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Bush helps Crew cut NLDS deficit to 2-1

Brewers cut NLDS deficit to 2-1

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MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are still breathing.

Fueled by 43,992 towel-waving fans, not to mention the fact they were in "win-or-go-home" territory, the Brewers' bats came alive in a 4-1 win over the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Saturday in Milwaukee's first home postseason game in 26 years.

The Brewers still trail in the series, two games to one, but they avoided elimination Saturday thanks to starter Dave Bush's pitching and a patient offensive attack, and forced a Game 4 at noon CT on Sunday.

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"We're on the board, and that's what it's all about," said Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron, who reached safely four times and scored twice. "We put a little pressure on [the Phillies] for a change."

In one sense, the Brewers are trying to buck history. Of the 18 NL teams that fell into an 0-2 Division Series hole, only four forced a Game 4 -- including the Brewers. Of the previous three teams, none got as far as a Game 5.

But in another sense, the Brewers are bidding to repeat history. They lost the first two games of the best-of-five 1982 American League Championship Series to the Angels in Anaheim, then stormed back in Milwaukee to win three in a row and the pennant.

The '08 Brewers would have to go back on the road to repeat the feat. If the Brewers can pull off a Game 4 win on Sunday behind Jeff Suppan, Game 5 would be played in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"We're back in the series," said Brewers infielder Craig Counsell, who was involved in a strange obstruction play in the ninth inning. "We have to win two now, instead of three."

With their 4-1 win over the Phillies in Game 3 on Saturday night, the Brewers became just the fourth team to force a Game 4 after falling into an 0-2 NLDS hole.
1995 -- Rockies vs. the Braves
2004 -- Dodgers vs. the Cardinals
2006 -- Padres vs. the Cardinals
2008 -- Brewers vs. the Phillies

Bush (1-0) started and became the first Brewer to win a postseason game since Mike Caldwell took Game 5 of the 1982 World Series. The Brewers were uncharacteristically patient against Phillies starter Jamie Moyer (0-1) and handed the veteran left-hander the loss, and Brewers closer Salomon Torres benefited from that fluky play in the ninth during his first postseason save.

Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy led a balanced Brewers offense with three hits -- equaling the whole team's output in its Game 2 loss -- and was one of four players to drive in a run. Cameron and Bush both credited the raucous Milwaukee fans, who cheered wildly when Bush threw a first-pitch ball to Jimmy Rollins, then retired the side in order on nine more pitches in the top of the first inning.

"That was thrilling," Bush said of the atmosphere under the done at Miller Park. "I know everybody here has waited a long, long time to be in that situation."

Cameron helped keep the fans in the game in the bottom of the first, when he worked a leadoff walk against Moyer and Bill Hall followed with another. After Ryan Braun popped out, Prince Fielder put the Brewers on the board with a sacrifice fly and Hardy lined an RBI single to left field for a quick 2-0 lead.

Braun hit another sacrifice fly in the fifth inning against reliever Clay Condrey, and Jason Kendall tacked on an RBI single in the seventh against Scott Eyre.

"For whatever reason, in the biggest game of the year, the guys were under control," Brewers hitting coach Jim Skaalen said. "They looked very calm to me."

The Brewers are not exactly known for a "calm" offense. They had six players finish the regular season with more than 100 strikeouts, and as a team they ranked ninth in the 16-team National League with 550 walks.

But Cameron and Hall helped set a different tone on Saturday against Moyer, who couldn't get the extra inches off the outside corner he needed from plate umpire Brian Runge. For the first time in the series, the Brewers consistently took pitches. Counsell called them "disciplined."


"We're on the board, and that's what it's all about. We put a little pressure on [the Phillies] for a change."
-- Mike Cameron

"It's always the design, despite what it looks like sometimes," Skaalen said. "We try to control our approach and have a plan. We're a little sketchy with that sometimes."

Bush and the Brewers' relief corps took it the rest of the way. Bush didn't allow a run until the sixth inning, when Jayson Werth's leadoff triple fell out of Corey Hart's glove after the Brewers' right fielder crashed into the wall and then hit the dirt. The ball trickled out of Hart's glove before he had an opportunity to show the umpire he had control.

Bush retired Chase Utley on a popup before manager Dale Sveum went to lefty reliever Mitch Stetter to face Ryan Howard, who hit a run-scoring groundout. Sveum then turned to right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who retired Pat Burrell on an inning-ending groundout.

Villanueva singled in the bottom of the sixth inning but was stranded at third, then pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Eric Gagne worked around Werth's two-out double in the eighth before Torres, who struggled down the stretch for Milwaukee, came out for the ninth.

Torres surrendered singles to each of the first three hitters he faced, loading the bases. But the Brewers caught a break when Pedro Feliz hit a double-play grounder and the Phillies runner at first -- Shane Victorino -- was called for obstruction when he ran into Counsell.

The run that initially scored on the play was called back, leaving the Phillies with runners at second and third and two outs. Torres fielded a comebacker from Carlos Ruiz and lobbed the ball to first base to end the game.

"It's amazing how things work out," Torres said.

Torres said his own confidence after escaping the inning without allowing a run was "through the roof." Cameron felt the same way, even though the team was facing yet another elimination game on Sunday.

"[Sunday] is probably the biggest day of our season," Cameron said.

Probably?

"Most definitely," he said with a laugh. "We've had a lot of those already."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["division_series" ] }
{"content":["division_series" ] }
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