Corey Hart, Prince Fielder

NLDS Diamondbacks-Brewers Game 1 Live Blog

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4:52: Game of the NLDS is in the books, as the Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-1. John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to notch the save.

The series will resume tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET when Daniel Hudson pitches against Zack Greinke.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a recap. Enjoy the rest of the games on the schedule for this evening.

4:43: And off we go to the top of the ninth. John Axford is indeed coming in to close this one out. The Diamondbacks have Aaron Hill, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero due up.

4:35: Gallardo followed the solo blast by Roberts by striking out three straight batters to end the top of the eighth. He’s at 106 pitches, so we’ll likely see John Axford in the top of the ninth.

Gallardo allowed just one run on four hits (including the homer by Roberts) while striking out nine and walking just one.

4:28: The Diamondbacks are finally on the board here in the top of the eighth, as Ryan Roberts just went deep to straight away center field to cut the lead to 4-1.

4:19: Well, the Brewers have some insurance. Prince Fielder just slugged a two-run homer off Ian Kennedy in the bottom of the seventh to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead. It followed a two-out double by Ryan Braun. Probably not smart to pitch to Prince with first base open.

Ian Kennedy is now done for the day after throwing 111 pitches. He allowed four runs on eight hits (including the homer by Fielder) over 6 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking one.

4:10: Make that seven scoreless frames for Gallardo. Nyjer Morgan made an excellent running catch to end the inning, eventually running into the center field wall.

Gallardo has only thrown 87 pitches. He’s really rolling right now, so one would think he’ll at least be back out there for the eighth.

4:05: Yuniesky Betancourt just almost killed Ryan Braun. OK, not really, but they did have a minor collision as Betancourt snagged a pop-fly in shallow left field. Everybody is OK, though.

4:00: Gallardo grounds into a fielder’s choice to end the bottom of the sixth, but he now has himself a 2-0 lead going into the top of the seventh.

Gallardo has only thrown 75 pitches so far this afternoon.

3:59: Jonathan Lucroy dumps one in short left field for a single to drive in Betancourt and give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

3:56: Yuniesky Betancourt hits a two-out triple to keep the bottom of the sixth alive. Gerardo Parra had trouble tracking down the ball after it kicked off the wall in left. The Brewers need to cash this one in.

3:50: Gallardo works around a single by Willie Bloomquist to get out of the sixth. For some reason, Justin Upton dove head first into first base while trying to beat out a ground ball for the final out of the inning. Pretty positive he would have made it if he kept his stride. Oh well.

3:42: And so much for that. Fielder lines out to left for the final out of the inning. Another missed opportunity. Still 1-0 Brewers as we move to the sixth.

3:39: Braun with a broken-bat single to left. The Brewers have runners on first and second with two outs for Prince Fielder.

3:37: Kennedy hits Nyjer Morgan in the leg by a pitch with two outs. Obviously no intent there. Here comes Ryan Braun.

3:30: Gallardo just needed seven pitches to set the Diamondbacks aside. It’s 1-0 Brewers moving to the bottom of the fifth.

3:26: Ian Kennedy was able to get a couple ground balls from Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy to end the inning. He’s actually pretty fortunate to walk away with only one run scoring considering the bases were loaded with nobody out. Yovani Gallardo is dealing right now, but this could come back to bite them.

3:22: Jerry Hairston Jr. drives in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly on the first pitch.

3:21: Rickie Weeks is hit by the pitch. And the crowd boos. Yeah, because Ian Kennedy really wants to hit somebody right now. Sigh. Bases loaded for Hairston.

3:20: Prince Fielder takes advantage of the shift for a double down the left field line. Runners on second and third for Rickie Weeks now. None out.

3:19: Ryan Braun rips a leadoff single into left field. Table set for Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.

3:13: Gets Chris Young swinging for the final out. Gallardo now has five strikeouts over four scoreless innings. We’re moving to the bottom of the fourth in Milwaukee.

3:10: Miguel Montero sends one to the warning track in right-center field for the second out of the inning. Hill still on first base.

3:06: Leadoff walk for Aaron Hill on a very, very close pitch. Didn’t swing, either.

3:01: This probably isn’t the case, but it sort of sounded like Nyjer Morgan has the X-Files theme for his at-bat music. Wouldn’t be that surprising, I suppose. Anyway, he goes down looking for the third out. We’re scoreless through three innings.

3:00: Gallardo pops up the first pitch, which is a shame, because he’s one of my favorite hitting pitchers. Some others? Mike Leake, Dontrelle Willis, Livan Hernandez. Any other good ones I’m missing?

2:56: And Gallardo sits them down in order. We’re still scoreless going into the bottom of the third.

2:53: And now Ian Kennedy goes down looking. Three Ks for Gallardo through the first nine batters.

2:49: Parra goes down looking for the first out. I’d still rather have him leading off than Bloomquist, though.

2:46: Lucroy flies out to left for the final out in the bottom of the second inning. A missed opportunity, as they leave two runners on and do not score.

On the bright side for the Brewers, they made Kennedy threw 27 pitches. He’s at 39 pitches through two innings.

2:42: Hairston reaches on a hard-hit infield single after a long at-bat. Ryan Roberts couldn’t quite get the handle, but he at least prevented the ball from going down the third base line.

2:37: Ian Kennedy walks Rickie Weeks for the first Brewers’ baserunner of the game. Ron Kulpa gave him the outside corner on Fielder, but he just missed this time.

2:32: These constant “Big Bang Theory” promos almost make me long for the days of Frank Caliendo. Almost.

2:30: Overbay goes down swinging for the second out while Ryan Roberts flies out to right for the final out of the top of the second.

By the way, did you happen to notice Gallardo’s final three starts this season? 12Ks, 13Ks, 11Ks. Ridiculous.

2:26: Not sure how accurate this pitch tracker is on TBS, but I’m enjoying it so far. Not too distracting.

2:22: Ian Kennedy shuts the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the first.

2:16: No score as we move to the bottom of the first. The remarkable part about that first inning was how the announcers talked about swinging at first pitches as if that is a good thing. OK.

2:12: Single to left by Justin Upton, but Bloomquist is gunned down at the plate by Ryan Braun. And it wasn’t all that close.

2:11: Bloomquist now steals second base. The Diamondbacks have a runner in scoring position with one out.

2:08: Well, he made me shut up rather quickly. Single of the first pitch of the ballgame.

2:07: Wow, nothing quite like Willie Bloomquist and his .317 career on-base percentage leading off a playoff game.

2:00 PM ET: The American League began postseason play yesterday (though not completely, thanks to the suspended game in New York), but now it’s the National League’s turn, as the Diamondbacks and Brewers will play Game 1 of the NLDS.

Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) is on the hill for the D-Backs while Yovani Gallardo (17-10) will get the call for the Brewers.

I’ll be dropping some of my random thoughts and observations here throughout the ballgame. Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Looking for lineups? We have you covered right here.

Ruben Amaro is workin’ out and gettin’ ready to coach first base

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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One of the weirder stories of the offseason was Ruben Amaro going from the Phillies front office to the Red Sox, where he’ll coach first base. That kind of transition is almost unheard of but it’s happening with old Rube.

Today Pete Abraham of the Globe has a story about how Amaro is preparing for the role. And how, while it may look weird on paper, the move actually makes a lot more sense than you might suspect given the Red Sox’ coaching staff and Amaro’s own background. It’s good stuff. Go check it out.

On a personal note, it serves as a signal to me to keep my eyes peeled for reports about Amaro from Fort Myers once camp gets started:

Amaro has been working out in recent weeks with his nephew Andrew, a Phillies prospect, to get ready for throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes.

Could we be so lucky as to get the first-ever Best Shape of His Life report for a coach? God, I hope so!

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.