Game Twenty-One – Cubs 6 Brewers 9
WP – Dave Bush (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (0-1) Save – Chris Narveson (1)
Even during the regular season, the Cubs will have days like Monday with bad pitching and no clutch hitting. Jeff Samardzija recorded the first two outs with relative ease then fell apart. The Brewers jumped the Shark to the tune of five runs, all with two outs with the big hits coming off the bats of Prince Fielder and Bill Hall.
Fielder tripled in J.J. Hardy for the game’s first run and scored on a throwing error by Mike Fontenot. Corey Hart followed with the Brewers third straight extra base hit, a double to left. Samardzija then walked Mike Cameron ahead of Bill Hall’s 3-run homer to left on a 2-0 pitch. All five hits surrendered by Samardzija went for extra bases…three doubles, a triple and a home run.
Jeff Stevens took the mound in the third and did not fare any better than Samardzija. Stevens gave up three runs on four hits with a strikeout. Corey Hart led off the third with home run and the walk issued by Stevens was to Dave Bush.
The highlights for the Cubs on Monday belonged to Aramis Ramirez, Mitch Atkins, Alfonso Soriano and Welington Castillo.
Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a double and finished 2-for-3. Aramis Ramirez added his second home run of the spring in the sixth and turned in a 2-for-3 afternoon. Welington Castillo hit his second home run in as many days, a 3-run shot in the eighth that cut the Brewers lead to 8-6.
Mitch Atkins replaced Jeff Stevens in the fourth and was very impressive against the heart of the Brewers lineup. Atkins made only one mistake, a single to left by Corey Hart. Atkins struck out the other three batters he faced…Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron looking and Bill Hall swinging. Outside of a couple of players (Ryan Braun, Geovany Soto, Milton Bradley) both teams ran out their everyday lineups on Monday…and the Brewers’ explosive offense took advantage of the Cubs young pitchers while the Cubs offense could not break through against Dave Bush.
Jeff Samardzija’s lone strikeout came against the first batter he faced. Samardzija struck out Rickie Weeks then induced a ground out to short off the bat of Chris Duffy. The Shark flew through the first two batters.
J.J. Hardy doubled to right center with two outs then Prince Fielder tripled to right. The ball went off of Micah Hoffpauir’s glove on a play described by Pat Hughes as a difficult one. Fielder slid into third but Mike Fontenot’s throw ended up in the dugout…and Fielder was given the extra base.
Corey Hart lined a double to left and after Mike Cameron walked, Bill Hall cleared the bases…a 3-run shot over the wall in left.
After issuing a 4-pitch walk to Jason Kendall, Dave Bush grounded back to the mound, the ball went off Samardzija’s glove to Ryan Theriot who nailed Bush at first to end the inning.
Samardzija worked around a ground rule double by Chris Duffy in the second. The Shark uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Duffy to third with Hardy at the plate. Hardy ended up grounding out to Derrek Lee for the second out of the inning. Prince Fielder grounded out to Lee to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol made his second appearance since returning from the WBC in the fifth inning. Other than a 2-out walk to Rickie Weeks, Marmol was effective in his inning of work.
Luis Vizcaino helped his cause in the sixth. He retired the Brewers in order with a lineout to short by J.J. Hardy, a lineout to first by Prince Fielder and a swinging strikeout by Corey Hart.
The Cubs first run came in the second after a 2-out double down the left field line by Reed Johnson and a single to right by Paul Bako.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth off Dave Bush and came away empty. Micah Hoffpauir walked to start the inning and Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to left. Mike Fontenot reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Reed Johnson swung at the first pitch from Dave Bush and popped out to second base (infield fly rule) for the first out. Paul Bako stepped in and popped up a 1-0 pitch to third (infield fly rule) for the second out…and pinch hitter Doug Deeds looked at strike three to end the inning.
The Cubs rallied in the eighth off of Sam Narron. Jake Fox reached on a 1-out double to right center and advanced to third on a single to left by Jason Dubois. Bobby Scales singled in Fox with the Cubs’ third run.
With runners on first and third and no outs, Luis Rivas fouled out. Welington Castillo stepped in and cut the Brewers lead to 8-6. Castillo hit a 3-run homer over the wall in left…his second round tripper of the spring and in as many days.
The Cubs will face the Manny Ramirez-less Dodgers on Tuesday in Glendale. Carlos Zambrano is expected to make the start against Randy Wolf.