Patience, it's been said, is a virtue.
Patience paid off for the Brewers Saturday night against Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer.
"These guys knew what they had to do with a guy like Moyer on the mound," interim manager Dale Sveum said after the Brewers' 4-1 victory in Game 3. "They knew they had to be patient, and they were."
Showing uncharacteristic discipline at the plate, the Milwaukee lineup finally showed signs of life. The Brewers belted out 11 hits - their most since Sept. 23 when they had 11 in a 7-5 victory over the Pirates.
The Brewers' game plan going into the game was to wait for Moyer, a soft-tossing left-hander, to make a mistake. The plan worked; Milwaukee hitters worked count after count against Moyer, who threw 90 pitches over four innings.
"That was our game plan going in," said Bill Hall. "We wanted to make him throw something over the middle of the plate. If you don't get it, take it. We took a lot of pitches today and put pressure on him. He started making a couple of mistakes and we took advantage of it."
Though still searching for a post-season home run and struggling to get the big hit - the Brewers twice stranded a pair of runners and loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings without scoring - the improved approach was a sigh of relief for the beleaguered lineup.
Getting a pair of runs in the first inning helped, too.
"We just needed to get off to a good start and get a couple runs early and hopefully we could relax from there," said J.J. Hardy, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored Saturday. "We had some base runners tonight. We had some opportunities."
The small-ball mentality has worked well for the Brewers over the last few weeks.
Standing their ground: Most of the attention surrounding the Brewers in the NLDS has gone to the faltering lineup and CC Sabathia's short outing in Game 2, but the bullpen has quietly been a stabilizing force.
Among the most consistent performers has been Eric Gagne, much-maligned during the regular season in a variety of roles. He struggled as the closer and battled through injury but has settled down over the last few weeks, allowing four runs in 12 September appearances and has given up just one hit in two scoreless innings of work.
Gagne said there was no trick to his recent success.
"I'm throwing more strikes and that builds more confidence," Gagne said. "Two three good outings and you start to feel more confident. That's all it is. Just going out there and getting people out, it's basically all I'm trying to do and that's what I've been able to do the last five or six outings."
Overall, Milwaukee relievers have been outstanding in the postseason. In 12 innings of relief, they have yet to give up a run. In its last ten outings, the bullpen has an ERA of 1.27.
Carlos Villanueva, who threw an inning and a third of relief in Game 3 and retired all seven batters he faced in Game 1, said the relievers are ready for anything, given the do-or-die nature of the post-season.
"You've got to be ready in every inning," Villanueva said. "Dale's not afraid to use anybody in any situation. It keeps us sharp."
The bullpen didn't get a lot of work during the team's 20-7 run in August. The starters were consistently working deep into ballgames and CC Sabathia was at his best, throwing all but 5 2/3 innings of a possible 54 including three complete games.
Overall, the starters threw 187 2/3 innings in 27 games and just a 136 innings in 26 September contests. They went 3-10 with a 4.43 ERA during the final month while the bullpen was 7-6 with a 3.70 ERA.
"We're happy to contribute and help," Villanueva said. "We weren't getting that opportunity for awhile because the starters were going so deep."
Welcome home: A raucous crowd of 43,992 was on hand for the first-ever postseason game at eight-year-old Miller Park, and it made its presence known.
Waving white "rally towels" and screaming from the first pitch, the fans created an intimidating and inspiring atmosphere under the closed roof.
Bill Hall has the second-longest tenure among current Brewers, trailing only Ben Sheets. A frequent subject of boos this season - and a member of a 106-loss team his rookie season - Hall was impressed with the way the fans got into the act.
"Jimmy Rollins was talking to me when I was on second base," Hall said. "He said he thought he might have to put earplugs in because he couldn't concentrate."
Like Hall, Eric Gagne has heard his share of criticism this year. He, too, gave the crowd due credit and said the energy was understandable, considering the franchise's postseason drought.
Any worries about "too much, too soon" were quickly put to rest.
"I didn't think they were going to keep it up in the second inning," Gagne said. I thought they had to get tired sometime. It was good. It's been 26 years, so they've got a lot of stored up energy and they're ready to rock and roll."
Owner Mark Attanasio said he got goose bumps at one point during the game and was impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and intensity he felt at the stadium.
"The crowd was the extra guy tonight," Attanasio said. "Looking up to see people at the top of our stadium, in the very last row, waving rally towels ... it was just really special."
Blast from the past: How long has Moyer been in baseball? Brewers bench coach Robin Yount, who retired following the 1993 season, went 3 for 11 for four walks against Moyer while Dale Sveum went 0 for 1 and was hit by a pitch.
Random stats: The pitching staff didn't issue a walk for the 17th time this season. The Brewers are 14-3 in such games. ... Villanueva's sixth-inning single was the 50th hit by a Brewers pitcher this year, tying Milwaukee hurlers for third-most in the National League with Arizona.
Obligatory 1982 reference: The Brewers' 11 hits Saturday tied the franchise record for postseason hits in one game, set in Game 5 of the 1982 World Series. The Brewers won that game, played on Oct. 17, 6-4. The Game 3 victory at Miller Park was the franchise's first victory since that night.
State Fair Parking encouraged: The Brewers are encouraging fans to take advantage of parking at State Fair Park. Fans can use the 84th Street exit on I-94 where signage and staff will direct vehicles. Shuttle service to Miller Park will be available before and after the game, beginning two hours prior to the first pitch and an hour after the game's conclusion. Parking at State Fair Park will cost $10, compared to $20 and $30 at the stadium.
Game 4 tidbits: Major League Baseball Commissioner - and former Brewers owner - Bud Selig will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Jennifer Zielke will perform the National Anthem. ... All fans will receive a pair of ThunderStix. ... Parking lots at Miller Park will open at 9 a.m.; gates will open at 10 a.m.