Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacín tossed 5 1/3 highly effective, shutout innings to help lead his team past the Dodgers 4-0 in Game 3 of the NLCS Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The journeyman, who had to settle for minor league contracts in 2015 and ’16, has yet to allow a run in the postseason.
The Brewers’ offense helped take some of the pressure off Chacín, giving him a run of support in the top of the first inning against Walker Buehler. Buehler walked Christian Yelich, who promptly scored when Ryan Braun ripped a double down the left field line. Buehler otherwise pitched quite well as he wouldn’t relent his second run until the sixth inning when he uncorked a wild pitch with two outs.
Manager Craig Counsell opted to take Chacín out of the game with one out in the sixth after Justin Turner reached second base due to a throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas. Chacín was double-switched out and Corey Knebel came in, getting the final two outs of the frame to send the game into the seventh. Orlando Arcia provided some insurance in the top half of the seventh, hitting an opposite-field two-run home run off of Buehler to make the score 4-0. Knebel remained in the game in the bottom half of the seventh and simply struck out the side. Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, and Enrique Hernández each went down swinging.
Joakim Soria started the eighth inning for the Brewers, giving the appearance that they might not call on Josh Hader, who threw three innings and 46 pitches in Game 1. But after Soria got Chris Taylor to pop out, Counsell brought Hader into the game to face the left-handed Joc Pederson and Max Muncy. David Freese pinch-hit for Pederson, then struck out. Hader provided the same fate to Matt Kemp, pinch-hitting for Muncy. Hader needed only eight pitches, which opens the possibility he might be used in Games 4 and/or 5 as well.
In the ninth, Counsell handed the ball to Jeremy Jeffress, fresh off a disastrous performance in Game 2 which saw him give up an eventual game-winning two-run home run to Justin Turner. This time around, Turner settled for a leadoff single. Manny Machado moved him over to third base with a double, and once again Jeffress was in trouble. Jeffress got Cody Bellinger to pop up, but loaded the bases by walking Puig to bring up Grandal, who had become something of a goat after allowing his third passed ball of the NLCS earlier in the game. Grandal struck out on three pitches for the second out, returning to the dugout amid a chorus of boos. The Dodgers’ final hope rested in the hands of Brian Dozier. Jeffress threw a 1-2, 96.5 MPH fastball that caught the outside corner of the plate and Dozier took it for strike three. Jeffress somehow wriggled out of trouble to put the 4-0 victory in the books for the Brewers.
The Brewers will look to extend their NLCS lead on Tuesday as the two squads match up against in Los Angeles for Game 4. Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers. The Brewers haven’t yet announced their starter.