A Brewers’ season filled with dramatic highs and sobering lows came to an end on Tuesday with a heartbreaking loss in the NL Wild Card game. Despite that, the Crew provided countless memories this season that got fans up on their feet and cheering in elation. Here are the top 5 moments of the Brewers’ 2019 run to the playoffs.
- Lorenzo Cain brings one back in Colorado
With a chance to win the NL Central in reach, the Brewers led the Colorado Rockies 2-0 in the bottom of the 7th when Garrett Hampson hit a deep fly ball to center field. Lorenzo Cain raced back to the wall, took a leap, and brought back a home run in what could ultimately be the catch of the year. Although the Brewers ended up losing the game, this catch had that “WOW” factor that will make it stick in fans’ memories for a long, long time.
- Christian Yelich walks off the Cubs
The first of two walkoffs against the Cubs on this list, this moment proved pivotal in kickstarting the Brewers’ run to a playoff berth. Sitting four games back of the Chicago Cubs and the second wild card spot entering the day, the Brewers needed to string together some wins to make progress in the hunt. The Crew entered the bottom of the ninth having tied the game in the previous inning on a Yasmani Grandal home run. Tyler Austin reached on an infield error, but the game looked like it could be headed to extra innings after Trent Grisham and Yasmani Grandal failed to reach base. Christian Yelich had other ideas, as he stroked a two-out double past a diving Kyle Schwarber, scoring Austin from first base and causing Miller Park to erupt.
- Keston Hiura walks off the Cubs
In this matchup, the Brewers entered the game trailing the Cubs by one game in the wild card race. With the July trade deadline looming just days away, the Brewers needed to cement their status as contenders in order to justify the deadline moves they would go on to make. This game was a fight all the way through. The Crew battled their way back into it by erasing a two-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a solo home run from Ben Gamel and an RBI-double from Keston Hiura. The game then went on to extras, with the Cubs taking the lead in the top of the tenth after Albert Almora went deep. With closer Craig Kimbrel on to close the game in the bottom of the inning, Christian Yelich tied the game with a bomb to left center field. After a Tyler Saladino walk put the winning run on base, Keston Hiura decided it was time to go home and hit an absolute laser of a line drive over the right field wall. Hiura’s reaction while rounding the bases will be a classic Brewers’ moment for years to come.
- Lorenzo Cain saves Opening Day with a game-ending home run robbery
Opening Day had a playoff game vibe as fans clung to memories of the Brewers’ run to Game 7 of the NLCS in 2018. This game had a little bit of all that made 2018 magical, as Christian Yelich hit a three run homer to give the Brewers an early lead, weird stuff happened (how else do you describe a Jhoulys Chacin home run?), and Josh Hader came on for a two-inning save. Down to the final out needed to send the fans home happy, Jose Martinez sent a high fly ball to right-center field that looked to be trouble. Lorenzo Cain raced back to wall, leaped, and said, “Not today”, pulling back what would’ve been a game-tying home run. It was the perfect possible ending to Opening Day.
- Ryan Braun – “The St. Louis Slam”
The Brewers sat one game back of the Cubs for the second wild card slot entering this pivotal series finale against the Cardinals. Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Braun strode to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. After working his way to a full count, he went full vintage September Braun, launching a grand slam over the deep left center field wall. It was the most defining moment of the Brewers September surge, one that I would like to formally dub “The St. Louis Slam”. This one will go down as one of Braun’s most iconic moments, along with his grand slam against the Pirates in September of 2008 and his division-clinching home run off of Miller Park’s center field scoreboard against the Marlins in 2011.