Needing a rally in the National League championship series opener, the Milwaukee Brewers turned to its power duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, then got a vital hit from Yuniesky Betancourt to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-6 Sunday.
Braun launched a two-run, 463-foot homer in the first inning and added a two-run double during a six-run burst in the fifth. Fielder hit a two-run homer and the typically light-hitting Betancourt added a two-run homer to cap the big comeback.
At least for one game, the bitter NL Central rivals avoided any on-field confrontations in their first postseason matchup since the 1982 World Series.
That's despite an already-tense atmosphere that gained some steam when Brewers starter Zack Greinke let it slip on Saturday that some of his teammates don't like the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter — a comment that drew a stern rebuke from Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
The atmosphere was tense even before the first pitch, as La Russa was showered with boos during pregame introductions. He calmly tipped his cap to the crowd.
Greinke struggled, but reliever Takashi Saito got Cardinals star Albert Pujols to ground into a key double play in the seventh. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a hitless eighth and closer John Axford threw a hitless ninth for a save.
Game 2 is at Miller Park on Monday night. Shaun Marcum starts for the Brewers against Edwin Jackson.
David Freese hit a three-run homer off Greinke in the fourth, and the Cardinals led 5-2 in the fifth.