Diamondbacks and Cards both win, force Game 5

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ryan Roberts, right, is greeted at the plate by teammates following his first-inning grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of baseball's National League division series Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/Matt York

PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks came home and created a new way to celebrate big hits.

Now that "The Snake" has started rolling, there may be no stopping it.

Changing the complexion of the NL division series with a powerful display, the Diamondbacks hit another grand slam among their team-record four homers to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 10-6 Wednesday night and force Game 5.

Outgunned by Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" in the series' first two games, the Diamondbacks came up with "The Snake" after returning to the desert in an 0-2 hole.

The brainchild of catcher Miguel Montero, the hand gesture — a cupped right hand that makes a striking motion — has taken over the series as Arizona has bashed its way toward what may be its greatest comeback in a season filled with them.

"We're not going to give up, even when we're down 2-0," said Chris Young, who drove in three runs. "In the clubhouse, we still believed we could do it. At the time our goal was to get back to Milwaukee. We've reached that, so it's a toss-up now. We're going to be ready to go."

A day after rolling over the Brewers 8-1, the Diamondbacks struck quickly and often in Game 4, scoring five runs in the first inning off Randy Wolf. Ryan Roberts had the big blow with a grand slam, making the Diamondbacks the second team — with the 1977 Dodgers — to hit grand slams in consecutive playoff games.

Young added the first of his two homers in the next at-bat, Aaron Hill had a solo shot and Arizona had 13 hits to send the series back to Milwaukee for the decisive game Friday. It will be a rematch of Game 1 between 21-game winner Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks and fellow right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

"This team is resilient," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're going to play hard and I expect this team to have a real good game on Friday."

Written off by many after being outscored 13-5 in the first two games, baseball's best rally team — 48 comeback wins during the regular season — has put itself in position to become just the eighth team overall to win a best-of-five series after trailing 0-2.

Pinch hitter Collin Cowgill added a two-run single and Arizona's bullpen held on after a less-than-crisp outing by starter Joe Saunders to put the tough-to-keep-down Diamondbacks in position to make history.

"We know we're capable of scoring runs, so that was outstanding," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "But to keep things in perspective, we haven't accomplished anything yet. We didn't come here to win two games and not win the series. We have to stay levelheaded about it."

Of the four opening-round playoff series, three are going to Game 5. Detroit visits the New York Yankees on Thursday night and St. Louis is at Philadelphia on Friday night. The only other time a trio of division matchups went the distance was 2001, the year Arizona won the World Series.

Milwaukee didn't expect to be in this position after winning the first two games handily. After two desert duds, the Brewers head back home hoping to regain momentum and close out their first postseason series since making it to the 1982 World Series.

"If you want to get to the World Series you've got to play great baseball and unfortunately we didn't do that the last couple of games," Brewers third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "We go home — we do love playing at home."

The NL West-champion Diamondbacks punctuated their worst-to-first finish with grand slams in their final two home games of the regular season, then kept slamming 'em at Chase Field in the playoffs.

Paul Goldschmidt was the star in Game 3, becoming the third rookie ever to hit a grand slam in the playoffs. He had the crowd buzzing when he strode to the plate against Wolf with the bases loaded in the first inning. He couldn't come through — Wolf struck him out looking.

Roberts sure did, though, lining his second grand slam in four home games over the wall in left. The shot had the crowd roaring and got his teammates out of the dugout doing "The Snake."

Roberts' drive made Arizona the first team in major league history to hit grand slams in four straight home games (regular and postseason), according to STATS LLC and the SABR home run log.

"In that situation, I just wanted to get on base, not try do anything too much," Roberts said. "Just see a pitch in that I could drive and put a pretty good swing on it."

Cards beat Oswalt to force Game 5 against Phillies

ST. LOUIS - David Freese joked that he probably had accumulated 20 strikeouts against various Phillies aces.

Easy to poke fun at yourself after a breakout game that toppled Cardinals playoff nemesis Roy Oswalt and forced a deciding fifth game against Philadelphia.

Freese became a hometown hero on Wednesday night with a home run, double and four RBIs to lead St. Louis to a 5-3 victory over the Phillies.

"It's unbelievable where we've come from," said Freese, who was 2 for 12 with one RBI over the first three games of the series. "A lot of people didn't think we'd be in this position and maybe some of us in here didn't think that, either.

"We're going to come to the yard and give it a hard nine."

The Phillies were dispatched in order by Jason Motte in the ninth, with center fielder Jon Jay making a sliding catch on Placido Polanco's soft fly for the final out. Jay was already pointing his index finger before he got to his feet.

"I've been dreaming of a World Series, not the Division Series," Freese said. "We've got to keep winning."

Phillies cleanup hitter Ryan Howard, like Freese a St. Louis product, was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He's 0 for 8 in the last two games with five strikeouts and has hit only one ball out of the infield.

"I think I've been a little bit anxious trying to go up and trying to make things happen instead of letting things happen," Howard said. "Right now I'm just kind of jumping, so just try to recognize pitches better."

Game 5 on Friday night will be a match of aces: 19-game winner Roy Halladay against Chris Carpenter, the 2005 NL Cy Young winner who won 10 of his last 12 decisions to finish 11-9 this season.

Matt Holliday had a hit and scored twice in his first playoff start and expects to be ready for Game 5.

"If I wasn't part of it, I sure would be watching it," Holliday said. "I think it's going to be great TV. To have a chance for a Game 5 and a chance to move on to the championship series with Carp on full rest, that's all we can ask."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel didn't seem too surprised his team was getting tested early. The Cardinals took the season series 6-3.

"Might be fitting that it goes down to the fifth game," Manuel said. "It's up to us to go get it. It's sitting right there for us. We've got our ace going, and we're at home, and so everything is sitting right there."

An omen, perhaps, was the unusual sight of a squirrel dashing across the plate right after Oswalt threw a pitch for a ball in the fifth. Oswalt argued, unsuccessfully, that he had been distracted.

Skip Schumaker and squirrel
A squirrel runs past the leg of St. Louis Cardinals' Skip Schumaker while Schumaker bats during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League division series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Louis.
AP Photo/Tom Gannam
Did a squirrel jinx Roy Oswalt and the Phillies?

"I didn't want to stop in the middle of my motion, so I threw it," Oswalt said. "I was wondering what size of animal it needed to be for it not to be a pitch."

Oswalt had been 5-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 10 previous postseason starts, the biggest one closing out old Busch Stadium and the Cardinals in 2005 to get Houston to its first World Series. The right-hander also worked seven shutout innings against St. Louis in the Phillies' NL East division clincher in mid-September, and was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first.

He just couldn't get Freese out.

"I think I don't have to say too much about David Freese," Manuel said. "I think he kind of won the game."

Freese's two-run double down the third-base line in the fourth put St. Louis up 3-2. His two-run homer to straightaway center in the sixth whipped the crowd into a towel-waving frenzy.

Albert Pujols was hitless in four at-bats in what could have been his final home game with the Cardinals. He received thunderous cheers every trip to the plate from a standing-room crowd of 47,071, the second-largest at 6-year-old Busch Stadium.

Pujols made his presence known on defense, catching Chase Utley going for an extra base in the sixth. Utley drew a leadoff walk and kept running on Hunter Pence's grounder to short, but Pujols alertly jumped off first base to catch the throw and made a sharp relay to third for the out.'s Matt Snyder says that while Pujols is known for his bat, he does the "little things" and "that's why he's still the best player in baseball."

Underrated play of Game 4: Pujols' throw to third

"This is obviously the playoffs, but that's a play I can make in the regular season, too," Pujols said. "If I would have stayed on the bag, it was going to be tough to get the runner at third. Obviously, that killed the rally right there."

Edwin Jackson recovered from a rocky beginning to win his first playoff start. After giving up two runs on his first five pitches, he wound up throwing six solid innings.

Five pitches into the game, the Phillies had a 2-0 lead with an assist from the late-afternoon playing conditions.

Jay, standing in bright sunshine while shadows enveloped most of the field, took one step in on leadoff man Jimmy Rollins' drive on the first pitch of the game and retreated too late for a ball just over his glove that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Utley tripled just inside the first-base line three pitches later and Pence lined an RBI single on the next pitch.

The Phillies' other run came on a wild pitch by Fernando Salas in the eighth.

"We jumped out and scored two runs, and that was about most of the hitting that we did," Manuel said. "Outside of that we couldn't really put nothing together."