Game One Hundred Five – Cubs 2 Brewers 4
WP – Shaun Marcum (10-3) LP – Randy Wells (2-4) Save – John Axford (30)
Following the weekend sweep over the Astros and their first three-game win streak of the year, the Cubs went into Milwaukee feeling confident they could get back into the race in the Central.
Well, three days and three losses later the Cubs are back to a season-worst 21 games under .500 after the offense was pretty much non-existent throughout the entire series. The Cubs scored a total of four runs in three games and finished the series a whopping 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position (1-for-9 on Thursday, eight left on base)
On the day their most patient hitter was traded away, the Cubs made it very easy on Shaun Marcum and the Brewers’ bullpen. Even with all of the extra outs the Brewers defense gave them (three charged errors and Nyjer Morgan misplayed a ball that should have been a fourth), the Cubs scored only two runs on seven hits with two walks.
Alfonso Soriano tallied the Cubs only run scoring hit, a RBI double in the sixth, and Aramis Ramirez drove in the Cubs other run with a sac fly in the first. Carlos Pena (2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) had a good game at the plate … and in the field.
Randy Wells was Randy Wells on Thursday afternoon. Wells gave up two more runs in the first innings (Wells has allowed 15 first inning runs in 12 starts this season) after his team gave him a one-run lead before he threw a pitch. Wells ended up allowing four runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings. Wells threw 95 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija tossed two perfect innings in relief of Wells and gave his team a chance to mount a comeback. Samardzija threw strikes (19 pitches, 12 for strikes) and kept the ball down (five of six outs on groundballs) but the Cubs offense managed only one baserunner (walk by Geovany Soto in the eighth) over the last three innings.
With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped back to a season-low 21 games under .500 with a 42-63 record … Thursday began on a positive note for the Chicago Cubs. After the trade that sent Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland forced Mike Quade to change his lineup and insert Tony Campana in the leadoff spot, Campana reached on an infield single to Prince Fielder to start the game.
Shaun Marcum then uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to first that allowed Campana to advance to second. Starlin Castro struck out swinging but with Aramis Ramirez at the plate, Campana swiped third. Ramirez hit a sac fly to right and Campana scored the Cubs first run in 17 innings … 1-0 Cubs.
Carlos Pena singled to center but Marlon Byrd flied out to right to end the inning. The Cubs made Marcum work a little and did a nice job of manufacturing a run.
Randy Wells took the mound and retired Corey Hart to start his day. Nyjer Morgan blooped a single into left. Wells then hung a slider to Ryan Braun on a 1-2 pitch. Braun singled to left and the Brewers were in business.
With runners on first and second with one out, Wells fell behind Fielder 3-0 before eventually walking him on a 3-2 pitch. With the bases loaded and one out, Casey McGehee hit Wells’ first pitch into center. Morgan tagged and scored … game tied at one.
Yuniesky Betancourt then ripped a double into left center. Braun scored but Starlin Castro made a perfect relay to cut down Fielder at the plate to end the inning.
The Brewers took a 2-1 lead and it could have been more … Randy Wells recorded only two of the three outs.
Geovany Soto led off the second with a bloop single to right. Soriano struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Darwin Barney then hit a deep fly to center that Morgan misplayed into a double. With runners on second and third with one out, Randy Wells popped out to short (3-2 pitch) and Campana grounded out to second (first pitch) to end the inning.
Randy Wells pitched around a two-out single by Shaun Marcum in the bottom of the second.
Starlin Castro reached on the Brewers’ third miscue in as many innings. Castro hit a grounder to third and McGehee airmailed his throw to first. Castro ended up at first to start the third inning … but Aramis Ramirez hit into a 4-6-3 double play that erased McGehee’s error. Carlos Pena walked and Byrd blooped a single into center … but Soto hit a soft liner to Craig Counsell at second to end the inning.
Ryan Braun gave the Brewers a commanding 3-1 lead with one swing of the bat. Braun ripped a 3-2 pitch with one out in the bottom of the third over the wall in right center. Wells did not allow another run in the third after Fielder grounded out to second and McGehee struck out looking to end the inning.
Shaun Marcum settled in and retired the Cubs in order in the fourth and fifth inning.
The Brewers made it 4-1 in the fifth after a one-out single by Nyjer Morgan and a double by Ryan Braun off the wall in left center. Morgan scored easily as Braun just missed his second homer of the game. Wells intentionally walked Prince Fielder and got out of the jam when Casey McGehee hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Cubs made it a little interesting in the sixth.
For the fourth time in six innings, the Cubs put the leadoff hitter on to start an inning. Carlos Pena doubled to left center. Marlon Byrd grounded out to short and Soto fouled out to Jonathan Lucroy on a 3-2 pitch.
With two outs and down by three runs, Alfonso Soriano ripped a double off the top of the wall in left. Pena scored … 4-2 Brewers. But Darwin Barney struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs did not manage another hit on Thursday afternoon.
Randy Wells retired the Brewers in order in the sixth … and the Brewers did not put another runner on base.
Maybe Jim Hendry will finally realize that his team needs to be changed up … and if he hasn’t, he should talk to Carlos Zambrano.
The Cubs open a three-game series Friday night in St. Louis. Matt Garza against one of the newest Redbirds, Edwin Jackson in game one.