LOS ANGELES - The Milwaukee Brewers know they can count on their intimidating bullpen to get outs. They may not have been expecting a twice-demoted shortstop to generate so much offense.
Jhoulys Chacin combined with four relievers on a five-hitter and Orlando Arcia hit a two-run homer in a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday that gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.
Los Angeles loaded the bases against Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth inning, but the struggling closer shut the door. He struck out Yasmani Grandal and pinch hitter Brian Dozier to complete Milwaukee’s third shutout in six playoff games this year.
“We feel like we’re in really good shape,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, with Rich Hill starting for Los Angeles against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez.
Ryan Braun had an early RBI double off rookie Walker Buehler, who struck out eight in seven innings. Travis Shaw tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Arcia connected for his third postseason homer in the seventh, his second in two games.
“It’s a different guy every single day and we’ve got contributions up and down the roster,” Shaw said. “It’s been the story of our season.”
Chacin scattered three hits over 5⅓ innings before giving way to Corey Knebel, who worked 1⅔ perfect innings and struck out his last four batters.
With a runner on second and the Brewers nursing a 2-0 lead, Knebel got Manny Machado to ground out before whiffing Cody Bellinger to end the sixth. The right-hander then fanned Yasiel Puig, Grandal and Enrique Hernandez in the seventh.
Joakim Soria retired Chris Taylor on a foul popup for the first out of the eighth. Josh Hader, who didn’t pitch in Game 2 after tossing three scoreless innings in the opener, needed only eight pitches to strike out pinch-hitters David Freese and Matt Kemp to end the eighth.
“It was good that we only used Hader for two outs,” Shaw said. “I know we’ve got three in a row, so he’ll be good to go tomorrow and that’s a big thing for us.”
Hader rarely pitches on consecutive days, but his light workload Monday could give Counsell some options.
Justin Turner singled and Machado doubled to start the ninth for Los Angeles. Bellinger popped out and slammed his bat before Puig drew a walk, but Counsell stayed with Jeffress, who settled down and came through.
Milwaukee’s vaunted bullpen delivered after the Dodgers hit .333 and scored eight of their nine runs against Brewers relievers during the first two games in Milwaukee, both decided by one run.
The Dodgers also came up empty against Chacin with the bases loaded in the second, when Buehler took a called third strike to end the inning.
“We had the right guys in those moments and we just didn’t execute,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “We were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.”
The Brewers became the first visiting team to pitch a postseason shutout at Dodger Stadium since the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the 1983 NLCS. The Dodgers had gone 50 consecutive home playoff games without being blanked, the second-longest streak in major league history behind 61 straight for the Boston Red Sox, according to STATS.
The 1905 New York Giants and 1966 Baltimore Orioles were the only other teams to toss three shutouts in their first six games of a postseason, STATS said.
The Brewers entered these playoffs with one shutout in their postseason history.
“Our guys that we’re giving the ball to at the start of the game, they’re doing a heck of a job, man,” Counsell said. “They’re setting the tone, really.”