Betancourt helps propel Crew to NLCS
'Yuni' comes through with key RBI single in Game 5
MILWAUKEE -- Yuniesky Betancourt's nickname is rarely said in a normal tone of voice.
"Yuni" the man is a quiet and unassuming man. "Yuni" the nickname is usually screamed by fans in Brewers nation, either in delight or in frustration.
Sometimes, fans can't believe the amazing things Yuni can do on the field. Other times, fans can't believe Yuni just did that...
Betancourt had a series to remember against the D-backs in the National League Division Series, and now he and his teammates are four victories away from going to the World Series.
You better believe it.
"What can I say?," Betancourt said. "That was an amazing series. I'm just glad I could help the team win. We won, and that's all that matters."
It was quite a series for Betancourt. He went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in Wednesday's 10-6 loss in Game 4 in Phoenix after totaling just one hit in the three previous games of the series.
The shortstop had only one hit in Friday's 3-2 extra-inning victory in Game 5 that sent the Brewers to the NL Championship Series, but it was a big one. And this time, he had a sold-out crowd at Miller Park screaming "Yuni" for all of the right reasons.
"All I was thinking was: Get a hit," Betancourt said. "I did, we scored and that's it. It was a big run at that point of the game. I knew I could do it."
The score was tied at 1 in the sixth inning when Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun led off the frame with a double. Prince Fielder followed with a walk. A popout by Rickie Weeks on a failed bunt attempt and a long out by Jerry Hairston Jr. later, Betancourt stepped to the plate with two outs and the chance to put his team ahead.
That's exactly what he did.
Betancourt followed with a single to center field that scored Braun to give the Brewers a 2-1 advantage. Milwaukee's lead stood until the ninth inning, when the D-backs tied game. The Brewers eventually won in the 10th inning on a single up the middle by Nyjer Morgan that scored Carlos Gomez from second base. Gomez hit a one-out single and stole second base to set up Morgan's heroics.
"I won championships in Cuba, but this is up there," Betancourt said. "I'm living my dream here. I'm in the playoffs and I'm helping my team win. The ultimate goal is to win the World Series, and we are one step closer. What can I say? This is incredible."
Betancourt also charmed the fans with his defense Friday.
With the game knotted in the top of the ninth, the shortstop made a fine play on a slowly hit ball by D-backs catcher Henry Blanco with the go-ahead run on third base and Justin Upton on first base.
Betancourt fielded Blanco's ball cleanly near second base, raced to the bag and narrowly beat Upton to the base for the forceout to end the inning. Betancourt and Upton collided on the play, with Betancourt tumbling to the ground. He stayed down for a few moments before hopping up and jogging off the field for the bottom half of the inning.
The sold-out crowd at Miller Park chanted "Yuni, Yuni, Yuni," as he descended down the steps.
"Is this the best moment of my career? Yes," Betancourt said. "But we are not done. I want more moments."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.