It was a day for surviving in the League Championship Series yesterday as Detroit staved off elimination behind Justin Verlander and Delmon Young to send the ALCS back to Texas for Game 6. Milwaukee didn’t have its back literally to the wall, but trailing 2-1 in the series against St. Louis, it was about as must-win as you can get and Randy Wolf stepped up with a strong pitching outing to knot up the NLCS at two games apiece.
Detroit’s big bats are gradually rounding into full form. After a slow start to the series, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez picked up in Games 3 & 4. Then yesterday afternoon Alex Avila finally awoke with a big home run, while Young, battling a strained oblique, hit two out of the park and with Verlander on the mound it was enough for a 7-5 win, in which Texas got close at the end when Nelson Cruz hit his fifth home run of this series. The AL series is off today for the return flight to Dallas where Texas needs just one, either Saturday or Sunday night to wrap up a second straight pennant.
Milwaukee fell behind 2-0 and with Randy Wolf again struggling, it looked the Brewers were about to get their backs pinned to the wall. But Wolf suddenly settled down and Milwaukee third baseman and all-purpose utility veteran Jerry Hairston came up big with a couple hits and the next thing you knew the Brewers were sitting on a 4-2 lead they made stand up through the late innings. Both teams can say they have this series where they want it. St. Louis can try and get a win at home tonight (8:05 ET, TBS), then tee off on Shawn Marcum again in Sunday afternoon’s Game 6 and get the pennant. The Brewers have to be thinking that they have Zack Greinke tonight and Yovani Gallardo lined up for a potential Game 7 on Monday night, and all the way back in March that was the goal for this team—get to October with a chance to let their two big arms pitch them to the Series. Thanks to Wolf and Hairston, the stars now have a chance. And on a side note, the sports schedule for Sunday in Wisconsin has the Packers hosting the Rams at 1 ET, then the Brewers hosting the Cardinals at 4:30 ET. Nothing like a little friendly rivalry between cities.