Mil­wau­kee tops Los An­ge­les to claim Game 1

Woodruff be­comes third re­liever to hit a home run in post­sea­son his­tory

San Antonio Express-News - - MLB - By Ge­naro C. Ar­mas

MIL­WAU­KEE — So they can hit, too.

Re­liever Bran­don Woodruff stunned ace Clay­ton Ker­shaw with an early home run and Mil­wau­kee’s nor­mally shut­down bullpen held on — barely — as the Brew­ers beat the sloppy Los An­ge­les Dodgers 6-5 Fri­day night in Game 1 of the NL Cham­pi­onship Series.

Hard-throw­ing Josh Hader and the Brew­ers earned their 12th straight win, one shy of the fran­chise record set to open the 1987 sea­son.

The Dodgers scored three times in the eighth to make it 6-4, then nearly tied it in the ninth. Chris Tay­lor hit an RBI triple off cen­ter fielder Lorenzo Cain’s glove with two outs be­fore Corey Knebel fanned Justin Turner to end it.

Ker­shaw was chased be­fore he could re­tire a bat­ter in the fourth in­ning. Manny Machado home­red and drove in three runs for Los An­ge­les. The Dodgers com­mit­ted four er­rors, in­clud­ing two by catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal, who also had two passed balls.

Game 2 is Satur­day at Miller Park, with Wade Mi­ley pitch­ing for the Brew­ers against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Mil­wau­kee man­ager Craig Coun­sell’s pitch­ing-by­commit­tee strat­egy con­tin­ued to be a hit, at least un­til the late in­nings.

Knebel re­stored order by strik­ing out Turner. Woodruff picked up the win and helped him­self at the plate.

Af­ter starter Gio Gonzalez went two in­nings, nicked by Machado’s home run, Woodruff en­tered in the top of the third. In the bot­tom half, Woodruff made a sud­den im­pact — with his bat. Woodruff be­came just the third relief pitcher to homer in the post­sea­son, tag­ging a three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner for a ty­ing solo drive. Woodruff pumped both arms as he rounded first, while Ker­shaw turned away and looked down.

“I’ve never seen Bran­don like that,” Coun­sell said. “To make it the first run your team scores in the NLCS and a homer off Clay­ton Ker­shaw, that’s how you should run around the bases. That’s ex­actly how you should run around the bases. The thing is is it just fired ev­ery­body up. The crowd went crazy. And our dugout, it cer­tainly changed the en­ergy in our dugout from what you think is go­ing to be kind of a grinded-out game against Clay­ton. And then when that hap­pens, it gives ev­ery­body life.”

An­other mis­er­able Oc­to­ber night was just be­gin­ning for Ker­shaw, whose reg­u­larsea­son bril­liance has of­ten dis­ap­peared in the post­sea­son. And it wasn’t even Chris­tian Yelich and the Brew­ers’ stars who got to him. Her­nan Perez hit a sacri­fice fly later in the third, and pinch-hit­ter Domingo San­tana had a two-run sin­gle in the fourth.

It was the short­est post­sea­son start of Ker­shaw’s ca­reer. He had a 4.65 ERA in 10 ca­reer ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing seven starts, go­ing into Fri­day.

Je­sus Aguilar added a solo home run in the sev­enth for the Brew­ers.

Jeff Roberson / As­so­ci­ated Press

Righthander Bran­don Woodruff, who has been used as both a starter and a re­liever for the Brew­ers, cel­e­brates fol­low­ing his home run off Los An­ge­les starter Clay­ton Ker­shaw. Woodruff also was cred­ited with the vic­tory.

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