The Brewers kept Gio Gonzalez on the mound for just two innings as they kicked off Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers on Friday. Gonzalez expended 32 pitches in that span and fired off a 1-2-3 inning to retire the side in the first. In the second inning, he wasn’t quite so lucky:
The blistering line drive home run from Manny Machado clocked in at a whopping 115.6 MPH and needed just 173 feet to clear the fence and land in the right-field bullpen. According to Statcast, the 25-year-old slugger hasn’t hit a harder home run since the beginning of the Statcast era in 2015.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound and Gonzalez gone, it looked as though the Dodgers had a chance of keeping their slim lead over the Brewers, at least for a little while. Right-hander Brandon Woodruff replaced Gonzalez at the top of the third inning and retired the next three batters, polishing off the top half of the inning with a three-pitch strikeout to Justin Turner.
And then, on a 2-2 fastball from Kershaw in the bottom of the inning, he punched a leadoff home run of his own:
The massive 407-footer not only evened the score, but placed Woodruff in rare company as well. Per Christopher Kamka of NBC Sports Chicago, the last relief pitcher to register a postseason home run was Travis Wood, who logged a solo homer for the Cubs during the 2016 NLDS. Prior to that? Rosy Ryan did it in the World Series… for the 1924 New York Giants.
The Brewers currently lead 2-1 in the fourth following Hernan Perez‘s go-ahead sac fly off of Kershaw.
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”