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Brewers beat Dodgers 7-2 to force NLCS Game 7

Brewers win without using Josh Hader; all hands on deck tomorrow!

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Corey Knebel (1-0); LP: Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1); Save: none; Home runs: LA - David Freese (1); Mil - none

Let’s play a game 7! Box Score

The Milwaukee Brewers (3-3) rode a big four run first inning, a solid start from Wade Miley, and impeccable relief pitching to down the Los Angeles Dodgers (3-3) 7-2, forcing a game seven tomorrow night at Miller Park for the chance to represent the National League in the 2018 World Series.

The game got off to an inauspicious beginning when David Freese did the Freesian thing by starting the game with a homer off of Miley, putting LA up 1-0. Justin Turner had a one out single but Wade struck out Manny Machado (much to the delight of the partisan crowd) and Cody Bellinger on a grounder up the middle to a shifted Mike Moustakas.

Dodger starter Hyun-Jin Ryu did not do well with a lead. Lorenzo Cain led off the Brewers’ half of the first with an infield base hit with two strikes. Christian Yelich bounced to third, Ryan Braun walked, and Travis Shaw struck out. Two on, two down, a spot where the Brewers have not fared well all series. But this time, Milwaukee produced four straight hits to plate four runs, a lead they never relinquished.

Jesus Aguilar punched a double down the right field line to drive in Cain and Braun; Moustakas pulled a double into the same place to score Braunie, and Erik Kratz aimed a single to right on the ground to score Moose. 4-1 Milwaukee.

The Brewers scored their fifth run in the bottom of the second with back to back one out doubles from Yelich and Braun.

Miley gave up two more hits in the second but retired Freese on a foul out to first to end the inning, then cruised through the third and fourth three up, three down. He ran into trouble in the fifth, walking pinch hitter Brian Dozier with one down and then Freese ripped an RBI double to center to close the score to 5-2. Wade stayed in to face the lefty Max Muncy, but walked him to put two on with one down and end his night. Corey Knebel came on and retired Turner on a fly to center and struck out Machado (much to the delight of the partisan crowd) to end the inning.

Milwaukee struck out seven times from the fourth through the sixth, but loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter with two down in the fifth. Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell decided to let Knebel hit, and he unsurprisingly struck out to end the inning. Then Knebel pitched a scoreless sixth despite hitting Joc Pederson with a pitch. Who has been more valuable than Corey Knebel during this post season?

Jeremy Jeffress had the seventh and looked as good as he has all postseason, getting a foul out to Kratz, a lazy pop to left, and a strikeout. Three days off can be therapeutic.

The pop to left was courtesy of pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal, and he stayed in the game to catch in the bottom of the seventh. Aguilar led off that inning against Kenta Maeda with a long at bat and several foul balls before flicking a 3-2 slider just out of the reach of Yasiel Puig down the right field line for his second double of the night. LA elected to walk Moustakas intentionally, but pinch hitter Curtis Granderson struck out and Orlando Arcia’s topped roller was an out but advanced both runners.

With Domingo Santana pinch hitting, Grandal once again couldn’t block a pitch in the dirt; it bounce to the back-stop, allowing Aguilar to score a huge insurance run and bump the score up to 6-2.

With a four run lead Counsell went to Corbin Burnes rather than Josh Hader in the eighth, and the rookie righty retired the Dodgers in order. The Crew added their seventh run in the bottom of the inning when Aguilar’s third hit of the night drove in Lo Cain for his third RBI.

Burnes had the ninth as well and fanned Pederson and Puig, then retired Matt Kemp on a foulout to first. Milwaukee relievers worked the final 4.2 innings with no hits allowed, no walks allowed, no runs allowed, one hit batter, and five K’s. And Josh Hader will be well rested for game seven.

Tomorrow night’s deciding game seven has been moved up to a 7:09 pm Central Time start, and the Dodgers go with Walker Buehler, loser of game three, against Milwaukee’s Jhoulys Chacin who was the winner in that 4-0 final. Hope to see you there!