Game One Hundred Forty-Four – Cubs 5 Brewers 9
WP – Braden Looper (13-6) LP – Rich Harden (9-9) Save – None
The end of Rich Harden’s season is starting to look like the way it began, very inconsistent and ineffective. Rich Harden was hit very hard in his three innings of work and if the wind had not been blowing in the score could have been a lot worse. Harden gave up five runs, two earned, on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts on 71 pitches, 41 for strikes. Harden’s three innings of work on Wednesday night was his second shortest outing in a Cubs’ uniform.
Alcides Escobar finished the night 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI … all three on two-out hits. Escobar drove in the first run of the game on a two-out double down the left field line. Braden Looper drove in the Brewers’ second run with a bloop single to center … it was that kind of night for Rich Harden.
The Cubs committed two more errors that led to more unearned runs. Aramis Ramirez’s tenth error of the year in third led to all three runs Harden allowed to be unearned.
David Patton, instead of Tom Gorzelanny or Sean Marshall, replaced Harden and could not keep the Brewers off the scoreboard. Patton gave up four runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in an inning and a third of work. Two of the four runs credited to Patton came on a single by Corey Hart off of Justin Berg.
The Brewers scored all nine of their runs in the first five innings against Harden, David Patton and Justin Berg.
Tom Gorzelanny finally entered the game in the sixth and threw two innings of shutout ball. Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall gave the Cubs’ offense a chance with four shutout innings but the hole was too deep for the Cubs to dig out of on Wednesday night.
Kosuke Fukudome, who is in a 0-for-23 slump, drove in the Cubs’ first run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly that plated Aaron Miles. Derrek Lee picked up his 102nd RBI of the year with a single to center in the third that cut the Brewers lead to 5-2.
With the Cubs down 9-2 in the fifth, Derrek Lee walked to start the inning and scored on Aramis Ramirez’s 13th homer of the season. Ramirez cut the deficit to 9-4 with two more RBI. Ramirez has driven in 58 runs in an injury-shortened season.
The Cubs last run was scored on a fielder’s choice ground out off the bat of Bobby Scales later in the fifth.
Braden Looper continued his domination over the Cubs and earned his 13th win of the year … a new career-high.
Aramis Ramirez made two tremendous defensive plays in the later innings that helped keep the Brewers off the board. Jake Fox took a double away from Ryan Braun in the eighth, his first outfield assist … and Andres Blanco was stellar in the field once again.
The Cubs lost to the Brewers for only the second time this season at Wrigley Field … With the wind blowing in very hard (15 MPH from center at game time), Wednesday night figured to be a low-scoring game, but …
The Cubs’ offense had plenty of opportunities. They pounded out 13 hits but walked only three times … and not once after the fifth inning. They finished the night 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. Kosuke Fukudome, despite the sac fly RBI, and Milton Bradley are in huge slumps and are nothing but automatic outs right now. Bradley was lifted in the fourth on a double switch.
Rich Harden faced just one over the minimum in the first inning but it was obvious in the opening frame that it was going to be a short night for Harden. He struggled with his command from the first pitch of the game, could not locate his changeup and was all over the place.
Casey McGehee recorded the Brewers first hit, a single to left to start the second. Mike Cameron followed and hit a fly out to left that would have left the park on any other night. Jason Kendall lined out to left for the second out. Alcides Escobar followed with a double down the left field line on a 2-0 pitch. McGehee scored all the way from first.
Braden Looper then blooped a single into center on a 1-1 pitch that plated Escobar with the Brewers’ second run. Looper’s eighth RBI of the season … and both runs in the second came on two out hits from the eighth place hitter and the pitcher.
The game got extremely ugly in the third. Corey Hart singled to left to start the inning. Rich Harden then fell behind Ryan Braun 3-0. On a 3-2 pitch, Braun hit a smash to third and Ramirez allowed the ball to play him. Braun was originally given a double … but it was changed to an error in the fourth.
With runners on second and third with no outs, Prince Fielder was intentionally walked. Casey McGehee hit a sacrifice fly to right. Hart scored and Braun advanced to third … it was a nice piece of hitting. Mike Cameron walked to load the bases.
Jason Kendall then hit a weak grounder to third, Ramirez threw home and for some reason, Soto tagged Braun instead of stepping on the plate. Alcides Escobar followed with a bloop single to center. Fielder and Cameron scored, 5-0 Brewers.
Rich Harden struck out Braden Looper to end the inning … and his night.
David Patton replaced Harden in the fourth. Felipe Lopez reached on a single to center. Corey Hart then hit a one-hop smash off Patton that Theriot picked up and got the out at first. With Lopez at second, Soto scooped a ball with his mask on a 1-0 pitch in the dirt. That is a no-no and against the rules … the error advanced Lopez to third and he scored on a single to center by Braun, 6-2 Brewers.
Patton then walked Fielder on four pitches. Aramis Ramirez took away a hit from McGehee on a diving stop and forced Fielder at second. Mike Cameron grounded out to third to end the inning.
The Brewers put the game away in the fifth. Jason Kendall walked to start the inning. Alcides Escobar followed with a single to center. After Braden Looper struck out, Felipe Lopez hit a ground rule double to center over Kosuke’s head. The ball stuck in the ivy, Kendall scored … 7-2 Brewers.
Justin Berg replaced Patton and was greeted by Corey Hart with a single to right on his first pitch. Escobar and Lopez scored … 9-2 Brewers. Berg retired Braun and Fielder to end the inning.
The Cubs pen shutdown the Brewers over the final four innings.
Aaron Miles pinch-hit for Rich Harden to start the third … and recorded a rare hit. Ryan Theriot reached on a check-swing hustle double to right. Kosuke Fukudome followed with a sacrifice fly to left center, Miles scored.
Derrek Lee followed with a single to center and cut the Brewers lead to 5-2 at the time. Geovany Soto singled to left with two outs but Alcides Escobar robbed Milton Bradley of a hit on a ball grounded up the middle … inning over.
Derrek Lee walked to start the fifth with the Cubs down 9-2. Aramis Ramirez stepped in and lined his 13th homer of the year into the bleachers in left through the wind. Geovany Soto followed with a single.
Jake Fox hit for Justin Berg and just missed a home run on a 2-1 pitch … the long foul ended up on Waveland. Fox struck out but Mike Fontenot doubled to right. With runners on second and third with one-out, Bobby Scales put the ball in play and drove in Soto from third … 9-5 Brewers.
Randy Wells is scheduled to face Dave Bush in the series and homestand finale on Thursday afternoon.