Atlanta—and in the fourth game, the offense finally erupted.
As of Tuesday, the National League Division Series between Atlanta and Milwaukee was nothing more than pitching masterpieces with three games totaling nine runs. Game 4, the first of the series with the fate of the season, finally brought the bat out.
By the end of the night, after a few doses of evening power and pinch hitting and, yes, very good pitching, Atlanta defeated Milwaukee 5-4 and advanced to the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row.
“The runs were hard to come by,” said Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, “but even when they were hard to come by we still got two wins and we were able to do that today.”
Indeed, Atlanta showed on Tuesday that it could do so after failing to strike first.
In the fourth inning, Avicel Garcia, a right-handed Milwaukee outfielder, jumped on a fastball, fired by Charlie Morton to start an at-bat from one to the left. Morton’s wrong pickoff attempt allowed García to move to second, where he had stayed when Luis Ureus went on five pitches.
With a single out, Omar Narvez picked up a fastball to the center for a single which scored Garcia and Uris was moved to third. 8 hitter Lorenzo Cain of Milwaukee quickly converted a sinker into a single and gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
But Milwaukee’s any ambition to maintain that trend vanished in the bottom half of the innings when, with bases loaded, Atlanta pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario slammed into the batsman’s box.
One slider went bad. A fastball became a so-called strike. Another fastball, another foul, still a 0-2 count with two outs. Rosario then brought Truist Park to life, engaging with a fastball and sending it toward shallow center, tying the game.
Of course, Rowdy Tellez, the man whose home Morton decided Game 1, was in the fifth inning. Christian Yelich sang. Garcia swung three consecutive sliders off AJ Minter and missed.
Minter stuck to the slider as it approached the tailedge. This time, he hit it 448 feet for a home run.
Atalanta offered far less glamorous or swift response in their half of the fifth – including the choice of a fielder from Jock Pedersen’s slightly-cold-but-still-hot bat and one to the right – but tied the game again.
“You can tell the team is hungry to take the next step and move on and make progress,” Rosario said.
Milwaukee turned to one of their scary faces, left-handed reliever Josh Haider, in the eighth. With his third All-Star selection, with a 1.23 earned-run average in 60 games this season, Haider dazzled Milwaukee as a strikeout machine.
But Freeman does not easily succumb to glare.
Haider, whose slider had already tormented two Atlanta batsmen on Tuesday, made another offer and Freeman took a wide, powerful cut on him.
Milwaukee’s hopes of surviving the series were cut short when the ball reached the left-centre stand – as Freeman had decided to do from the moment it made contact – and the stadium, which was already reeling from Atlanta’s signature chants and It was echoing with taunts throughout the night, roared anew.
“I didn’t know he was going slider-happy,” Freeman said of Hader, “but I just looked up and away to stop the slider from swinging down and away, and luckily he found one there. threw away. “
Atlanta and Milwaukee entered Game 4 and began pitching after testing radically different approaches for the following season. Atlanta sent out Morton, who had bowled six innings in Milwaukee on Friday, when manager Brian Snitker applied the teachings of a man who coached in the early 1950s to explain his choices in the 21st century. Had it.
“It wasn’t short rest — it was the norm, until we made it,” Snitker said. “In Johnny Sen’s days when he was a pitching coach, he used to pitch for all the guys for two days and then.”
It seemed that Milwaukee’s Craig Counsel could hardly uphold such an idea, much less act upon it: he refused to deploy Corbin Burns, the Cy Young Award contender, to the Brewers’ victory. Two hits were allowed in six innings on Friday. To match
“He wanted to do it, but we had to make sure he was physically ready to do it,” Counsel, whose club largely relied on a six-man rotation during the regular season, said before the game. . “He’s not ready to do that.”
This left Milwaukee with left-hander Eric Lauer, who last pitched on October 1, to face an Atlanta lineup full of right-handers.
Morton lasted three and a third innings and conceded two runs for four hits. He scored five runs. Lauer did not last long; He played three and two-thirds innings, giving four hits and conceding two runs.
Atlanta used seven pitchers on Tuesday, and Milwaukee sent five to the mound during a game that lasted nearly four hours.
“At the moment, we are all really disappointed,” Counsel later said. “And it’s hard to let go of the despair sitting here right now. That’s it. But I think we had bigger goals in the end. We didn’t get there at all. But you win 95 games, it’s a special group, and they’ve achieved certain things.”
At the Atlanta clubhouse, champagne was spewing — and plans for the NLCS, which begin Saturday, look just a little bit into the future.
Solar Ruled Out
Hours before Tuesday’s first pitch, Major League Baseball announced that Atlanta’s leadoff hitter, George Soler, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Christian Pache replaced Soler, who hit .269 for Atlanta this season, after a July trade from Kansas City, on the Division Series roster, and Atlanta changed their lineup to put Dansby Swanson in the order. Under baseball’s health protocol, Soler could return during the NLCS