Highlights aplenty for Brewers in 2009

Highlights aplenty for Brewers in 2009

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers fell short of the postseason, but 2009 nonetheless had its share of highlights -- Yovani Gallardo's homer off the Big Unit. Prince Fielder's first career grand slam. A triple play that was followed by the year's most memorable home run celebration.

Here's a video stroll through Milwaukee's 2009 season. Stop by the comments section at the end and tell us which moment was your personal favorite.

  April 8 -- Brewers vs. Giants
Gallardo pitched and hit his way to a win in his 2009 debut. His three-run homer off Randy Johnson was the difference in a 4-1 win. Gallardo became the first pitcher to homer off the Big Unit, whose San Francisco debut was spoiled.

"Forget about him being a pitcher," said Brewers manager Ken Macha, who notched his first Milwaukee win. "That ball was tattooed for a hitter. It was way out."

  April 10 -- Brewers vs. Cubs
The Brewers won a dramatic home opener on Rickie Weeks' headfirst slide home in the bottom of the ninth, a 4-3 triumph all the more sweet because it came against the cross-border Cubs. There's something about the home opener in recent seasons; the Brewers are 5-0 in those games since Mark Attanasio bought the team.

  April 23 -- Brewers at Phillies
Dave Bush came within five outs of history. With his parents in the stands in Philadelphia, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before Matt Stairs' pinch-hit homer that clanked off the right-field foul pole. Stairs preserved Juan Nieves' place in Brewers history as the only pitcher to hurl a no-no. Nieves did it in 1987.

Not included in the video is third baseman Bill Hall's eighth-inning defensive gem just before Stairs went deep. Hall ranged into foul territory for a Greg Dobbs grounder and fired a long strike to Fielder at first base for the first out of the inning.

"When Billy made that play, I really thought it was going to be [Bush's] day, our day," Ryan Braun said. "It almost happened."

 April 28 -- Brewers vs. Pirates
A day after his Brewers debut, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman sealed a 6-5 win and notched his first save for Milwaukee. Hoffman's entrances were good theater at Miller Park, where AC/DC's "Hells Bells" rocked the rafters as he trotted to the mound.

 April 29 - Brewers vs. Pirates
Gallardo did it again. He struck out 11 Pirates batters to set a career high and took care of the offensive side himself with a solo home run for a 1-0 win. Gallardo (3-1) became the first pitcher to homer in a 1-0 win since Odalis Perez did it for the Dodgers vs. the D-backs on Aug. 28, 2002.

  May 8 -- Brewers vs. Cubs
Déjà vu for Braun, who hit another go-ahead, eighth-inning homer against the Cubs that was reminiscent of the 2008 regular-season finale. This one wasn't commemorated in a bobblehead doll like his '08 blast, but it gave the Brewers another satisfying win over their cross-border rivals.

  May 18 -- Brewers at Cardinals
Braun has made his mark as a hitter, but he can catch, too. He proved it to the Cardinals' Skip Schumaker with this defensive gem in a 4-0 Milwaukee win.

  May 25 -- Brewers vs. Nationals
The Brewers scored a unique "run-off" win over the Cardinals on Memorial Day. Dueling starters Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter each worked eight innings and surrendered only two harmless singles, leaving the teams tied into the 10th inning. After Bill Hall delivered the game-winning hit, the Brewers skipped the usual on-field celebration and instead sprinted to the clubhouse in not-so-subtle dig at the Cardinals. St. Louis players had complained in the past about the Brewers untucking their jerseys on the field following wins.

  June 15 -- Brewers at Indians
What a ballgame in Cleveland. Fielder picked quite a moment to belt his first career grand slam on a wild night of Interleague Play, part of a career-best six-RBI night and a six-run inning. Braun added five RBIs as the Brewers overcame Bush's worst start of the season and clawed back from deficits of 8-3 after four innings and 12-7 after the sixth to win, 14-12.

"That's American League baseball for you right there. That's fun," said Braun, who finished a double shy of the cycle.

  June 27 -- Brewers vs. Giants
Mike Cameron took a homer back from the Giants' Nate Schierholtz with a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the seventh inning. Considering the Brewers rallied for a 7-6 win, it might have been Milwaukee's play of the year if not for a triple play in September and a handful of late-season gems from rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar.

  June 29 -- Brewers vs. Mets
Casey McGehee went from goat to hero, atoning for a costly dropped popup in the top of the sixth inning with his first career grand slam in the bottom of the frame. He took one of the most reluctant curtain calls you'll ever see in a 10-6 win over New York.

"If you play long enough, you're going to have those, 'What are you doing?' moments," said McGehee, who emerged from the waiver wire to be a bona fide National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

  July 13 -- Home Run Derby at St. Louis
Fielder went the distance against a former Brewers teammate, besting Nelson Cruz in the State Farm Home Run Derby. He also hit the longest homer of the night, a 503-foot monster.

"I've never hit a ball 500 feet, so that's pretty cool," Fielder said. "I'm just happy. It was pretty cool to actually win one. You never think as a kid you're going to win one, but I just always hoped I would win one. So to win one tonight is kind of like a dream come true, I guess."

  July 29 -- Brewers vs. Nationals
What a day for the McGehee family. Two-year-old Mack threw a ceremonial first pitch to commemorate a gift from the Brewers Wives to the nonprofit group United Cerebral Palsy, and six innings later, dad delivered. Casey McGehee came off the bench to deliver a go-ahead, two-run home run that kept the Brewers atop the National League Central. Teary-eyed after the game, McGehee told Mackail's story.

"When I hit the home run, I honestly didn't think anyone else would think anything of it other than we won," McGehee said. "But then Trevor [Hoffman] came to me with the baseball from his save and asked me to sign it and write something about Mack throwing out the first pitch. That's when it hit me that maybe other guys were touched by it, too."

  Aug. 25 -- Brewers vs. Reds
The Brewers were in a pretty deep hole at the time, but Cameron helped keep the deficit at five with a slick, over-the-shoulder catch to rob an extra-base hit in the eighth inning. It proved an even bigger catch when Milwaukee rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to force extras.

  Sept. 3 -- Brewers at Cardinals
Albert Pujols got a pair of opportunities to win the game late for the Cardinals, but Claudio Vargas got him in the seventh inning and Hoffman did the same in the ninth for a 4-3 win that had the feel of a pennant race.

  Sept. 6 -- Brewers vs. Giants
You know you've got a good ballgame on your hands when a triple play is fourth on the list of defensive gems. But that was probably the case in this thrilling 2-1 win over the Giants that featured the Brewers' first triple play in more than a decade. McGehee fielded Aaron Rowand's grounder, fired to Felipe Lopez, who relayed to Fielder at first for the fifth triple play in the Brewers' 40-year history, and the first since April 16, 1999, when third baseman Jeff Cirillo initiated a similar 5-4-3 play in a home opener at County Stadium against the Cubs. Cirillo to Fernando Vina to Sean Berry in the seventh retired Chicago's Benito Santiago.

"It was fun," Fielder said. "Especially the way the season is going now for us, it's always good to have something fun happen."

  Sept. 6 -- Brewers vs. Giants
In the same game, Jason Kendall got a crucial out with the Giants rallying in the 10th when he dove behind the plate to retire Juan Uribe.

  Sept. 6 -- Brewers vs. Giants
Another highlight from the same amazing game. Fielder hit a walk-off homer in the 12th inning, but the real drama came after he jumped on home plate and sent his teammates sprawling. A couple of Giants weren't happy, considering that Milwaukee's premeditated celebration came as San Francisco was scratching for the playoffs, but Fielder and Braun both insisted that they meant no harm. Good or bad, the "boom goes the dynamite" act became one of the signature moments of the Brewers' season.

  Sept. 13 -- Brewers at D-backs
With apologies to Cameron, Escobar might have made the Brewers' play of the year in this 5-3 win over Arizona. He robbed Rusty Ryan of a sure single with an off-balance bullet to first base.

  Sept. 18 -- Brewers vs. Astros
Fielder lifted a sacrifice fly off Astros closer Jose Valverde to break Houston manager Cecil Cooper's 26-year-old franchise record for RBIs. Cooper drove in 126 runs in 1983; fellow first baseman Fielder notched No. 127 with 14 games left to play.

"It's about time," said Fielder, who had been stuck on 126 for six days. "I've had so many opportunities over the past week and I haven't been able to get the job done. I finally was able to come through. ... It's a cool achievement, just to be lumped with a guy like 'Coop.'"

  Sept. 20 -- Brewers vs. Astros
In his final start of the season, Gallardo fanned seven Astros to become the fourth pitcher in Brewers history to reach 200 strikeouts. Milwaukee decided to cut short Gallardo's season to protect their young ace from an innings spike following his injury-shortened 2008.

  Sept. 26 -- Brewers vs. Phillies
Braun snapped a home run drought with a game-winning shot, No. 30 for the season, on Fan Appreciation Night at Miller Park. He hadn't homered in 15 games before the blast.

"I think a walk-off home run is about as good a feeling as you can have as a professional athlete," Braun said. "That will definitely not get old."

  Oct. 3 -- Brewers at Cardinals
The Brewers' slugging stars saved some highlights for the season finale. Braun stole his 20th base and finished the year with a National League-best 203 hits, and Fielder homered twice to tie Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the Major League lead with 141 RBIs. Fielder's second blast gave the Brewers a one-run lead in the ninth inning, but they would need extras to finish a 9-7 win that capped the season on a high note.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.