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Relive the Crew's 10 best games of the 2010s

@AdamMcCalvy
December 2, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- From Trevor Time in 2010 to Ryan Braun's St. Louis slam in 2019, here are our picks for the Brewers' 10 best games in the decade of the 2010s. 1) 2011 National League Division Series Game 5 Oct. 7, 2011 It’s not just the game of the decade,

MILWAUKEE -- From Trevor Time in 2010 to Ryan Braun's St. Louis slam in 2019, here are our picks for the Brewers' 10 best games in the decade of the 2010s.

1) 2011 National League Division Series Game 5
Oct. 7, 2011

It’s not just the game of the decade, it’s one of the top handful of games in the Brewers’ 50-year history. Before Nyjer Morgan stepped to the plate in Game 5 of the NLDS against D-backs closer J.J. Putz the Brewers had not triumphed in a postseason series since 1982. They had been three outs away an inning earlier, only to see lockdown closer John Axford suffer a rare blown save on a squeeze bunt. But Axford rebounded to pitch a scoreless top of the 10th and Carlos Gómez singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, and he stole second base even though the whole stadium knew he was going to try to do it. That brought up Morgan, who grounded a hit up the middle that sent Gómez home, and sent the Brewers on to the NL Championship Series against the Cardinals.

"I didn't realize the magnitude at the time," Morgan said. "I was young. It didn't really hit me until everything was over. Now, I can look it up and see it, and it still gives me chills."

Said Gómez: “Do you know why I watch that video so much? I see Mark Attanasio jumping on the field. He weighs 180 pounds, maybe. Probably less. He picked me up and jumped with me, weighing 220. That’s a moment I never will forget.”

2) Game 163
Oct. 1, 2018

Perhaps if it was a different venue, a different opponent, this game would slip below some of the postseason baseball that follows on this list. But this was Wrigley Field and the Cubs, who had been the class of the NL Central for several years and seemingly on their way to another division crown before the Brewers surged to a 20-7 finish that included an eight-game winning streak to close the regular season. Tied atop the standings after 162 games, the teams met on a dreary Monday afternoon and played a thriller that was tied 1-1 in the eighth before Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun hit RBI singles. Josh Hader closed it out, and the Brewers celebrated an unlikely division title on the home turf of a chief rival.

3) 2011 clincher
Sept. 23, 2011

“I told Corey [Hart] in the first inning, ‘This feels like ’08,’” Ryan Braun said. “The anxiety, the excitement from the fans. You could just tell they were waiting for an opportunity to go crazy.”

When the Brewers clinched their second division title with a 4–1 win over the Marlins that night, it felt like the 2008 regular season finale all over again. In ‘08, CC Sabathia allowed one run in nine innings and Braun hit a tiebreaking, two-run home run in the eighth before the Brewers watched on the scoreboard as the Marlins beat the Mets to punch Milwaukee’s postseason ticket. Three years later, Yovani Gallardo allowed one run in eight innings and Braun hit a tiebreaking, three-run home run in the eighth before the Brewers and their fans watched on the scoreboard as the Cubs beat the Cardinals to punch Milwaukee’s postseason ticket. The stakes, the drama, it all felt familiar.

4) 2018 NLDS Game 1
Oct. 4, 2018

Nyjer Morgan returned to Miller Park to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and it could not have been a more fitting choice. The second extra-inning postseason game in Brewers history was a lot like the first, a well-pitched game in which one of Milwaukee's most reliable late-inning relievers (Jeremy Jeffress in this case) suffered a blown save. And just like NLDS Game 5 seven years earlier, the Brewers won it on a single in the bottom of the 10th. Mike Moustakas, picked up at the Trade Deadline that season to provide pop on the infield and some veteran experience, was in an 0-2 hole with two out when he singled to right field to score Christian Yelich, sending the Brewers on the way to a series sweep.

5) Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save
Sept. 7, 2010

It’s mostly remembered as the night Trevor Hoffman became the first man in history to reach 600 saves, but it was also one of the more bizarre games in Brewers history, in which umpire Bob Davidson ejected a manager (Milwaukee's Ken Macha), a coach (the Cardinals’ Dave Duncan), a player (Brewers outfielder Chris Dickerson) and a fan all on the same night. None of that overshadowed a moment months in the making for future Hall of Famer Hoffman, who was an All-Star in 2009 in his first season in Milwaukee but struggled from the start of 2010 and was removed from the closer’s role. He picked up a save here and there over the summer when John Axford was down for the day, and Hoffman finally trotted in from the bullpen on a Tuesday night at Miller Park with a chance to be the first man to amass 600 saves. Chris Narveson pitched seven solid innings and Casey McGehee had three hits and three RBIs as the Brewers built a 4-2 lead on the Cardinals for Hoffman, who erased a leadoff single with a double play, then he got pinch-hitter Aaron Miles to ground out to end the game. Sure-handed shortstop Craig Counsell handled the final out. Teammates hoisted Hoffman on their shoulders as he left the field.

“It felt like it took a long time to get to that 600 mark, but I tried not to let it ever affect me as a teammate on a day to day basis,” Hoffman said as the decade came to a close. “Obviously, I wanted the ball. It was a humbling experience.”

6) 2018 NLCS Game 1
Oct. 12, 2018

It was free hamburgers for everyone after the Brewers extended their winning streak to 12 in a row on a rough night for Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal and a great one for Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff, who struck out four in two perfect innings and hit a home run off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as Milwaukee, with three scoreless innings from Josh Hader, built a 6-1 lead. Things got tense when L.A. scored three runs in the eighth inning and another run in the ninth to make it a one-run game, but Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner with the potential tying run at third base to give the Brewers a series lead. With 12 straight victories, the Brewers triggered a promotion from George Webb’s, a local chain of diners that promised in the 1940s to give away free hamburgers when the local ballclub won 12 games in row. They only paid off twice: in 1987 when “Team Streak” began the year 13-0, and when the 2018 Brewers got hot in September and October.

7) Yelich’s six-hit cycle
Aug. 29, 2018

One of the best baseball games of the decade was made better by the incredible individual performance of Yelich, who was in the midst of a second-half tear that lifted him to the NL MVP Award. It was a 13-12 Brewers win at Cincinnati that spanned 10 innings, featured four ties and five lead changes, defensive gems and disputed calls aplenty -- the Reds tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on an overturned call at home plate -- and was led by six hits and a cycle from Yelich, who did everything but pitch. Spoiler alert: Yelich hit for the cycle against the Reds again some 20 days later at Miller Park, making him the first player to hit for the cycle against the same team in the same season.

"I was thinking throughout the game, 'This game's crazy,'" said Yelich, who matched the club record for hits while going 6-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored and throwing out a runner at home plate. "We were talking about it on the bench. All the plays that happened during it, it was one of those games where you just never knew what was going to happen. It felt like no lead was safe."

8) Comeback vs. Wade Davis
Sept. 23, 2017

The Brewers were competitive ahead of schedule in 2017, adding some intrigue to a late-September, four-game series against the Cubs at Miller Park. It didn’t disappoint. The first three games of the series all went 10 innings, with the Cubs taking the first two before the Brewers answered in front of a sold-out Saturday crowd in Game 3. Against Chicago closer Wade Davis, who had converted 38 straight save opportunities dating to the previous year with Kansas City, Orlando Arcia lined a tying home run in the ninth inning that left the ballpark so fast, fans didn’t have a chance to react. The Cubs went ahead in the top of the 10th inning, but the Brewers answered again, getting a walk-off, two-run home run from Travis Shaw for a 4-3 win.

"I probably haven't been able to come up with the words for this series," manager Craig Counsell said. "If this hasn't been the best baseball series that you've seen in a long time, then you've seen some pretty good baseball. This is as exciting as it gets."

9) Braun slams St. Louis
Sept. 15, 2019

If you’re looking for one game that tells the story of the 2018 or '19 Brewers’ late-season heroics, look to this Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals had taken the series opener, 10-0, and were one out away from a series victory when Braun stepped to the plate with two out and the bases loaded in the ninth. He worked to a full count against Cardinals reliever Junior Fernandez and hit a grand slam for a 7-4 lead. It turned out the Brewers needed all of those runs when St. Louis scored a pair in the bottom of the ninth against Josh Hader, but Milwaukee held on for another victory in a stretch of 18 wins in 20 games.

10) Brewers slip into the playoffs
Sept. 26, 2018

Yelich walked in all five plate appearances and scored twice after tormenting the Cardinals in the first two games of this series, Travis Shaw hit a pair of RBI singles, and Jhoulys Chacín allowed only one Cardinals hit and one run in five effective innings. That left the game in the hands of a stout bullpen that finished a two-hitter that sent the Brewers into the postseason for the first time in seven years. It took a little good fortune along the way. In the eighth inning, the Cardinals' best hitter, Matt Carpenter, had just worked a nine-pitch walk from Josh Hader with two out. St. Louis sent Adolis García out to pinch-run, and the Brewers called for closer Jeremy Jeffress, who'd pitched only once in the previous 12 days. José Martínez hit a chopper along the third-base line that Mike Moustakas fielded, then bounced an off-balance throw past Shaw at first base. Garcia started sprinting around the bases, but he slipped around third while Brewers second baseman Hernán Pérez fired a throw home. Catcher Erik Kratz tagged at the air, then recovered in time to find Garcia and apply the tag the Brewers needed for the inning-ending out.

The lead was saved, and the Brewers were October-bound.

Honorable mentions

July 9, 2013: Carlos Gómez robs Joey Votto of a homer to end a win over the Reds.

May 4, 2019: Ryan Braun compiles six hits, including the walk-off knock, in the longest game by innings in Miller Park history.

Aug. 19, 2015: Ryan Braun breaks Robin Yount’s franchise home run record.

April 3, 2018: First game in MLB history to start and end with back-to-back homers.

May 31, 2015: Martín Maldonado hits walk-off homer in 17th inning.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.