MILWAUKEE -- So much for the victory lap. The Brewers will have to play to win Wednesday if they want to begin the postseason at home.
Prince Fielder did his part at Miller Park on Tuesday night with a three-homer game in a 6-4 win over the Pirates. It moved Milwaukee to the verge of the No. 2 seed in the National League and the right to open the NL Division Series at home.
But a remarkable finish in Arizona put those hopes on hold. The D-backs faced a 6-1 deficit against the Dodgers with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and somehow managed to win, 7-6, on Ryan Roberts' walk-off grand slam.
Home-field advantage will come down to the final day, with the Brewers needing either a win Wednesday over the Pirates or a D-backs loss to clinch the right to host Games 1 and 2 at Miller Park over the weekend.
"That's very important," Fielder said. "Not that we can't do it on the road, by any means, but everybody knows we play a lot better at home. It's good to have the fans behind you. They get your confidence a little [up]; you can get a little 'swag' before you have to go on the road."
Zack Greinke will start Wednesday's regular-season finale on three days' rest for the Brewers, and the D-backs' comeback means the Brewers will treat it more closely as a normal start. That, in turn, means Greinke probably will not be available until Game 3 of the NLDS.
Before the D-backs' unbelievable rally, everything had broken the Brewers' way. They matched a franchise record with their 95th win, Fielder tied the Dodgers' Matt Kemp atop the NL leaderboard with 38 home runs and Brewers closer John Axford tied the Braves' Craig Kimbrel for the league lead with his 46th save.
Fielder belted his 36th, 37th and 38th home runs, and all were clutch, the first a solo shot that tied the game and the others two-run blasts that gave the Brewers leads to overcome a shaky pitching performance by Randy Wolf. The decisive blow came in the seventh inning, when Fielder connected against Pirates reliever Jared Hughes to snap a 4-4 tie.
"The guy can hit homers," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "And he swings with bad intentions."
The statistical milestones are secondary to Fielder, a pending free agent who may be playing his final games in a Brewers uniform. The team clinched the NL Central on Friday, and since then have been dueling with the D-backs for position.
Fielder made sure Milwaukee stayed in front.
"There is no 'turning it back on,'" he said. "I'm actually glad we have this little extra incentive to play hard, just to keep it going. You never want to have to turn it back on when in the playoffs, at least I think so. I think you want to go in there playing hard, solid baseball. I think we're doing that, and hopefully it pays off."
Fielder's home run off Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf in the third inning tied the game at 1 before Rickie Weeks followed with a mammoth, 470-foot shot that struck the stadium club over the left-field bleachers.
It was the fourth-longest home run in Miller Park's history, behind Russell Branyan's 480-foot blast off Greg Maddux in 2004 and two 475-footers from Fielder, one of them in July. Fielder went bonkers in the Brewers' dugout after Weeks' first home run since he returned from an ankle injury.
Could Weeks remember hitting one that far before?
"Hard? Yes," Weeks said. "Far? Probably not."
The Pirates rallied to reclaim the lead from Brewers starter Randy Wolf in the fifth inning before Fielder struck again, this time following a two-out Ryan Braun walk by hammering a fastball for a homer that gave the Brewers a 4-3 lead.
Wolf walked home the tying run in the sixth inning before Braun and Fielder again combined to give the Brewers the lead. Braun worked a nine-pitch walk from reliever Hughes to lead off the seventh inning, and three pitches later Fielder hit a two-strike slider for another two-run home run and a 6-4 lead.
It was the third three-homer game by a Brewers player this season. Corey Hart and Casey McGehee did it earlier this year. The last team to have three players enjoy three-homer games? The Brewers, in 2001.
"It's not normal to hit three home runs in a game," Weeks said.
"It's kind of surprising that it's the first three-home run game of his career because it feels like he's done this so many times," said Braun, who is bidding for the batting title but was content to walk ahead of each of Fielder's two-run homers. Braun finished 1-for-2 and will enter the season finale batting .335, just behind the Mets' Jose Reyes (.336).
"[Fielder] has had so many big hits in big situations for us," Braun said. "He's just been such a great player, so it's not surprising to see him have a big game in a crucial situation for us."
Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins earned the win after pitching a scoreless seventh inning, and Francisco Rodriguez and Axford covered the final two innings to seal the win. Axford needed only seven pitches to convert his 42nd consecutive save in the ninth.
"I guess everybody knows about our home record here," Weeks said. "It's always helpful to get a head start in the series at home. ... This year, we feel like we have a chance to do something special for the city."