Bats finally wake up but Hader falters, Brewers eliminated
ATLANTA — At least the Milwaukee Brewers came out swinging.
Even though Christian Yelich was unable to make it through the final.
Milwaukee had runners in scoring positions during the NL Division Series. However, RBI singles by Omar Narvaez (and Lorenzo Cain) gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in Game 4.
But after snapping a 22-inning scoreless drought, the Brewers blew a pair of two-run leads Tuesday and were eliminated when All-Star closer Josh Hader gave up the decisive homer to Freddie Freeman in a 5-4 loss to the Braves.
There weren’t many highlights to October and the Brewers are still chasing their first championship. They haven’t been to the World Series in 1982,, despite having made the playoffs each of the previous four years.
” “There are a lot things we can be proud off this year and try to carry into next year,” Brandon Woodruff, pitcher, said. “But you know what?” The goal does not change. We believe that we can win the World Series. It’s all about trying to make it .”
Hader converted 34 and 35 save opportunities during the regular season. He was asked to keep the score at 4-all in the eighth. To put Milwaukee in a 5-4 jam, he struck out the first two batters he faced.
That was it.
“He was required to pitch and the team had the right lineup to allow him to do so,” Craig Counsell, manager, said. It was our best against theirs. You’re not going to regret it — I don’t think you will ever regret that. That’s the way it works. This is how the game works. That’s how it’s supposed to work.”
Yelich took a called third strike for the final out with a runner on first against Braves closer Will Smith, who saved his third straight game in the best-of-five playoff to help the Braves advance to the NL Championship Series for the second consecutive year.
The winter will be tough for Milwaukee, who won 95 regular season games and easily won the NL Central title.
” It’s a tough job,” Woodruff stated. “We have a great team. We knew it would be difficult going into the series because of the way they can pitch and swing the ball. Their defense is excellent. It just felt like a difficult way to end the year. We felt that we were a special team. We felt special.
” The playoffs are all about momentum,” Tellez stated. “When you can make a good play, swing the bat well, throw a good pitch, have a good inning, it shifts momentum — especially when you’re on the road.”
Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer, making his first career postseason appearance, breezed through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. After giving up two runs and four hits over 3 1/3 innings, Lauer was removed from the game after striking Guillermo Heredia with an pitch.
Atlanta tied the game at 2-all in fourth on Hunter Strickland’s pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario’s two-run double.
After there were no runs in the sixth or seventh innings, Hader faced Freeman, a lefty-hitting slugger. Hader was the NL’s leading reliever with 102 strikeouts during 58 2/3 innings. He was then handed his only save, July 7, at the New York Mets. In his last 21 appearances, he gave up no runs and saved Milwaukee Game 1.
Freeman was the first left-handed hitter to hit a homer this year.
The Brewers will be looking back at the past to see what could have been.
” “I think, look at the moment, we’re all really disappointed,” Counsell stated. It’s difficult to forget the sadness right now, sitting here. It’s just how it is. However, I believe we achieved our big goals. We didn’t get there. It’s still a very special group that wins 95 contests. They did some extraordinary things. That’s what we talked about a little bit.”
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