Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt both homered and doubled, and Prince Fielder added a two-run bomb of his own against the Cardinals as the Brewers claimed Game 1 of the NLCS 9-6.
In all, the Brewers had eight extra-base hits, the most any team has had in a postseason game since 2007. Only seven teams have ever had more extra-base hits in a postseason game:
13: NYY vs. Bos – 2004 ALCS Game 3 (won 19-8)
12: Bos vs. Cle – 1999 ALDS Game 4 (won 23-7)
10: Bos vs. NYY – 1999 ALCS Game 3 (won 13-1)
9: Pit vs. WSH – 1925 WS Game 7 (won 9-7)
9: Cle vs. Sea – 2001 ALDS Game 3 (won 17-2)
9: CHC vs. Fla – 2003 NLCS Game 1 (lost 9-8)
9: Bos vs. Col – 2007 WS Game 1 (won 13-1)
This was the first time since 2003 that an NL club had eight extra-base hits in either an LCS or World Series game. Game 1 of the 2003 NLCS between the Marlins and Cubs had both teams do it. The Marlins had eight and won 9-8 even though the Cubs had nine.
Braun got the scoring started in the first, hitting a two-run homer off Jaime Garcia. He also had a two-run double as part of the Brewers’ big six-run fifth inning. He now has seven extra-base hits and eight RBI in six postseason games this year and nine extra-base hits and 10 RBI in 10 postseason games in his career.
The bigger surprise, though, was Betancourt. Sometimes reviled for his tendency to make first-pitch outs, he had two long at-bats today, including the one that resulted in a two-run homer off Octavio Dotel in the fifth. He’s now 6-for-18 with four extra-base hits in his first postseason.
Fielder’s homer was his second this October and third in 10 career postseason games.
The Brewers also got doubles from Jerry Hairston Jr., Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.