Randy Wolf dazzled in St. Louis Thursday night to knot the National League Championship Series at 2 games a piece. With the 4-2 victory, Milwaukee guaranteed a game 6 at Miller Park (where they have a MLB-best 61 wins this season) and also snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs dating back to 1982. The Brewers were in desperate need of a quality start from someone not named Gallardo, and Wolf delivered the most clutch performance of his career. The crafty southpaw dominated Cardinal hitters through seven innings, striking out six while allowing one walk and six hits en route to his first postseason win. His only two blemishes were solo home runs by Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. The familiar K-Rod / Ax-Man combo finished off the game in the final two innings. To nobody’s surprise, Jerry Hairston continued his exquisite postseason play, smacking two doubles and a RBI. Ryan Braun, Yuni Betancourt, and George Kottaras also chipped in with RBIs, as the Brewers climbed out of an early 2-0 hole to rattle off four unanswered runs.
The win, in my opinion, was the biggest in franchise history. The Brewers send Zack Greinke out to face Jaime Garcia tomorrow night in a pivotal Game 5 in St. Louis. It seems as if the Cardinals bats have gone silent; they are 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position since the first inning of Game 4.
Game 6 will be in Milwaukee on Sunday night. Go Brewers!
1. Philadelphia Phillies (33-20; 1st NL East)
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels have combined to go 17-9 with a 2.93 ERA, 250 strikeouts and only 44 walks.
2. Cleveland Indians (31-19; 1st AL Central)
Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .452 (19/42) with runners in scoring position this season.
3. Boston Red Sox (30-23; 1st AL East)
Adrian Gonzalez (45) and Kevin Youkilis (34) trail only Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder (42) and Ryan Braun (38) for the duo with the most RBI.
4. Florida Marlins (30-21; 2nd NL East)
Leo Nunez leads all of baseball with 18 saves in 19 chances.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (32-22; 1st NL Central)
Lance Berkman (.354 AVG/.473 OBP) and Matt Holliday (.347/.440) are making up for Albert Pujols’ slow start (.257/.326).
6. Milwaukee Brewers (29-24; 2nd NL Central)
Ryan Braun ranks top 10 in the majors in runs (40), hits (62), triples (3), homers (12), RBI (38), total bases (114), walks (31) and steals (13).
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (29-24; 1st NL West)
Superb pitching has led Arizona to a MLB best 9-1 in their last 10 games.
8. New York Yankees (28-23; 2nd AL East)
Derek Jeter is only 20 hits away from becoming the first New York Yankee to reach 3,000.
9. Texas Rangers (28-25; 1st AL West)
Josh Hamilton has driven in a run in 4 of 6 games since coming off the disabled list May 23.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (28-24; 3rd AL East)
Jeremy Hellickson, 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA, looks to be the early favorite for AL Rookie of the Year.
If the season ended today:
AL MVP: Jose Bautista – RF – TOR
NL MVP: Ryan Braun – LF – MIL
AL Cy Young: Trevor Cahill – SP – OAK
NL Cy Young: Jair Jurrjens – SP – ATL