Game Sixty – Cubs 4 Brewers 5 – 10 innings
WP – John Axford (3-1) LP – Bobby Howry (1-1) Save – None
Cue the music … Lou Piniella’s crew did everything they could to lose the game in nine innings but it took the Brewers until the 10th to take the hint.
The Chicago Cubs played their worst game of the year Thursday … and that is saying a lot. Just when it looked like the Cubs could not play any worse, they stepped across the lines at Miller Park.
Nine walks issued, three errors, a hits batsman, a botched rundown, miscommunication in the outfield, three unearned runs and the last three runs the Brewers scored came without a hit in the inning … It’s a Way of Life.
After the game Lou Piniella said, “Well we made enough mistakes and it finally cost us a game.”
The Cubs should have allowed only one run, the solo homer by Corey Hart in the second inning. But Ryan Dempster tied a season high in walks allowed with five. Tom Gorzelanny added a pair of his own and Jeff Stevens walked Ryan Braun to force in the tying run in the sixth. The Brewers managed only seven hits and when a team can lose a game without making the opposition record a hit, it is pathetic. The Brewers high-powered offense was 1-for-11 with RISP and left 12 on base.
After the Cubs left runners in scoring position in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings, Bobby Howry took the mound in the bottom of the 10th for his second inning of work. Howry issued the Cubs ninth free pass to Carlos Gomez to start the inning. After issuing the four-pitch walk, Howry fell behind Craig Counsell, who was trying to bunt, 2-0. Counsell dropped Howry’s third pitch up the third base line as Gomez took off for second.
Chad Tracy, who had a horrible game in his return, picked up the bunt and threw to first. Gomez did not break stride around second and headed for third. Xavier Nady was still in the game at first base and tried to throw to Koyie Hill as he raced down the line. The ball sailed, ended up in the stands and Gomez scampered home with the winning run.
For as bad as Ryan Dempster was Thursday afternoon, he left in the sixth with a 4-3 lead. Xavier Nady drove in three of the Cubs four runs, two with one swing of the bat. Nady hit his fourth of the year off Dave Bush in the top of the sixth and gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead.
Ryan Theriot drove in the other run with an infield single in the fifth.
The only thing missing from Thursday’s game was Tanner Boyle slamming his glove to the dirt in total disgust.
With the loss, the Cubs finished an important nine-game road trip through Pittsburgh, Houston and Milwaukee with a 3-6 record … and they will begin play Friday six games under .500 and 7 ½ games back of the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Corey Hart launched a 3-2 pitch from Ryan Dempster over the wall in center. Dempster settled down and got out of the inning without allowing another run.
Ryan Theriot (3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) led off the fourth with a single to center. Marlon Byrd worked the count to 3-2 against Dave Bush. With Theriot running, Byrd hit a single into right center. The Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs.
Chad Tracy (0-for-5 with three strikeouts and six left on base) struck out swinging … his second of three against Bush. Xavier Nady then hit a deep fly to center. Theriot tagged, but so did Byrd from first. Jim Edmonds threw to second and if not for Rickie Weeks dropping the ball Theriot would not have scored … the throw beat Byrd and replays showed Theriot had not touched the plate.
Nady’s sacrifice fly tied the game at one.
Tyler Colvin walked but Geovany Soto struck out to end the inning.
Casey McGehee led off the fourth with a ground rule double to center. Dempster then hit Corey Hart. Jonathan Lucroy hit into a 6-3 double play. Starlin Castro made a fine play, one of the few defensive highlights of the game for the Cubs.
With McGehee at third, Dempster intentionally walked Alcides Escobar. Dempster then gave up a two-out RBI single on a 1-2 pitch to Dave Bush. McGehee scored and gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Jim Edmonds grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Cubs tied the game in the fifth. Starlin Castro led off with a single to left. Ryan Dempster sacrificed him to second and Castro advanced to third when Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to first.
Ryan Theriot then hit a smash to third. McGehee knocked the ball down but could not make a play. Castro scored … game tied at two.
Theriot was thrown out at second on a pitch out to end the inning.
The game turned ugly in the bottom of the fifth … but it would get worse. Dempster walked Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder to start the inning. Ryan Braun lined out to right on Dempster’s first pitch.
Casey McGehee then hit a tailor-made double play ball to Ryan Theriot. For some reason Theriot, who was near second base, decided to run toward Prince Fielder instead of throwing to Castro for the 4-6-3 double play. Fielder stopped, Theriot threw to first and Fielder was caught in a rundown. Weeks then broke from third, Castro threw to the plate. Soto threw to Tracy. Tracy’s return throw was low. Weeks scored and gave the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
The inning should have been over. What was Ryan Theriot thinking?
Dempster then walked Corey Hart, Dempster’s third free pass of the inning. Jonathan Lucroy grounded out to first on Dempster’s 31st pitch of the inning.
Marlon Byrd walked to start the sixth. After Chad Tracy struck out for the third time. Xavier Nady went deep on Bush and gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Geovany Soto walked with two-outs and Starlin Castro just missed a home run to left to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster started the sixth and retired Alcides Escobar. Joe Inglett was announced and Lou went to his pen for Tom Gorzelanny. Inglett flied out then Jim Edmonds hit a routine grounder to short. Castro threw low, Nady could not pick and the floodgates opened … 99 out of 100 times Derrek Lee makes that scoop.
Gorzelanny walked Weeks and Fielder to load the bases.
Lou brought in Jeff Stevens to face Ryan Braun … and Stevens walked Braun to force in the tying run. With the game tied at four, Stevens struck out McGehee to end the inning.
The Brewers tied the game without recording a hit.
The Cubs lost two of three to the Brewers at Miller Park without a hit in the entire series from Ryan Braun.
Thursday was a comedy of errors … and Tanner just slammed his glove in frustration.
The Cubs next 15 games will be against American League teams … and Friday is round one versus the White Sox. Randy Wells will face Jake Peavy.