Crew issues in Philly remain in Game 1
Quiet Brewers fall to 0-5 at Citizens Bank Park during 2008
PHILADELPHIA -- The calendar has flipped from September to October, but the Brewers are still 0-for-Philadelphia.They were shut down by Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels over eight innings Wednesday, and paid a high price for some missed defensive opportunities in a 3-1 loss in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park. Playing the franchise's first postseason game since 1982 under a steady rain, the Brewers showed some fight before falling to 0-5 in Philly this season. Corey Hart had a chance to add his name to Milwaukee's list of late-season home run heroes when he batted against Phillies closer Brad Lidge with runners at second and third base with two outs in the ninth, representing the go-ahead run.
Instead, Hart struck out. The Brewers' 26-year wait for a playoff win was extended at least one more day and the Phillies, with their first postseason win since 1993, took an early lead in the best-of-five series. CC Sabathia will face Philadelphia's Brett Myers in Game 2 on Thursday."We basically had to win every game to get here, so we're not going to start feeling the pressure now," Hart said. "We've been under the spotlight for a while." Wednesday's spotlight centered on Hamels (1-0), who used a fabulous changeup to keep Brewers hitters off-balance while striking out nine over eight shutout innings. He retired 14 in a row to start the game before Hart's fifth-inning single, and allowed one runner in scoring position all afternoon. That was in the sixth inning, when Craig Counsell singled and Mike Cameron drew a walk with one out. Hamels struck out Bill Hall and retired Ryan Braun on a first-pitch popout. Hamels also beat the Brewers during the Phillies' four-game sweep here from Sept. 11-14. "The only time we could get to him was when he got in the stretch," Cameron said. "That didn't happen too often today." Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (0-1) took the loss in his second start off the disabled list, allowing three unearned runs on three hits with a career-high five walks -- one was intentional -- in four innings. The 22-year-old didn't get much help from the defense in the third, when the Phillies struck for three unearned runs courtesy of a pair of Brewers misplays and three Gallardo walks. Brewers manager Dale Sveum called the inning "an unfortunate little hiccup." But it came with unfortunately large implications. No. 8 hitter Carlos Ruiz led off with a single before Hamels dropped a sacrifice bunt on the wet infield in the direction of third baseman Hall, was looking toward second base before he bobbled the slick baseball. Hall recovered and threw to first, but the ball clanked off the glove of second baseman Rickie Weeks. It was scored as an error on Weeks. "I was going to try to make that play. I was going for two," Hall said. "It's no use making excuses [about the wet conditions] because both teams had to play in it."
|"We basically had to win every game to get here, so we're not going to start feeling the pressure now. We've been under the spotlight for a while."|
|-- Corey Hart|
Jimmy Rollins followed with a flyout -- Gallardo would have been out of the inning on six pitches instead of 35 had the Brewers turned a double play on the bunt -- and Jayson Werth then struck out. Even without a double play, Werth's whiff should have ended an 11-pitch inning.Instead, it was extended for Chase Utley to drive pitch No. 17 of the frame -- a fastball that was supposed to be more elevated but sunk into the strike zone -- to straightaway center field, where the slick-fielding Cameron was fooled by the swirling wind. He was shaded toward right field so he broke first to his right, then straight back. The ball bounced in and out of Cameron's glove and was ruled a two-run double. "The wind was blowing straight in from left field and straight down," said Cameron, who compared the conditions to Chicago's Wrigley Field. "When he hit it, my first instinct was to go straight across so I could cut it off. I wasn't expecting it to go up like it did. It turned out to be a big play in the game because Cole Hamels was tough." Said Sveum: "If he doesn't catch it, there's nobody that can catch it." Gallardo intentionally walked Ryan Howard, then walked Pat Burrell and Shane Victorino to force home a third Phillies run. Before Wednesday, Gallardo had never walked more than three batters in his 21 Major League starts. "I had good velocity, pretty decent command except for that one inning where it got away a little bit," said Gallardo, who refused to use the defensive lapses as an alibi. "I guess things like that are going to happen," he said. "It's no excuse for letting your guard down. You still have to go out there and make pitches and get out of situations. ... I got away from my game plan for a couple of hitters, and you just can't do that." The Phillies' 3-0 lead stood up thanks to Hamels and then to Lidge, who was perfect in all 41 of his regular-season save opportunities but had to work for this one, allowing the Brewers' lone run to score on Braun's double before escaping. "It was still early enough for us to bounce back; we just didn't hit the ball today," Hall said. "We have to give credit to Cole for doing that. He didn't make any mistakes at all. That inning gave us a littler setback, but we should have been able to bounce back."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.