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NLDS Gm5: D-backs talk about the NLDS loss to Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- The D-backs thought they were going to win.

Even when they were down two games to none, they thought they would find a way to win the best-of-five National League Division Series.

Even after the Brewers took a lead into the ninth inning of Friday's Game 5 with their closer who had not blown a save in nearly six months on the mound, the D-backs thought they were going to pull it out.

Right up until Carlos Gomez touched home plate with one out in the 10th inning to give the Brewers a 3-2 win and a berth into the NL Championship Series, the D-backs thought they were going to get it done.

That's what happens when you lead the Majors in come-from-behind wins and exceed everyone's expectations by winning 94 games and the NL West.

"I felt like we were going to win," Arizona center fielder Chris Young said. "The entire game, I thought we were going to win. When I got to the field today, I felt like it was going to happen for us. I felt like it was our time. The guys kept stepping up. We kept putting ourselves in great positions to really blow the game open."

In the end, though, the D-backs could not find a way to win a game at Miller Park, and that would be the difference as the two teams split the first four games of the series with each winning on its home field.

The D-backs were trying to become the first NL team to win a best-of-five playoff series after dropping the first two games since the 1984 Padres, who rallied to eliminate the Cubs.

The Brewers, meanwhile, won their first postseason series since capturing the American League Championship Series in 1982.

Things didn't look good for the D-backs heading into the ninth as they trailed, 2-1, with Milwaukee closer John Axford trotting in from the bullpen. The right-hander had not blown a save since April 18, but the D-backs managed to tie the game.

Gerardo Parra started the inning with a double to right-center. It was Parra's first hit of the series and it came in his 18th at-bat.

Sean Burroughs then blooped a single to left to put runners at first and third, and Willie Bloomquist tied the game when he executed a perfect safety-squeeze bunt.

Axford was able to get out of the inning without further damage and he pitched a scoreless 10th to give his team a chance to win it in the bottom half.

After watching setup man David Hernandez pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson went with closer J.J. Putz for the 10th.

Putz, who had not blown a save since June 28 and had not lost a game since June 27, got the first out of the inning before allowing a single to Gomez.

The speedy Gomez stole second and then scored the game-winner when Nyjer Morgan singled sharply up the middle. Putz was trying to go inside with a fastball to Morgan, but it wound up catching too much of the plate.

"Had the speed guy on second base. I was concerned about him and I made a bad pitch to Morgan," Putz said. "He's a good hitter and unfortunately it got through. I just didn't get the job done. It's going to hurt for a little bit. It was a good year. We had a lot of fun this year. I just wish we could have given our fans a little bit more baseball."

The two teams played a game befitting a do-or-die Game 5.

As opposed to Game 1, D-backs starter Ian Kennedy looked every bit the pitcher who won 21 games during the regular season. The only offense the Brewers could muster during the first three innings was a first-inning single by Ryan Braun.

Yovani Gallardo, by contrast, did not seem as sharp as it took him 66 pitches to get through the first three innings. Still, the right-hander managed to limit the damage against him to Justin Upton's two-out solo homer to right in the third.

"This team showed a lot of guts," Upton said. "That was the name of our team all year. That was our motto. We were going to fight and we fought until the end."

The game was tied at 1 through the first five innings before the Brewers snatched the lead in the sixth.

Braun, who was 8-for-11 at Miller Park during the series and just 1-for-7 on the road, started the rally with a double to left off Kennedy.

Prince Fielder then drew a walk, and one out later it looked like the Brewers might score a pair of runs when Jerry Hairston Jr. blasted a pitch deep to center. Young, though, managed to race back and make an over-the-shoulder catch before bouncing off the wall.

"I was just trying to control the game a little bit," Young said. "Ian pitched his butt off today, so when you're out there on defense, especially behind Ian, you want to help him out as much as you can. I had a chance to go for it, so I did."

Kennedy pumped his fist in excitement, but it was short-lived as Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a single that scored Braun and gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

"It's a tough one to lose," Kennedy said. "You've got to give credit to them, because they battled for every single run; nothing was handed to them. All the way down to the end, they grinded for every single run."

After back-to-back last-place finishes and loss totals of 92 and 97 games, the D-backs surprised the baseball world by winning 94 games and the NL West. Down the stretch, they battled the Brewers for home-field advantage in the first round before falling a couple of games short of it.

In the end, that would prove costly.

"It was a heck of a game, it really was," Bloomquist said. "Both of us played as hard as we could, and it came down to the last hit. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we played our butts off, we played well and they just got us in the end. We did the best we could, and there's no shame in that. We left it all on the field." Comments