Moustakas scores Yelich in 10th, Brewers top Rox in opener
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE — Extra innings, two outs and the winning run on third in Game 1 of the playoffs.
Short on playoff experience, the Milwaukee Brewers dealt for veteran Mike Moustakas over the summer to produce in just this kind of spot.
Moustakas scored MVP front-runner Christian Yelich with a two-out single in the 10th inning, and the Brewers bounced back to beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 Thursday in their NL Division Series opener.
After giving up two runs in the ninth that made it 2-all, the Brewers regrouped and soon celebrated. Making their first postseason appearance since 2011, they won their ninth straight game overall.
Moustakas had already produced for Kansas City in October, hitting .304 in the 2015 World Series to help beat the Mets.
He’s doing it again in Milwaukee after being acquired from the Royals in late July.
“Being in a postseason a couple years back, it definitely helps,” Moustakas said.
Chants of “Mooose!” echoed around Miller Park after the winning hit.
Game 2 is Friday in Milwaukee with Colorado’s Tyler Anderson opposing Jhoulys Chacin, who led Milwaukee with 35 starts this year. He started Monday when the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the NL Central tiebreaker at Wrigley Field.
Yelich hit a two-run homer in the third inning, then opened the 10th with a walk against Adam Ottavino, coming back from an 0-2 count.
Yelich made his postseason debut, though the even-keeled star spoke as if he had been through this before.
“You’re just trying to slow the situation down … find a way to get on and make something happen, put some pressure on him,” Yelich said. “And Moose was able to come through there at the end with the huge hit.”
Yelich advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on Moustakas’ line drive to right field. After almost winning the Triple Crown this year, Yelich got two hits, scored twice and stole a base in his playoff debut.
Josh Hader and the Brewers allowed just one hit over eight innings in a dominant bullpen game and led 2-0 before Jeremy Jeffress gave up three straight singles to open the ninth. Charlie Blackmon grounded an RBI single shortly after his ground-rule double was overruled on replay review, and Nolan Arenado added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to tie it.
But Colorado couldn’t come through in extras again after outlasting the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in 13 innings in the NL wild-card game on Tuesday.
“Everybody knows I throw a lot of sliders. In that spot, I wanted to elevate. I wanted to get a little higher than I got it,” Ottavino said. “I think I guessed what he was looking for wrong there.”
Joakim Soria picked up the win in the opener with a scoreless 10th.
MOOSE IS LOOSE
The two-time All-Star third baseman had 15 RBIs in 31 postseason games while with the Royals.
Make it 16 now in Milwaukee.
“Look, Moose has been in those spots,” manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s something that you try to not make the situation too big, and he did a great job of it and finally got a pitch to it.”
The big-hitting Rockies, meanwhile, are still struggling to find their stroke. After beating the Cubs earlier in the week, this visit to Miller Park meant them playing in a different city for the fourth time in five days.
“Time will tell, but I think the day off helped yesterday,” skipper Bud Black said. “I think the postseason energizes players.”
With more and more teams relying exclusively on relievers in the regular season, the Brewers tried to take the new-wave approach to a new level in October. Out of the six pitchers who took the mound, only Jeffress allowed any runs.
Corbin Burnes, who tossed scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, was the only other reliever to allow a hit.
Colorado was 1 of 23 with 10 strikeouts over the first eight innings. They were 3 of 6 in the ninth.
Matt Holliday’s pinch-hit single in the ninth was his 15th career postseason with Colorado, tying him with Yorvit Torrealba atop the team’s career playoff hits list. … Yelich became just the fifth Brewers player to reach base at least four times in a postseason game. … OF Ryan Braun went 2 for 5 to record his ninth career multihit game in the postseason.
Anderson (7-9, 4.55 ERA) starts Game 2 in Milwaukee, coming off 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 12-0 win on Sunday over Washington that set up the NL West tiebreaker game the next day against the Dodgers. It was the left-hander’s first victory since July 4. Chacin (15-8, 3.50) turned into the Brewers’ most consistent starting pitcher this season. He will work on three days’ rest after allowing one run and one hit in 5 2/3 innings in that win over the Cubs.
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