“It’s definitely a whole different atmosphere,” Gallardo said. “Anything can happen.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks look to complete their biggest rally of the season after being down 0-2 on Friday when they face the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 5 with a berth in the NL championship series at stake.
It’s a rematch of Game 1 starters when Gallardo bested Kennedy to keep his perfect record against the Diamondbacks intact. Milwaukee went on to win the first two games at Miller Park, where the Brewers had a majors-best 57 home victories in the regular season, before Arizona stayed alive by winning the next two in Phoenix.
“I don’t think anything in the past will carry over into Milwaukee,” Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young said. “It’s pretty much a one-game playoff. Everybody talks about Milwaukee’s home record and our record on the road or whatever, but that’s over an entire season.
“We have to deal with this one game that we have coming up and the game’s really open to anybody.”
Gallardo retired 14 of 15 at one point, allowing one run on four hits over eight innings in a 4-1 victory in Game 1. The 25-year-old right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in six career starts against Arizona, but acknowledges he’s never pitched in an elimination game on any level.
“I just try to stay as relaxed as I can. I’m the same person no matter what. So it’s going to be a little bit tougher, but I just have to stay out there, relax, and just pitch my game and see what happens,” Gallardo said. “I would say definitely it is the most important game in my career.”
Milwaukee used a five-run sixth inning to win 9-4 in Game 2, but the beastly offensive attack ended in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks won both games facing elimination.
Kennedy, a 21-game winner, could do little but wait to see if he’d even get another chance to pitch this season after being knocked out of the first game when Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
“When you’re down 0-2 you just know every single game matters,” Kennedy said. “I was willing to do anything, anything possible, just to help out in any possible way.”
Arizona battled back in every way back in Phoenix, including when Miguel Montero helped begin a celebration they coined “The Snake” to answer Milwaukee’s arms-raised bravado of “Beast Mode.”
“It’s certainly caught on like wildfire, guys are doing it all over the place,” Diamondbacks shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. “That’s Miggy keeping us loose and doing what he does best. It seems to help out because when guys kind of relax and just kind of do their thing when he’s being himself.”
Bigger still was the way Arizona struck against Milwaukee with grand slams by rookie Paul Goldschmidt in the fifth inning of an 8-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday and Ryan Roberts’ first-inning effort in a 10-6 win in Game 4.
The Diamondbacks joined the 1977 Dodgers as the only two teams to hit slams in consecutive playoff games after rallying for a major league-best 48 comeback wins in the regular season.