Since starting 2023's version of "Craigtember," the Milwaukee Brewers have been building more and more momentum on their way to securing a spot in the postseason. Saturday night saw one of their most breathtaking moments of the season yet.
With the Nationals just having tied the game in the top of the inning, Mark Canha hit a dramatic grand slam, complete with epic bat flip, to put the Crew back in the lead and eventually come up with a 9-5 victory.
Early on, it looked like the Brewers were set to cruise to their third straight win. A three-run first plus one apiece in the fourth and fifth had Milwaukee up 5-1 and looking good. But Washington had an upset on their minds and started to chip away at the lead.
Brewers starter Corbin Burnes uncharacteristically let an inning get away from him, allowing the Nationals to score three in the sixth and get back to within one. Then, the normally reliable Joel Payamps allowed Washington to take advantage of some soft contact and tie things up in the top of the eighth.
Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan came on with one out and none on in the eighth to try and keep things knotted up, but to no avail. The Brewers went double, single, ground out, walk to load the bases with two outs before Canha came up with one of the team's most clutch hits of the season. Reliever Hoby Milner completed an easy 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 9-5 win.
What is the Milwaukee Brewers magic number?
With Saturday's win, the Brewers now officially have their magic number in the single digits at eight. And the trend of dropping the magic number by two each day continued with a rival's loss late last night over by the West Coast.
While the Brewers have been trending in the right direction lately, the same can not be said for the Cubs. It took 13 innings late into the night, but Chicago dropped their fourth straight game with a 7-6 loss to the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
A 3-3 score after six innings continued to hold to nine as both teams headed to extras. The Cubs scored once each in the top of the 10th and 11th, but the Diamondbacks matched them to keep the game going. Chicago added one more to start the 13th, but this time Arizona was able to bring in a pair in the bottom half of the inning, ending things on a Gabriel Moreno walkoff single.
The win stretched the Brewers' NL Central lead to another season high, this time 6.5 games. Meanwhile, the Cubs hold on the first Wild Card has slipped to just a half game and they find themselves just a game away from being outside the playoff picture altogether.
The Brewers will look to complete the sweep over the Nationals today with white hot Brandon Woodruff getting the start for the Crew. First pitch is at 1:10 CDT.