Other than the temporary and brief jolt of Christian Yelich’s first-inning home run, nothing else went well for the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
The 1-0 lead Yelich’s home run provided was gone in a matter of minutes, as Manny Machado bunted for a hit and Cody Bellinger launched a long home run against Jhoulys Chacin in the top of the second inning.
From there, Brewers manager Craig Counsell never could pull the right levers.
Counsell brought in relief weapon Josh Hader for the third, fourth and fifth innings, but when he had to pinch hit for Hader in the bottom of the fifth, the Brewers still faced a 2-1 deficit.
With the Dodgers no longer having to worry about Hader, they pounced in the sixth inning to put the game away.
Max Muncy singled off Xavier Cedeno, who did not prove effective at getting left-handed hitters out in the series.
Counsell summoned Jeremy Jeffress, a rock of the bullpen throughout the regular season. But Jeffress, the losing pitcher in Game 2 when he allowed a two-run homer to Justin Turner in the eighth inning, allowed a single to Turner and a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig.
And that was that.
Along the way, the Brewers created few opportunities and wasted the ones they did create.
Pinch hitter Jonathan Schoop, a major disappointment since being acquired July 31, grounded out weakly with two on and two out in the bottom of the second.
Yelich grounded into a double play after Lorenzo Cain led off the third with a single.
Travis Shaw led off the fourth with a double, but never moved as Jesus Aguilar struck out — he did so four times in the game — Mike Moustakas flied out and Erik Kratz struck out.
In the fifth, Cain ripped a two-out double, chasing starter Walker Buehler. Yelich greeted reliever Julio Urias with a long drive to the gap in left-center. Left fielder Chris Taylor, who started the game at second base, raced over and back and reached up. The ball hit into the top of his glove and stayed.
Instead of the tying run in and the go-ahead run in scoring position, the Brewers had breathed their last gasp. Los Angeles pushed the edge to 5-1 on Puig’s homer in the sixth, and the Brewers put just one runner on in the final four innings.
With the series ending with such a flat defeat, the Brewers were left to ponder what could have been.
They blew a 3-0 lead in Game 2, losing 4-3. They held the Dodgers to just 1 run in 12 innings in Game 4 … and lost, 2-1, in the 13rh, And they led, 1-0, through four innings in Game 5 before watching the Dodgers score five straight.
Milwaukee led in six of the seven games and went 13 innings in the other. But the team that had champagne celebrations in three road clubhouses could not get one at home.
The series ended in disappointment, and the Brewers fell to 0-2 in Game 7s — the first one being in St. Louis exactly 36 years earlier.