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MLB Playoffs - Brewers Bash Way To Game 1 NLCS Win

Johnie Freatman |
October 10, 2011 | 1:58 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

Brewers LF Ryan Braun was vital in Milwaukee's victory. (Steve Paluch/Wikimedia Commons)
Brewers LF Ryan Braun was vital in Milwaukee's victory. (Steve Paluch/Wikimedia Commons)

Two unlikely combatants squared off in the first game of the NLCS Sunday night in a hostile atmosphere.

Though no haymakers were thrown, it was the punch of the Milwaukee Brewers lineup that enabled them to pull off a come-from-behind 9-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

THE POWER OF BRAUN: Though Prince Fielder is one of the best hitters in baseball, it is Ryan Braun who continues to show he is the heart and soul of the Brewers, delivering two clutch hits that decided the game. A 463-foot, tape-measure home run in the first inning gave the Brewers an early 2-1 lead. After allowing the Cardinals to rally, Milwaukee took the lead for good on an opposite field two-run double by Braun in the fifth. Braun's .500 postseason batting average is tops in the MLB and his eight RBI are tied for first in the NL.

AN EARLY WARNING: After a near-brawl between these two teams earlier in the season and continued unflattering comments, one thing is clear: the Brewers and Cardinals don't like each other very much. How long would it take for the fire to be stoked even more? As it turns out, less than one inning. Following Braun's blast, Prince Fielder was promptly hit in the shoulder by a Jaime Garcia pitch. Though Fielder didn't appear particularly perturbed, home plate umpire Gary Darling, no doubt aware of the animosity between the two teams, gave a warning to both sides. Now the question is when the benches will clear first.

Let's put the over/under at three games.

GREINKE'S GAFFE: Normally subdued pitcher Zach Greinke surprised many with his unflattering remarks about Chris Carpenter before the series. What did Greinke do on the mound in Game 1 to validate his moxie? Well, not much. Though he got the win, Greinke allowed six earned runs in six innings.

It will be interesting to see how the comments affect Carpenter when he takes the mound in Game 3. On the surface, it certainly doesn't seem like a good idea to give more ammunition for a pitcher coming off one of the best postseason pitching performances in recent memory.

FREESE ON FIRE: Who is the Cardinal tied with Ryan Braun for most RBI in the NL Playoffs? No, it’s not Albert Pujols. Rather, it's David Freese, whose three-run homer in Game 1 momentarily put the Cardinals in control. After going hitless in the first game of the NLDS, Freese has now hit safely in his last five games.

QUOTE OF THE GAME: "It's the playoffs, bro. You've got to let it all out." -Fielder


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