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Diamondbacks aim to finish rally today

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011
 

MILWAUKEE -- Yovani Gallardo called this start the biggest of his career. Ian Kennedy hoped for any chance to pitch again this season.

"It's definitely a whole different atmosphere," Gallardo said. "Anything can happen."

The Arizona Diamondbacks look to complete their biggest rally of the season today 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 major league-best 57 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. "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 in Game 1, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings in a 4-1 victory. The 25-year-old right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in six career starts against Arizona but acknowledges he has never pitched in an elimination game on any level.

"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," he 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 offensive surge ended in Arizona, where the Diamondbacks won both games. Kennedy, a 21-game winner, could do little but wait to see whether he would 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," shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. "That's Miggy keeping us loose and doing what he does best."

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 Tuesday's Game 3 and Ryan Roberts' first-inning effort in a 10-6 win in Wednesday's 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.

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