Wisconsin scored four runs in the first two games of the Midwest League Finals. With the series tied, 1-1, the Timber Rattlers were looking to break out on Saturday night.
They did. In a big way.
Brandon Macias went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer as the Timber Rattlers scored five times in the fourth inning and held on for a 10-8 victory that put them one win away from the championship.
Wisconsin trailed, 2-1, heading to the fourth, but Nick Ramirez led off with his league-leading fourth playoff homer. Adrian Williams singled home the go-ahead run with two outs and Macias capped the rally with his first postseason longball.
"[My home run] was a big part, but Adrian came up big with that hit with two outs, tied the game up," said Macias, a non-drafted free agent who signed with the Brewers in June 2011. "Everything after that fell into place. It definitely changed the momentum.
"We had struggled the last few games and just kind of worked on some stuff in batting practice, and we came through tonight; [the top four] in the lineup hadn't been doing too well and tonight we put it all together."
Macias finished 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. No. 2 hitter Chadwin Stang chipped in two hits and two RBIs, while No. 3 hitter Ben McMahan was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Batting cleanup, Ramirez also walked.
All the offense proved necessary after the TinCaps reduced a six-run deficit to 10-8 in the ninth. They brought the potential tying run to the plate with a runner at third and two outs, but Santo Manzanillo struck out Duanel Jones for his second playoff save.
"They were tremendous," Wisconsin starter David Goforth said of the offense. "They score all those runs and you think it's enough and we end up giving up two more runs there at the end. We had to use them all tonight, [but] those guys stepped up. We'd been pitching pretty well in the playoffs, so tonight it was the hitters that carried us."
Goforth, the Brewers' No. 17 prospect, recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He improved to 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two playoff starts after fanning nine in a complete-game shutout to close out Burlington in the first round.
The 23-year-old attributed his newfound penchant for punchouts to a slider he started using more as the season went along.
With the championship within their grasp, the Timber Rattlers are riding high, Goforth said.
"This team is one of the better teams that I've ever been a part of, the character is incredible," he said. "The whole season -- we get down in games or lose a game and we always bounce back. I would say we've been confident the whole time."
Yeison Asencio had two hits and two RBIs, while Tyler Stubblefield doubled twice, scored twice and drove in a run for Fort Wayne, which hosts Game 4 on Sunday.