A pressure-packed Game 1 of the wild-card series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers was close and tight all night. Finally, first baseman Christian Walker broke through in the top of the ninth with a two-run double against dominant closer Devin Williams, of all pitchers, to give the D-backs breathing room. Ultimately, Walker’s extra-base hit sealed the deal.
Here’s more from their 6-3 win over the Brewers in Game 1 at American Family Field.
What we’ll remember
Evan Longoria’s leaping catch with the bases loaded in the fifth inning will be seared into the minds of Diamondbacks fans for a long time. Turning 38 on Saturday, and in his 16th season in the big leagues, Longoria went airborne on a Tyrone Taylor line drive off third base. He snagged the liner, then fired to second base to turn an inning-ending double play. The clutch catch kept the D-backs up, 4-3, instead of allowing the Brewers to break the game open.
The third baseman put on a show all night, later using his quick instincts to flip the ball to second and catch Christian Yelich slipping off the base for an out. In a tight contest like this Game 1, Longoria’s key plays made a big difference. Vintage Longo.
A combination of seven Arizona arms limited the Brew Crew to three runs on Tuesday despite surrendering 12 hits and four walks. The D-backs’ pitching staff gets MVP honors for its brilliant bullpen performance, with a special mention for rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt who did a solid job in his first career playoff start.
The D-backs looked weaker on paper with a rookie going up against Brewers ace Corbin Burnes in the opener. Instead, Arizona’s cavalry of arms seriously shut down the Brewers. After Pfaadt exited his start in the third, the D-backs bullpen put up goose eggs for 6.1 innings. Right-hander Paul Sewald capped it off with his first career postseason save.
Inside the box score
Both the Brewers and D-backs had ample opportunity to pull away thanks to heavy traffic on the basepaths, but each team struggled to cash in runs. Arizona went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position; Milwaukee went 2-for-10. The D-backs left nine men on base and the Brewers left 10.
In the end, the D-backs finally broke their postseason drought with a critical come-from-behind victory. Arizona on Tuesday improved to 1-14 in postseason history when trailing by three or more runs. The squad is now set up nicely to advance to the NLDS.
What surprised us?
Though Burnes did struggle with the long ball this year, he only coughed up three-plus home runs in two of his regular-season starts. So, the three-homer barrage from his second time through the order was startling.
The belief was Milwaukee needed to give Burnes just a little bit of run support to comfortably take Game 1, given how dominant its pitching staff is all the way from Burnes to Williams. The Brewers did just that as early as the first inning, tacking on one run against Pfaadt before Taylor homered in the second to make it 3-0. But Burnes allowed the D-backs to come back in the third as Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte hit back-to-back home runs. Arizona took a 4-3 lead against Burnes when catcher Gabriel Moreno went yard in the fourth.
On Wednesday night at the same time and the same place, Zac Gallen (17-9, 3.47 ERA) will try to send the D-backs into the NLDS. Freddy Peralta (12-10, 3.86 ERA) will do his best to keep Milwaukee’s season alive and push the series to a winner-takes-all Game 3.
Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.
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