MILWAUKEE -- As if Orlando Arcia's stunning, game-tying solo home run off Cubs closer Wade Davis was not compelling enough as a standalone moment, there was a good backstory, too.Arcia hit the shot with a Jose Cabrera bat, which he's used this season during batting-practice home run-derby contests against teammate
MILWAUKEE -- As if Orlando Arcia's stunning, game-tying solo home run off Cubs closer Wade Davis was not compelling enough as a standalone moment, there was a good backstory, too.
Arcia hit the shot with a Jose Cabrera bat, which he's used this season during batting-practice home run-derby contests against teammate Domingo Santana, but had never swung in a game before Saturday. Another Brewers teammate, Hernan Perez, who had been gifted the bat by the Tigers superstar while they played together for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, suggested Arcia take it to the plate.
He did, starting with his third plate appearance Saturday, a groundout against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. Arcia grabbed it from the bat rack again in the bottom of the ninth, with the Brewers down a run against a closer who was a perfect 32-for-32 in save chances.
In an 0-1 count, Arcia connected with an inside cutter and somehow kept it fair down the left-field line, tying the game at 2. The Brewers won, 4-3, on Travis Shaw's two-run homer an inning later, and pulled back with one game of the Rockies for the National League's second Wild Card.
"Hernan has used it, but not me," Arcia said Sunday morning of the 34-inch, 32-ounce Sam Bat, one-half inch longer than Arcia's usual lumber.
Perez said Cabrera is notoriously generous with his bats, regularly gifting them to admirers in the Major League ranks when they ask. Perez originally intended to keep it as a collectible, but decided somewhere along the line to use it occasionally in games.
It first fell into Arcia's hands during batting-practice battles with Santana, who has out-homered Arcia in games this season, 28-15, but finds a tough battle in their pregame derby contests. By Perez's count, Arcia has won something like seven of eight matchups.
"I think when he gets older and he knows more of the game, he's going to hit, like, 25," Perez said. "I think he has that power."
Did Arcia plan to swing the Cabrera model again for Sunday's series finale?
"Well, yeah," Arcia said with a smile.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.