UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, stuffed after Nadine made my favorite meal — meal loaf and baked beans, with her homegrown banana peppers and green peppers. Sorry, she doesn’t pass out her recipe but I sometimes make the beans — brown sugar, lots of Montgomery Inn sauce, a dash of mustard, diced onions and chopped up bacon. Be sure to keep the Gasex handy.
Watching the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon reminded me of how former heavyweight boxing champion Ingemar Johansson of Sweden described his punches: “Toonder and lightning.”
That, for sure, is the Milwaukee Brewers. The ‘toonder’ is Ryan Bruan, for sure the NL MVP, and Prince Fielder. The ‘lightning’ is the rest of the Brew Crew’s lineup — all of whom can sting like a bee (in keeping with the boxing theme).
THE BREWERS TOOK Game one of the NLCS Sunday, 9-6, using “toonder and lightning” in the fifth inning.
The love between the Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals is on the same level as the love between the Cincinnati Reds and Cardinals. There is none.
St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Braun hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. The next batter was Fielder and St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia hit him with a pitch. Umpire Gary Darling, knowing the volatile history between the two teams, immediately warned both benches.
From there the Cardinals pecked at Milwaukee starter Zack Greinke and constructed a 5-2 lead, three coming on a home run by David Freese.
THE BREWERS, though, certainly should not have been worried. They have won every game started at home this year by Greinke, a former AL Cy Young winner whom the Brewers acaquired last winter from the Kansas City Royals.
Garcia took that 5-2 lead into the fifth inning, but the toonder and lightning struck so fast he didn’t have time to take a second breath.
—Corey Hart dribbled a single to left, a grounder that narrowly eluded third baseman David Freese and shortstop Rafael Furcal.
—Jerry Hairston, the former Cincinnati Reds utility player, doubled to the left field corner.
—Ryan Braun pushed a ball the opposite way into the right field corner and it one-hopped over the wall for a two-run ground rule double and St. Louis led, 5-4.
—Prince Fielder extracted his pound of flesh revenge from Garcia on the next pitch, a two-run home run over the right field wall and Milwaukee led, 6-5.
GARCIA’S DAY WAS done and his head had to be spinning — Four batters, four runs.
But the Brewers didn’t stop against Octavio Dotel.
—Rickie Weeks grounded up the first base line and Dotel fielded it and threw low, wide and ugly past first baseman Albert Pujols and Weeks reached second on the error.
—Rafael Betancourt smoked a two-run homer to make it 8-5 — six batters up, six runners home.
WHEN THE BREWERS lead entering the eighth inning it usually, “Thanks for coming and drive home safely.”
The eighth inning belongs to set-up man Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. On Sunday, he struck out the first two in the eighth, issued a two-out three-and-two walk to David Freese, but he retired the next batter on the first pitch, a fielder’s choice.
The ninth inning belongs to closer John Axford, a guy who blew three save all year, but only one in which the Brewers lost — Opening Day, in Cincinnati, grand slam home run by Ramon Hernandez.
Nick Punto — called strike three.
Rafael Frucal — swinging strike three.
Jon Jay — grounder to Axford.
THE GAME WAS played with the Miller Park roof open, which suits the high-powered Brewers. With the roof open, the ball is like a steel pinball — flying out of the park or bouncing hard off the walls. After Sunday’s game, the Brewers are 30-10 with the playing field uncovered.
And here’s a tip. The Brewers are going to win the World Series. They have home field advantage, including the World Series, giving them that one extra game in Miller Park, a piece of turf they defend like alligators in a swamp.Tweet