Morgan hit a one-out grounder up the middle and Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz tried in vain to stop it with his leg. Carlos Gomez scored from second, sailing across home plate as a wild throw went high, and Morgan was mobbed by jubilant teammates near the mound.
The latest dramatic finish for baseball’s best home team at raucous Miller Park gave Milwaukee its first victory in a postseason series since it won the AL pennant in 1982.
“We’ve heard all about 1982, so it’s nice to start our own legacy,” slugger Ryan Braun said.
Next, the Brewers move on to face St. Louis, which beat Philadelphia 1-0 on Friday night. The NLCS begins Sunday.
Arizona did all it could to extend its surprising season. Center fielder Chris Young made a jaw-dropping catch in the sixth and the Diamondbacks had one last comeback left in the ninth.
Willie Bloomquist drove in the tying run with a safety squeeze, but Arizona was unable to forge ahead against closer John Axford.
“This was a great baseball game today. I’m not happy to be on this end of it. Yet I’m proud of my team and they played true to the way they played all year,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
“And the Brewers, they cashed in on their opportunities, what can we say? We had tons of opportunities.”
Morgan was a critical addition for the Brewers this year and had several clutch hits, winning fans along the way with his oversized personality that includes a wildman alter-ego he calls “Tony Plush.” But he wasn’t having a particularly productive series until his big moment in the deciding game.
With a 2-1 lead and their tough 1-2 bullpen combination of Francisco Rodriguez and Axford lined up for the eighth and ninth, the Brewers appeared to have their ticket punched to the NLCS.
But the Diamondbacks had the most comeback victories in the majors this season (48) and weren’t about to go away easily.
They nearly got the best of Rodriguez in the eighth. He loaded the bases with two outs for Ryan Roberts. But Rodriguez got Roberts to ground into a forceout at second base, ending the threat.