MILWAUKEE (CBSLA/AP) — Ryan Braun slid across home plate and raised his arms in sheer joy.
A big lead, a bruising bullpen and a boisterous crowd have the Milwaukee Brewers all set up for Game 7.
Jesus Aguilar sparked Milwaukee’s slumping lineup with three RBIs on a pair of two-out hits, and the Brewers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 on Friday night to even the NL Championship Series at three games each.
Game 7 is Saturday night in front of the same frenzied crowd that booed Manny Machado vociferously after he tangled with Aguilar while the series was in Los Angeles. Dodgers rookie Walker Buehler faces journeyman Jhoulys Chacin, with well-rested relief ace Josh Hader looming in the bullpen for Milwaukee after a surprise day off.
It will the Brewers’ first Game 7 since losing to St. Louis in 1982 in their only World Series appearance. The Dodgers dropped Game 7 of the World Series last year to Houston.
David Freese led off this Game 6 with a home run that quieted Miller Park — but just for a moment.
Backed by raucous fans waving yellow towels that read “ONE TOUGH CREW,” Milwaukee rebounded from consecutive losses at Dodger Stadium with the same formula it used to win the NL Central during a breakout season.
Some timely hitting by Aguilar and company produced an early lead, and Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress led the way in another shutdown performance by Milwaukee’s tough bullpen.
Los Angeles was looking for its second straight NL pennant and some time to prepare for the mighty Boston Red Sox in the World Series. But Hyun-Jin Ryu was tagged for four runs in the first inning, two on a double by Aguilar that sent Braun sliding home.
Back home, KCAL9’s Greg Mills found no shortage of Dodger fans who remain upbeat and positive about the team’s chances on Saturday.
Are these fans diehards or in denial? Mills did report from the Pub at Golden Road in Glendale. Either way, there was very little crying into beer at this establishment.
These fans could be underestimating the power of the Brewers bullpen they’ve been pretty much lights-out all season and Friday evening was no different.
After Wade Miley pitched into the fifth inning in his second straight start, Knebel, Jeffress and Corbin Burnes closed it out with hitless relief. Knebel got the win and Burnes retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth, setting off a wild celebration for the crowd of 43,619.
If manager Craig Counsell was tempted to bring in the dominant Hader, Aguilar likely erased that urge when he scored on a wild pitch in the seventh and then singled in Cain in the eighth. The big first baseman had driven in just one run in the series heading into Game 6.
Freese drove in both runs for the Dodgers. The rest of the Los Angeles lineup managed just three measly singles. Hounded by boos all night long, Machado went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts
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