the top of the eighth inning. The homer came off Guillermo Mota who replaced Manny Parra in that frame. Yovani Gallardo and Parra combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Suppan.
"They were the reason we were here," Sveum said. "The bullpen was as good as it could be. We gave up very few runs, very few base runners as a matter of fact, and there's no doubt that we're here, able to play in these games, because of what our bullpen did."
CC Sabathia pinch-hit for Suppan in the bottom of the third inning and struck out. The at-bat gave fans a chance to give Sabathia a standing ovation in what might be the last game for Sabathia as a Brewer. He is a free agent at the end of this season.
"I kind of wanted to get the crowd back into the game.," Sveum said. "I knew if I sent him up there, that the crowd would get back in the game when the crowd was taken out of the game. At that point, the third inning, having a short bench as it was, carrying 12 pitchers, he's still a pretty good hitter that could pop one."
The first Brewers' playoff run since 1982 ends with a loss at Miller Park.
"Well, obviously getting into the playoffs is what you hope for and that happened," Sveum said. "And after that your ultimate goal is to win the World Series. So that's disappointing in that fact, that we didn't get to the World Series and win the World Series because that's the ultimate goal. We leave spring training and when you get in the playoffs, you have to win 11 games. We came up short winning 11 games and the World Series."