LVP: Trevor Hoffman (-.403)
This is maybe the fifth different opening paragraph this recap has had. The Brewers didn't make it easy on me, rallying, almost blowing the game, rallying again but falling short, actually blowing the game, and then finally rallying a third time to put the monster to bed.
Down 6-4 in the bottom of the 9th, the Brewers put runners on first and second with one out before Corey Hart put together a great at-bat, spitting on a bunch of nasty 90+ MPH Brian Wilson sliders before rapping out an RBI single. J.J. Hardy followed by banging a fastball back up the middle to tie the game, abetted by an excellent slide at home plate from Mat Gamel. Ryan Braun struck out on four pitches, kindly allowing Prince Fielder to walk 'em off. Fielder's double tallied his fourth two-out RBI of the night; that WPA MVP is well-earned.
The game began, many moons ago, with Seth McClung's first start of the year. Irish Coffey allowed eight baserunners and three runs over four innings, but hey, it could have been worse. Exacerbating the problem, though, was Barry Zito's surprising dominance of the Brewers--just two hits and a walk through five shutout innings for His Flakiness. Chris Smith didn't help when he allowed Pablo Sandoval's second solo homer of the game to lead off the 5th inning.
Finally, though, the Brewers' bats came alive in the 6th inning--or rather, Zito's control came undone, as he walked Corey Hart on four pitches and Ryan Braun on five to bring Prince Fielder to the plate with two outs, and we all know that the big dog's gotta eat. Fielder's three-run bomb knocked Zito out of the game, and Casey McGehee greeted reliever Brandon Medders' first-pitch spinner with a homer of his own to knot the game at four apiece.
Mike Cameron would play a crucial role in the next two innings. Coming off the dramatic 6th, handing the lead right back would have been crushing, but Todd Coffey did exactly that in the 7th--except Cameron had other ideas, robbing Nate Schierholtz of a go-ahead homer with a beautiful catch, the best I can remember. Cam's fortunes turned in the 8th, however, as he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out to kill a Brewers rally and set the stage for Trevor Hoffman.
Flashes of the White Sox series: the Brewers rallied from behind to tie the game and brought in Hoffman in the top of the 9th, only to see him get hit hard and untie it. This time, Bells allowed three straight singles to open the frame and then two sac flies to give the Giants the lead and set the stage for the Brewers' dramatic final rally.
Look at this ridiculousness: