In the third inning of the Milwaukee Brewers' victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, Yovani Gallardo faced Chris Young with a runner on first and two out. Here's what the at-bat looked like:
That was the representative Yovani Gallardo sequence of the day. It's not just that he throws 94-mph with a great breaking ball -- which he certainly does -- it's that he was painting, painting, painting all afternoon long. It's hard to separate an offense that's failing to execute from a pitcher who is executing brilliantly. I'm pretty sure that the Diamondbacks' hitters shouldn't get too down on themselves after this one.
The Brewers got on the board first after loading the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, with Ryan Braun singling, Prince Fielder doubling, and Rickie Weeks getting hit by a pitch. The Brewers could only score a single, though, getting a sac fly from Jerry Hairston, Jr. and two groundouts to end the inning.
One of those groundouts came from Yuniesky Betancourt, but he redeemed himself in the sixth inning, tripling with two outs. Jonathan Lucroy singled him home to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead with Yovani Gallardo on deck.
The Brewers had more two-out magic in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Ryan Braun doubled down the right-field line, Prince Fielder hit a line-drive home run for a 4-0 lead.
In both instances, Kirk Gibson had a choice to make. He chose to pitch to Lucroy with the pitcher on deck and two outs, and he chose to pitch to Prince Fielder with a base open and two outs. Kennedy didn't even mess around with the ol' unintentional intentional walk. If the game were closer, Gibson might have been under the microscope just a little bit.
As is, it was Gallardo's game. He was mostly perfect before he allowed a solo home run to Ryan Roberts in the eighth inning. As if to reestablish his dominance like in some sort of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom special, Gallardo then struck out the side.
John Axford came in for the save, pitching a stress-free, 1-2-3 ninth, and the Brewers took the first game of the NLDS. They'll have Zack Grienke on the mound on Sunday.