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MIL@ARI Gm4: Roberts powers a grand slam in the first

PHOENIX -- The Monsters of Miller Park are baseball's best 2011 home team and bill themselves as one of the loosest. Now the Brewers will put both traits to the test in a decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

Two lopsided losses on the road to the D-backs, including a 10-6 setback in Game 4 on Wednesday, denied the Brewers' path to the NL Championship Series. When the teams meet one last time on Friday at Miller Park, will the Brewers return to "Beast Mode?" After squandering a 2-0 series lead, will they rediscover the fun that carried them to October?

"We have no choice," Prince Fielder said. "If we don't, we're going home."

Fielder could be playing his final Brewers game Friday, but that is for another day. The immediate reality was a Game 4 loss that managed, considering Milwaukee's 1-for-13 night with runners in scoring position and the four D-backs home runs off left-handers Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson, to feel both closer than the final score indicated and further out of reach.

The Brewers had hoped to board a charter flight home with their NLCS ticket already punched, especially after sweeping weekend games at Miller Park. Now they must win to avoid making dubious history: Since 1995, all 19 of the previous NL teams to take a 2-0 lead in the Division Series advanced to the next round.

Game 5 is Friday at 4 p.m. CT at Miller Park, where the Brewers are 59-24 this season, including victories in Games 1 and 2. It's a Game 1 rematch of Arizona's Ian Kennedy and Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo.

"This is what it comes down to, that Game 5, win or go home," Gallardo said. "We all know that in this clubhouse. We're going to come out prepared and see what happens."

For the first time since 2001, three of baseball's Division Series are going to a Game 5. The Tigers and Yankees will settle their series on Thursday night, then the D-backs-Brewers and Cardinals-Phillies in that order on Friday.

It's the first time in Major League Baseball's current playoff structure -- instituted in 1995 -- that both NL Division Series are going the distance.

"We're not going to give up, even when we're down 2-0," said D-backs center fielder Chris Young after his two-homer game. "In the clubhouse, we still believed we could do it. At the time, our goal was to get back to Milwaukee, and now we've reached that. It's a tossup now, so we're going to be ready to go."

Wednesday's tone was set in the first inning, with Rickie Weeks grounding into a double play to kill a budding Brewers rally, and Arizona answering with two homers off Wolf. Ryan Roberts hit a two-out grand slam and Young followed with a solo shot for a 5-1 lead and the first back-to-back homers in D-backs postseason history.

The game seemed sealed. Only it wasn't, because another left-hander, Joe Saunders, struggled nearly as mightily as Wolf, allowing a run apiece in all three innings of an outing that could have been much worse.

The Brewers briefly cut the deficit to 5-3 against Saunders and would threaten all of the Arizona pitchers who followed, stranding at least one man in scoring position in six of the nine innings. The Brewers' only hit in 13 at-bats with a runner at second or third -- Casey McGehee's pinch-hit single in the sixth -- did not score a run. Instead it loaded the bases for leadoff man Corey Hart, who, batting in a 7-3 game, nearly tied it.

Wolf had just finished his training room treatment and was walking to the dugout when Hart sent Bryan Shaw's pitch in the air to the deepest part of left-center field. Left fielder Gerardo Parra snagged it on the warning track, leaving Hart with a long sacrifice fly that would prove the Brewers' only run in the inning.

"I didn't hit it great, but I thought I hit it good enough to get it out there," Hart said. "Wrong part of the park, and not enough of the good part of the bat. There's so many things that could have happened, but we knew it was going to be a challenge coming here. These guys [the D-backs] weren't going to quit. Now we have to go home and be happy that Game 5 is at home."

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke stuck with Wolf as the left-hander struggled through each of his innings. Wolf threw only 41 of his 81 pitches for strikes and surrendered seven earned runs on eight hits. Two of his three walks turn into runs. Roberts' grand slam came on a hanging changeup after Wolf had fallen behind, 2-and-0.

"My command was horrible today," Wolf said. "The curveball, I couldn't throw for strikes all day. That put me in a corner. I think every hitter I got behind in the count. If you do that, it's hard to be successful."

All seven of Arizona's runs off Wolf scored with two outs, including two big insurance scores on pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill's single in the third. Roenicke had stuck with Wolf to that point hoping for a turnaround; opponents batted .326 during the regular season against Wolf's first 25 pitches in a game, .259 on pitches 26-5, .246 on pitches 51-75 and .230 on pitches 76-100.

In other words, Wolf had managed to rebound from poor opening innings.

"We were certainly hoping he would," Roenicke said. "There's been a lot of outings this year where that first inning he scuffled, and then he turned it around and got us into the sixth, seventh inning. That's what we were hoping he would do."

He did not, and now the series hinges on a decisive Game 5.

"I feel that going into Friday, it's going to be the same team that Brewers fans are used to seeing," Wolf said. "Unfortunately, this thing gets extended another game. We wanted to take care of it here. With 'Yo' on the mound on Friday, I think our chances are good." Comments