Corbin Burnes needed seventeen pitches to settle in for his first postseason start. In that time, he’d uncharacteristically walk two batters, deliver a wild pitch, strikeout one batter, and get out of the inning unscathed.
Burnes, who has been solid all year on his way to an ERA title and a division-winning season, often without much run support and less defensive support than projected from the team behind him, needed an assist. He’d get it in the form of a timely double play. Ozzie Albies hit a chopper of a groundball up the first base line. Rowdy Tellez fielded it, tagged the bag, hten fired a relay to Omar Narváez, who picked the low throw just in time to tag Jorge Soler, who was racing from third to home.
The double play gave Burnes, and the packed American Family Field, plenty of energy, but not necessarily control. He delivered a wild pitch that allowed Freddie Freeman to advance to third before striking out Austin Riley to end the inning.
Burnes was lights out after that, striking out six, allowing two hits, walking one other batter, and shutting down Atlanta. The rest of the contest was the low-scoring one we expected with a Burnes/Morton match-up.
The difference-maker was a Rowdy Tellez home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Avisaíl García was on first after a HBP. Down in the count, Tellez hammered a 95.8 Charlie Morton fastball well over the fence in right-center.
Playing a bullpen role in the series, Adrian Houser provided two innings of solid relief, apart from the solo home run he allowed a post-season pearled Joc Peterson. He induced plenty of groundouts and struck out one batter. The Peterson homer was the only hit he’d allow.
It wouldn’t be enough for Atlanta, who were down 2-1 when Josh Hader took the ball in the ninth. Hader got out the inning with a zero and out of the game with a save despite some traffic on the basepaths. He allowed a leadoff walk and had runners at the corners, including the go ahead run on first, when old friend Orlando Arcia came to bat. Arcia grounded out on an 82 MPH slider to end the game and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the series.
Brandon Woodruff is on the mound for Game 2 of the series tomorrow at American Family Field.