Game One Hundred Fifty-Four – Cubs 5 Brewers 2
WP – Casey Coleman (3-8) LP – Chris Narveson (10-8) Save – None
Geovany Soto broke out of his recent slump in a big way. Soto drove in all five of the Cubs runs on two, two-run homers and a single. Monday night was Soto’s third multi-homer game, all against the Brewers. Soto collected the Cubs first hit off Chris Narveson in the third. Following a Carlos Pena (0-for-1 with two walks and a run scored) walk, Soto crushed a 1-1 pitch onto Waveland … the first homer hit onto Waveland by a Cubs player this season. Soto added a RBI single in the fourth and his second two-run shot in the sixth.
Starlin Castro collected his 196th hit of the season, a single to left to start the seventh … Castro has reached base in 32 straight ball games. Aramis Ramirez (1-for-4), Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a walk) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) all contributed in the Cubs first ever win over Chris Narveson.
Casey Coleman picked up the second win of his career at Wrigley and his first win in four months (May 19 in Florida). Coleman arguably had his best night on a big league mound. Coleman struck out a career-high eight batters and held the high-powered Brewers’ offense to one run on two hits in six innings. Coleman hit a batter, walked three and threw 92 pitches, 61 for strikes. Coleman did a good job of keeping the ball down and pitching ahead in the count. Coleman’s only mistake came in the third when he left a 1-1 pitch up to Jerry Hariston, Jr. … and the former Cub hit it out of the park.
The Cubs’ pen did a good job in relief of Casey Coleman. Jeff Samardzija faced the minimum in the seventh and Sean Marshall worked around a leadoff infield single by Corey Hart in the eighth.
Carlos Marmol was wild in the ninth and served up a one-out solo homer to Casey McGehee. Marmol gave up three hits in his inning of work but struck out the last two batters he faced to end the game (Taylor Green and Corey Hart).
With Monday’s win, the Brewers will not be able to celebrate winning the NL Central Crown at Wrigley Field … and the Cubs improved to 68-86 on the season, 18 games below .500. Like so many of his starts, Casey Coleman looked good at the start of the game. Coleman retired the Brewers in order on the first inning on 12 pitches.
After Starlin Castro grounded out to short to start the first, Darwin Barney worked a walk … but was erased when Aramis Ramirez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Brewers did nothing in the second … 1-2-3 for Coleman on nine pitches (21 pitches after two, 15 for strikes).
Chris Narveson made quick order of the Cubs in the second. Both Soriano and Byrd hit the first pitch to third.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the third with a line drive homer into the left field bleachers. The Brewers first hit put Milwaukee up 1-0. Coleman predictably lost his command and issued a walk to Jonathan Lucroy. Narveson bunted Lucroy to second. Corey Hart grounded out to third (0-1 pitch) for the second out.
Coleman plunked Nyjer Morgan (0-1 pitch) to put runners on first and second with two down for Ryan Braun … Coleman struck out Braun swinging to end the inning.
Carlos Pena led off the bottom of the third with an excellent. Pena walked … and trotted around the bases when Geovany Soto crushed a 1-1 pitch from Chris Narveson. The ball ended up on Waveland, the first home run hit by a Cub that landed on Waveland this season. Soto’s 16th homer of the season, and the first hit of the game off Narveson, gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Casey Coleman struck out and Castro lined out to center. Darwin Barney singled to center with two outs and advanced to second on a single to left by Aramis Ramirez (3-1 pitch). Jeff Baker flied out to deep right to end the inning.
Casey McGehee worked a two out walk in the fourth … but that was it. Coleman retired Fielder (groundout to second), Weeks (struck out swinging) and Hairston, Jr. (struck out swinging).
Marlon Byrd hit a dribbler up the first base line with one down in the bottom of the fourth. Narveson tried to barehand the ball, bobbled it and Byrd reached on the error. Carlos Pena walked for the second time in as many at bats.
Geovany Soto knocked in his third run of the game with a single to right center. Soto went with the 1-2 pitch and drove the ball to the opposite field. Byrd scored, 3-1 Cubs. Pena advanced to third with one out.
Coleman bunted Soto to second but Castro popped out to Rickie Weeks in shallow right center to end the inning (Weeks made a sliding, over the shoulder catch to take away a hit from Castro).
At the end of four, the Cubs led 3-1.
Casey Coleman retired the Brewers in order in the fifth … and tied a career mark when he struck out Corey Hart looking to end the inning. Coleman struck out seven batters in the first five innings.
Marco Estrada took over for Narveson in the bottom of the fifth and sat down the Cubs in order.
Coleman retired Nyjer Morgan (flyout to center, 1-2 pitch) and Ryan Braun (tapper in front of the plate on a 0-2 pitch) to start the sixth. Prince Fielder ripped a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left. Soriano made a good play on the ball and held Fielder to a double. Rickie Weeks walked. With runners on first and second with two outs and the Cubs up 3-1, Casey McGehee looked at strike three to end the inning … McGehee never took the bat off his shoulder.
Alfonso Soriano walked to start the sixth against Marco Estrada. Marlon Byrd lined out to center and Pena struck out swinging.
Geovany Soto deposited Estrada’s first pitch into the bleachers in left. Soto’s second longball of the night and his 17th of the season gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead. Luis Montanez hit for Coleman and struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija issued a four-pitch walk with one out to Jonathan Lucroy in the seventh … but Samardzija ended up facing the minimum after pinch-hitter George Kottaras (Estrada) hit into a 1-4-6-3 inning ending double play.
Starlin Castro collected hit no. 196 with a single to left off Tim Dillard to start the bottom of the seventh. Lucroy threw out Castro trying to swipe second with Barney at the plate … one of the young middle infielders appeared to miss a sign. Barney grounded out to second and Ramirez grounded out to first to end the inning.
Corey Hart reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline to start the eighth … but that was it. Sean Marshall retired Nyjer Morgan (lineout to left), Ryan Braun (flyout to right) and Prince Fielder (struck out swinging) to end the inning.
Alfonso Soriano singled to right with one out in the eighth. Tony Campana ran for Soriano and was thrown out at second. Campana was caught stealing for only the second time this season … replays showed Campana got his hand in despite the fact the ball beat him to the bag. Tim Dillard struck out Byrd swinging to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol retired Rickie Weeks on a grounder to short to start the ninth. Casey McGehee took it to his former organization again and lined a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center (5-2 Cubs). Mark Kotsay hit for Hairston, Jr and ripped a single past Carlos Pena. Jonathan Lucroy singled to right but Marmol struck out pinch hitter Taylor Green (looking) and Corey Hart (swinging) to end the game.
The Cubs played their best game of the month on Monday night.
Randy Wells is slated to face Shaun Marcum in game two on Tuesday night.