The Milwaukee Brewers were essentially in must-win mode.
They entered their Tuesday night showdown with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the midst of a race for the National League Wild Card berth, one game behind the New York Mets. The Mets had just beaten the Chicago Cubs to temporarily raise their advantage on Milwaukee to 1.5 games, and it would have been two if the Brewers didn’t hold serve on Pittsburgh.
Things were looking bleak in the 8th inning after Steve Pearce’s two-run homer off Guillermo Mota gave Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead, but Jason Kendall slapped an RBI double to tie it in the bottom of the frame.
The Brewers were in danger of the contest reaching extra innings, as two outs stood on the scoreboard when Ryan Braun came to the plate. But he hit a grounder past second base for a single to keep the inning alive.
Then came Prince Fielder.
With a 2-0 pitch coming from T.J. Beam, Fielder’s powerful, looping swing delivered the baseball into the right-center field seats, and delivered the Brewers their first of three game-winning home runs in their final swings that week – all necessary to clinch their first playoff berth in 26 years.