x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sabathia pays off for Brewers

Milwaukee made a big gamble picking up CC Sabathia prior to the trade deadline, but it paid off as the Brewers clinched a first play-off spot in 26 years.

CC Sabathia hugs the Milwaukee Brewers interim manager Dale Sveum, back to camera, after their win.
CC Sabathia hugs the Milwaukee Brewers interim manager Dale Sveum, back to camera, after their win.

MILWAUKEE // Milwaukee made a big gamble picking up CC Sabathia prior to the trade deadline, but it paid off as the Brewers clinched a first play-off spot in 26 years. Sabathia led Milwaukee's revival and threw a four-hit complete game in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the regular-season finale. That victory coupled with the New York Mets' loss to the Florida Marlins clinched the National League wild-card for the Brewers, who last appeared in the post-season in 1982.

Sabathia was a huge reason why Milwaukee were able to rally to reach the play-offs, trailing by two-and-a-half games in the wild card just nine days ago. With the Brewers' season on the line, Sabathia stepped up, opting to pitch on short rest rather than have the team deal with their lack of quality options in the starting pitcher role. Making three starts on three days' rest since Sept 20, Sabathia won the final two as Milwaukee capitalised on another shaky finish by New York.

"Whenever they need me to take the ball, I'll take it," Sabathia said. "The team have taken me in like I've been here all year. I don't know what else to say. I think we can do a lot [in the play-offs]. We're a young team, we've got some superstars, and we could have a lot of fun." After yielding a run and striking out 11 in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh that pulled the Brewers even in the wild-card race last Wednesday, Sabathia was even better with the season on the line.

He scattered four singles and struck out seven in nine innings en route to improving to 11 wins from 13 games since the July trade from the Cleveland Indians. "It was his game, it was his two months, it was his year," said the Brewers interim manager Dale Sveum. Although Sabathia was limiting the Cubs, the Brewers found themselves trailing 1-0 until a late rally. In the seventh inning, Ray Durham, another mid-season acquisition, doubled leading off and later scored on a bases-loaded walk.

In the eighth, Braun propelled Milwaukee into the all important lead with a two-run homer with two outs, drilling a pitch from Bob Howry into the left field to secure the historic success for the Brewers.
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