A two-run home run by Christian Yelich in the third inning seemed to be all the offense the Brewers’ pitching staff needed to emerge victorious in Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday evening. Aside from the Yelich home run, Rockies starter Anthony Senzatela pitched decently. He gave up three hits in total with two walks and struck out one on 73 pitches across five innings. The Rockies’ bullpen admirably held the Brewers scoreless for four more innings.
Brandon Woodruff got the start for the Brew Crew, tossing three scoreless, hitless innings. He yielded just one walk while striking out three. Woodruff handed the ball off to Corbin Burnes in the fourth. The right-hander fanned three and gave up only one hit in his two innings of work. Burnes passed the baton to Corey Knebel, who got five outs, surrendering a lone walk with a strikeout. Josh Hader got the final out of the seventh with a strikeout, then returned in the eighth and set down the side in 1-2-3 order.
Jeremy Jeffress, an All-Star who finished with a 1.29 ERA, came on in the ninth for the save and that’s where things went sideways for the Brewers. He immediately gave up a single to Gerardo Parra, accounting for the Rockies’ second hit of the entire game. Matt Holliday followed up with a single of his own up the middle. Charlie Blackmon then hit what appeared to be a ground-rule double down the right field line, but it was ruled foul upon replay review, taking a run off the board. Blackmon still managed to sneak a single into right field, plating the Rockies’ first run of the game. DJ LeMahieu then hit what should have been the first out of the inning, but shortstop Orlando Arcia misplayed a weak grounder, allowing the bases to become loaded. Nolan Arenado lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in the tying run. Jeffress got David Dahl to ground into a fielder’s choice and Trevor Story to strike out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied at two apiece.
Joakim Soria worked a 1-2-3 10th inning, allowing the Brewers a chance to walk it off. That they did. Facing Adam Ottavino, Yelich drew a leadoff walk. He moved to second base on a wild pitch. Ryan Braun struck out, then Ottavino intentionally walked Travis Shaw. Curtis Granderson grounded into a force out that moved Yelich to third base. Finally, with an 0-2 count, Mike Moustakas ripped a line drive single to right field to bring Yelich home and deliver the 3-2 walk-off win for the Brewers.
The victory marks the Brewers’ first postseason win since Game 4 of the 2011 NLCS against the Cardinals. They will return to Miller Park to face the Rockies in Game 2 on Friday. Tyler Anderson will oppose Jhoulys Chacin. Both teams’ bullpens did a lot of work tonight, so it will be interesting to see just how much managers Bud Black and Craig Counsell rely on their starters tomorrow.