Brewers chase Ker­shaw, take opener

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BASEBALL - By Ge­naro C. Ar­mas Ge­naro C. Ar­mas is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

MIL­WAU­KEE — The high five at the plate from Bran­don Woodruff nearly took out Lorenzo Cain.

It’s not of­ten that re­liever hits a home run.

Bat­ting left-handed. Off left-han­der Clay­ton Ker­shaw. In the play­offs.

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

Mil­wau­kee earned its 12th straight win, one shy of the fran­chise record set to open the 1987 sea­son.

Woodruff, of all peo­ple, had the mo­men­tum­swing­ing hit.

“It’s some­thing ob­vi­ously com­ing into the day, you don’t know in your wildest dreams that’s go­ing to hap­pen,” he said.

It was the first time in post­sea­son his­tory that a pitcher home­red in a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup. Woodruff un­der­stand­ably was pumped as he rounded the bases.

“He was fired up when he came home. He nearly broke my arm,” Cain said.

Ker­shaw was chased be­fore he could re­tire a bat­ter in the fourth in­ning, al­low­ing five runs and six hits in the short­est post­sea­son start of his ca­reer. He had a 4.65 ERA in 10 ca­reer ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing seven starts, go­ing into Fri­day.

“Got to do a bet­ter of keep­ing the score close for our guys to have a chance there at the end,” Ker­shaw said. “It was a tough one. Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to get your team off to that start.”

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 Cain’s glove in deep cen­ter field with two outs be­fore Corey Knebel fanned Justin Turner to end it.

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

The Dodgers did some dam­age against the Brewers’ bullpen. Mil­wau­kee used seven pitch­ers, in­clud­ing three score­less in­nings from Josh Hader. Woodruff threw two per­fect in­nings and got the win.

“But for us to get a look at these guys out of the ’pen in a seven-game se­ries, I think that’s a good thing,” Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts said.

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.

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

Fi­nally, the hardthrow­ing Knebel re­stored or­der by strik­ing out Turner. Knebel walked Joc Ped­er­son with two outs be­fore Tay­lor’s long drive.

“It’s the post­sea­son and any­thing can hap­pen, you saw right there. It was a good feel­ing for it to go our way right there at the end,” Knebel said.

Af­ter Mil­wau­kee 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 the third re­lief pitcher to homer in the post­sea­son. He pumped both arms as he rounded first base, while Ker­shaw turned away and looked down at the ground.

“I knew he could swing the bat a lit­tle bit, for sure,” Ker­shaw said. “I didn’t know he could do that, but I knew he could hit a lit­tle bit.”

Woodruff was 4-for-22 (.222) be­fore con­nect­ing. He had one pre­vi­ous homer, in July against Pitts­burgh’s Nick King­ham.

Dy­lan Buell / Getty Im­ages

Mil­wau­kee re­liever Bran­don Woodruff rounds first af­ter hit­ting a solo home run off Clay­ton Ker­shaw.


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