Game 1 coverage roundup

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Here’s our coverage of Game 1 of the Brewers-Diamondbacks National League Division Series Game 1:

- Brewers game story: Yovani Gallardo made the most of his second start in a postseason opener, and the Brewers’ big hitters backed him up. Gallardo pitched eight inspired innings and tied Don Sutton’s postseason franchise record with nine strikeouts, and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder combined for five of the Brewers’ eight hits in a tone-setting, 4-1 win over the D-backs in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Saturday.

- D-backs game story:  A pair of decisions by their manager will be dissected as well as an aggressive send by their third-base coach, but it was the lack of offense that really cost the D-backs in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

- Performer of the game: For each game of the NLDS, we’ll pick a top performer, and the Game 1 choice was easy. Gallardo had been on this stage before, but the circumstances surrounding his last postseason experience were much different than the atmosphere the young Brewers starter stepped into on Saturday afternoon.

- Braun’s big day: His 3-for-4 performance came three days late, but Ryan Braun didn’t seem to care. Braun needed three hits in the Brewers’ final regular-season game Wednesday to secure the National League batting title. Instead, he went 0-for-4. But on the big stage in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the D-backs on Saturday, Braun delivered with his arm and his bat.

- Roenicke makes the right choice: Columnist Mike Bauman says  it turns out that starting Jerry Hairston Jr. at third base in the opening game of the 2011 postseason was not only the correct move. The way Hairston played, it was a brilliant move.

- “Beast Mode” hits national stage: Brewers fans know it well by now, but you can picture fans around the country sitting on their couches in the first inning Saturday and asking aloud, “Why did Ryan Braun just throw his arms in the air?” Players explain.

- Gibson’s challenge conjures memories of ’84: D-backs manager Kirk Gibson’s decision to challenge Prince Fielder in the seventh inning of Saturday’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series was interesting in itself. Arizona’s deficit was only 2-0, with two outs and first base open. Fielder drew a Major League-leading 32 intentional walks in 2011, often in situations just like this. But Gibson’s decision to let his best pitcher — Ian Kennedy — pitch to Fielder in what became Milwaukee’s 4-1 victory was even more interesting when you consider the history.

- Rare loss for Kennedy: After establishing himself as the D-backs ace with a 21-win season that saw him go 13-1 with a 2.36 ERA over his final 15 starts, Ian Kennedy entered his Game 1 start against the Brewers on a roll.But unfortunately for Kennedy, he exited it with a rare loss, as he was pegged for four runs — two coming on a homer from Prince Fielder with two outs in the seventh — over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-1 defeat to the Brewers on Saturday at Miller Park.

- Game 2 starters: The D-backs will go with their No. 2 starter, Daniel Hudson, a 16-game winner, in the second game. That’s the way these things generally work. The Brewers will be going with their second starter, Zack Greinke, also a 16-game winner, but he will be working on three days’ rest, for the second straight start. If that looks like a gamble, the Brewers figure the larger gamble would have been not getting Greinke a start at Miller Park in this series.

- Game 2 starter, Part II:  Ron Roenicke knew all along that Zack Greinke was going to take the ball for the Brewers on Sunday. Milwaukee’s manager played things coy publicly, but the plan for the past few days has always been to turn to the pitcher on short rest.

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