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 Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.