Game Sixty-Eight – Cubs 12 Brewers 7
WP – Matt Garza (3-6) LP – Zack Greinke (6-2) Save – None
On a day with the wind blowing out at Wrigley, the Cubs scored a season-high 12 runs on 14 hits and picked up a series victory at home against the first place Milwaukee Brewers … the Cubs first series win at Wrigley since May 24-May 26 against the Mets. The Cubs ended Zack Greinke’s six game winning streak in a big way.
The Cubs scored six of their 12 runs on home runs by Carlos Pena (2-for-5 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and a RBI), Kosuke Fukudome (3-for-5 with a triple, home run, three runs scored and four RBI) and Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI) … half of the Cubs 14 hits went for extra bases against Zack Greinke and the Brewers pen.
The Cubs and Brewers exchanged punches for the first three innings. The Brewers jumped out to an early lead on a two-run homer by Ryan Braun. After the Cubs tied the game in the home half, Matt Garza gave up his second two run homer of the game to George Kottaras. But the Cubs took advantage of three Brewers miscues and finally took the lead for good on Carlos Pena’s 10th home run of the season … a solo shot off Zack Greinke in the third.
Starlin Castro had a huge day hitting out of the second hole. Castro was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and two RBI. Castro also worked two walks against Zack Greinke. Castro reached base all five times Thursday afternoon.
Kosuke Fukudome put together a career day … by far his best game as a Chicago Cub. Fukudome was a double shy of a cycle and picked up two game-changing outfield assists. Rickie Weeks tried to stretch singles into doubles on two different occasions … and Fukudome threw him out at second both times.
Matt Garza struggled early but settled down and lasted six innings. The Cubs offense picked up Garza and handed him his third victory of the season. Garza allowed five runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings. Garza threw 99 pitches, 58 for strikes.
Sean Marshall returned to form with two shutout innings and gave the offense a chance to add on while he kept the Brewers off the board.
The Brewers final two runs came in the ninth against John Grabow.
The Cubs completed the four game series by winning three of four from the Brewers. The Cubs out homered Milwaukee 7-3 over the four games and with Thursday’s win, the Cubs are now 19-15 when their starting pitchers go at least six innings.
With Thursday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 28-40 on the season, 12 games below the mediocre mark … As Pat Hughes said Thursday, “Welcome to Wrigley Field.” The old ballyard at Clark and Addison plays as two different parks … and both Matt Garza and Zack Greinke found out what it is like when the wind is blowing out.
Matt Garza put himself in a hole three batters into the game. Nyjer Morgan reached on an infield single with one out. Ryan Braun crushed Garza’s first pitch three-quarters the way up the bleachers in left … and just like that the Brewers were up 2-0.
Garza retired Fielder and McGehee to end the inning.
Kosuke Fukudome led off the bottom of the first with a single to center. Starlin Castro followed with a double down the left field line. The ball ended up in the corner and Fukudome scored all the way from first.
Blake DeWitt flied out to the track in right but his productive out allowed Castro to tag and advanced to third … and that led to a gift run.
With the infield in and one out, Ramirez struck out but a 1-2 offering to Carlos Pena got away from George Kottaras. Castro scored and tied the game at two on the passed ball. Pena looked at strike three to end the inning.
Garza walked Corey Hart to start the second. Betancourt flied out to right but George Kottaras got one up into the wind. The Brewers took a 4-2 lead on Kottaras’ first home run of the season.
Greinke flied out and Weeks grounded out to end the inning.
The Cubs went back to work in the home half. Soto and Soriano reached on back-to-back singles. With runners on first and third with no outs, Campana struck out and Garza bunted through strike three (tried to pull the bat back) for the second out.
Greinke uncorked a wild pitch on a 2-2 pitch to Kosuke. Soriano scored … 4-3 Brewers. Soto advanced to second on the Brewers miscue. Fukudome then ripped a triple into the right field corner … Soto scored and tied the game at four.
Castro walked and stole second with Blake DeWitt at the plate. DeWitt ended up reaching on an error by Rickie Weeks. Fukudome scored and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. With runners on first and third with two outs, Ramirez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Nyjer Morgan reached on a bunt single to start the third. Ryan Braun then hit a tailor-made double play ball to Castro. Starlin flipped to DeWitt but he could not make the exchange. Braun reached on the Cubs miscue … and would end up scoring the tying run.
Fielder grounded out to second on a 3-2 pitch. Braun was running on the play and made it to second easily. Casey McGehee followed with a double to right center. Braun scored … game tied at five. Garza walked Corey Hart but retired Betancourt on a grounder to the hole at short. Castro threw a strike to DeWitt to force Hart and end the inning.
Carlos Pena led off the bottom of the third with his 10th home run of the year. Pena launched a 2-2 offering from Greinke well into the bleachers in right.
Greinke struck out Soriano and Soto and retired Campana on a tap back to the mound to end the inning.
Garza faced the minimum in the top of the fourth … thanks to Rickie Weeks. Garza made quick work of Kottaras and Greinke but Weeks blooped a single into right. Weeks tried to stretch it into a double with his team down by a run. Fukudome threw him out at second to end the inning.
After the Cubs could not add to their lead in the fourth, Garza retired the Brewers in order in the top of the fifth … and Greinke returned the favor in the bottom of the fifth.
Garza faced the minimum again in the sixth after a one-out walk to Corey Hart and a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Yuniesky Betancourt to end the inning.
With Garza done for the day, the offense went back to work in the bottom of the sixth. Soto and Campana reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning. Campana’s speed forced a throwing error from Betancourt that allowed Soto and Campana to both advance ninety feet.
Reed Johnson hit for Garza with runners on second and third with no outs. Greinke struck out Johnson to end his afternoon.
Ron Roenicke went to his pen and brought in Daniel Ray Herrera, a southpaw, to face Fukudome.
The former Cincinnati Red tried to sneak a fastball past Fukudome on a 1-2 pitch … and Fukudome made him pay. Kosuke’s first home run of the season off a lefty gave the Cubs a 9-5 lead. After Castro reached on an infield single, DeWitt lined out to right and Ramirez grounded out to third to end the inning.
Sean Marshall took the hill in the seventh. Marshall retired the first two batters he faced before giving up a bloop single to Weeks on a 3-2 pitch. Weeks tried to stretch it into a double, again, with his team down by four and the wind blowing out. Fukudome threw him out to end the inning.
Sergio Mitre replaced Herrera in the seventh. Carlos Pena doubled to right to start the inning and was on board for Soriano’s 13th home run of the season. Soriano’s first dinger since May 27 (on the DL for two weeks) gave the Cubs an 11-5 lead.
Marshall issued a one-out walk to Braun in the eighth … but that was it and the Cubs went right back to work in the bottom of the eighth.
After Kosuke came up short in his bid for the Cubs first cycle since 1993, Starlin Castro singled to left. Luis Montanez hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice but his hustled out of the box and kept the inning alive for Ramirez.
Aramis doubled into the corner in left. Montanez scored … 12-5. Pena grounded out to second to end the inning.
No lead is ever safe when John Grabow is on the pitching staff and his ineptness forced Quade to get Carlos Marmol up in the ninth.
Betancourt singled to left with one out and advanced to third on a pinch-hit double by Carlos Gomez. Jonathan Lucroy singled to center on a 0-2 pitch … 12-7 Cubs.
Rickie Weeks grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
Not only did the Cubs hit the ball Thursday but they also did the little things right. Three of four from the Brewers … not bad, not bad at all.
The Cubs and Yankees open their weekend series Friday afternoon. Doug Davis against Freddy Garcia in game one.