Pitching Gives Brewers Lift, Chance to Rally

CC Sabathia has allowed five earned runs in 3.2 innings. The rest of Milwaukee's staff has allowed one earned run in three games of the National League Divisional Series.

Nobody in baseball, including everyone in Philadelphia, could have expected this.

But every Milwaukee pitcher not named CC Sabathia has stifled the powerful Phillies offense, the No. 1 home run hitting team in the Senior Circuit during the regular season.

Milwaukee finally generated some offense in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series on Saturday night, posting a 4-1 victory to avoid a three-game sweep.

However, the Brewers' pitching staff, especially their bullpen, has kept the wild-card winners in every contest.

And five of them again kept Philadelphia's big boppers quiet in the first postseason contest played in Milwaukee since Game 5 of the 1982 World Series against St. Louis.

The visitors hit a few balls hard against starter Dave Bush in front of 43,992 towel-waving partisans, but the right-hander and Pittsburgh native worked 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and one run with three strikeouts and no walks.

Then Milwaukee's relievers continued to thwart the Phils as Mitch Stetter, Carlos Villanueva, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres hurled shutout ball the rest of the way—although Shane Victorino's base-running gaffe took a Philly run off the board on an interference call in the ninth.

That performance followed two contests at Citizens Bank Park in which Brewers pitchers not obtained in a trade with Cleveland allowed no earned runs in a hitter-friendly stadium filled with zealous fans.

The only runs Philadelphia scored in those two games came in the third inning against Game 1 starter Yovani Gallardo, and they were unearned after Rickie Weeks' error.

So, that means that Milwaukee's pitchers other than Sabathia have tossed 21.1 innings, allowing one earned run and no long balls.

Villanueva and Gagne in particular have been sharp, working 3.2 and two scoreless innings, respectively. Mitch Stetter also has been impressive in going 1.1 innings, setting down all of the mighty left-handed hitters he's faced so far.

Seth McClung, Manny Parra and Guillermo Mota also have combined for three scoreless frames.

That means if scheduled Game 4 starter Jeff Suppan can rekindle his playoff magic and Milwaukee's bullpen crew continues to work wonders for another nine innings Sunday, Sabathia will get a chance at redemption in a deciding Game 5 in Philly on Tuesday.


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