The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES–The Milwaukee Brewers know they can count on their intimidating bullpen to get outs.
They may not have been expecting a twice-demoted shortstop to generate so much offence.
Jhoulys Chacin combined with four relievers on a five-hitter and Orlando Arcia hit a two-run homer in a 4-0 victory over the L.A. Dodgers last night that gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.
L.A. loaded the bases against Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth inning but the struggling closer shut the door.
He struck out both Yasmani Grandal and pinch-hitter Brian Dozier to complete Milwaukee’s third shutout in six playoff games this year.
“We feel like we’re in really good shape,” manager Craig Counsell said.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven series goes tonight at Dodger Stadium, with Rich Hill starting for L.A. against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez.
Ryan Braun had an early RBI double off rookie Walker Buehler, who struck out eight in seven innings.
Travis Shaw tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Arcia connected for his third post-season homer in the seventh–his second in two games.
“It’s a different guy every single day and we’ve got contributions up and down the roster,” Shaw noted.
“It’s been the story of our season.”
Chacin scattered three hits over 5 1/3 innings before giving way to Corey Knebel, who worked 1 2/3 perfect innings and struck out his last four batters.
With a runner on second and the Brewers nursing a 2-0 lead, Knebel got Manny Machado to ground out before whiffing Cody Bellinger to end the sixth.
The right-hander then fanned Yasiel Puig, Grandal, and Enrique Hernandez in the seventh.
Joakim Soria retired Chris Taylor on a foul pop-up for the first out of the eighth.
Josh Hader, who didn’t pitch in Game 2 after tossing three scoreless innings in the opener, needed only eight pitches to strike out pinch-hitters David Freese and Matt Kemp to end the eighth.
“It was good that we only used Hader for two outs,” Shaw said.
“I know we’ve got three in a row so he’ll be good to go tomorrow and that’s a big thing for us.”
Hader rarely pitches on consecutive days but his light workload yesterday could give Counsell some options.
“We’re playing to win the series, not just games,” he stressed.
“Obviously with Josh doing not as much tonight, there’s lots of possibilities there going forward.”
Milwaukee’s vaunted bullpen delivered after the Dodgers hit .333 and scored eight of their nine runs against Brewers’ relievers during the first two games in Milwaukee–both decided by one run.
The Dodgers also came up empty against Chacin with the bases loaded in the second, when Buehler took a called third strike to end the inning.
“We had the right guys in those moments and we just didn’t execute,” manager Dave Roberts said.
“We were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.”