A Wild, Wild Night for Maholm and the Bullpen – Cubs 4, Brewers 7

Game Five – Cubs 4, Brewers 7
WP – Chris Narveson (1-0) LP – Paul Maholm (0-1) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (1)

Tuesday’s game was pretty much over before it ever got started … but to the Cubs credit they never quit playing. Paul Maholm made his Cubs’ debut Tuesday night and his performance is one he would like to soon forget.

Paul Maholm struggled mightily in the first inning and could not find the strike zone. Maholm gave up five runs on two hits with a pair of walks and hit two batters in the first inning. Maholm labored through a 41-pitch first inning, 20 for strikes, and ended up lasting only four innings. Maholm allowed a total of six runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks, two hit batsman and two strikeouts. Maholm threw 80 pitches, 45 for strikes.

Dale Sveum’s staff gave the Brewers too many freebies on Tuesday night. Paul Maholm, Rodrigo Lopez, Rafael Dolis and Lendy Castillo issued seven walks and hit three batters … 10 batters reached without having to earn it, add in the seven hits (two home runs) and that usually equals a loss at the big league level.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched two innings of scoreless ball in his season debut but walked one and hit a batter. Rafael Dolis (39 pitches, 20 strikes) allowed one run on one hit with three walks and a strikeout in two innings. Lendy Castillo (17 pitches, nine for strikes) showed a lot of improvement but still walked a batter. Castillo did record his first big league strikeout (Jonathan Lucroy) on Tuesday night.

The Cubs offense had chances once again but could not dig out of the five-run hole Maholm put them in. Three of the Cubs’ four runs scored in the third but by that time they were already down 6-0.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with two RBI) had another good game at the plate. Soriano drove in the Cubs’ first two runs with a bases loaded single in the third. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) bounced back nicely from his 0-for on Monday night and David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk) notched his first multi-hit game in a Cubs’ uniform … the Cubs’ leadoff hitter reached three times in five at bats. Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his first homer of the season in the bottom of the ninth

As a team, the Cubs pounded out seven hits (two for extra bases) and walked five times but could not string together any hits … 1-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 1-4 on the young season …

On a cold night at the old ballpark, Paul Maholm barely made it through the first inning in his Cubs’ debut. Rickie Weeks checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch and began the game with a free pass. Carlos Gomez crushed a 1-2 pitch to left. The ball sailed over Soriano’s head for a double and Weeks held at third with no outs.

Ryan Braun gave the Brewers the lead (for good) with a sac fly to right center on Maholm’s first pitch. Weeks tagged and scored … and Gomez advanced to third on the routine fly. Aramis Ramirez hit a 2-2 pitch to Baker at first. For some reason (inexperience) Baker threw to the plate instead of getting the sure out. The speedy Gomez scored and Ramirez ended up at first.

On a 1-1 pitch to Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez stole second. Maholm hit Hart on a 2-2 pitch and the Brewers had runners on first and second with one out.

Alex Gonzalez ripped a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left … and just like that the Brewers took a 5-0 lead on Gonzalez’s three-run shot, his first as a Brewer.

Maholm continued struggling and hit Mat Gamel on a 2-2 pitch. After a visit from Dale Sveum, Maholm walked Jonathan Lucroy on four pitches. Chris Narveson attempted to bunt and fouled off a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Weeks grounded out to short to end the nightmarish first inning.

Maholm threw 41 pitches in the opening inning, 20 for strikes.

In 26 starts for the Pirates a year ago, Maholm allowed 18 first inning runs and hit only eight batters all last season

David DeJesus put together a good at bat that resulted in a single to right on a 3-2 pitch. Barney grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Starlin Castro started another streak with a double to right center (2-0 pitch). Alfonso Soriano took three straight out of the zone … but ended up swinging and missing at a 3-2 pitch to end the 34-minute first inning.

The wind helped Paul Maholm in the second as he continued to struggle.

Carlos Gomez led off the second with a bloop single to right. Ryan Braun crushed a 1-1 pitch that ended up in Soriano’s glove in left … the wind kept the towering drive from ending up on Waveland. Aramis Ramirez followed and crushed a 0-1 pitch. Soriano drifted back and caught the deep fly with his back against the ivy. Hart singled to right, Gomez ended up at third with two out. Gonzalez got under a 2-0 pitch and Byrd caught the ball in center to end the second.

Jeff Baker worked a one out walk after Stewart flied out to left to start the second. Soto struck out swinging for the second out. On a 2-0 pitch to Byrd, Baker broke for second and went to third when Lucroy’s throw ended up in center. Byrd popped out to a sliding Corey Hart in shallow right to end the inning (3-1 pitch).

The Brewers tacked on in the third. After Mat Gamel struck out swinging, Jonathan Lucroy launched his first homer of the season. Lucroy hit a 1-1 pitch through the wind and into the bleachers in left center … and his first homer of the season gave Milwaukee a 6-0 lead.

Maholm retired Narveson (grounded out to short) and Weeks (lined out to third) to end the third. Maholm threw 64 pitches in the first three innings, 36 for strikes.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the bottom of the third.

Paul Maholm struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to begin the third. David DeJesus followed with his second hit of the night (single to right). Darwin Barney ripped a 0-1 pitch into left for a single … and the Cubs were in business.

Starlin Castro walked on four pitches to load the bases with one out.

Alfonso Soriano lined a 0-1 pitch into center. DeJesus and Barney scored as Castro dove back into second safely.

The Cubs caught a break when Stewart’s routine grounder to short took a bad hop. Gonzalez could not field the ball and the bases were loaded for Jeff Baker. Baker hit the first pitch he saw into left center. Castro tagged and scored the Cubs’ third run.

With runners on first and second with two down, Ron Roenicke put the shift on for Geovany Soto. Soto ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Weeks dove behind the bag from the shortstop position, and threw out Soto to end the inning.

Paul Maholm put together his best inning of the game in the fourth … other than a one out single by Ryan Braun, the Brewers did nothing against Maholm. After four, Maholm’s pitch count stood at 80, 45 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Chris Narveson in the fourth.

Rodrigo Lopez made his season debut in the fifth and hit Alex Gonzalez on a 0-1 pitch to begin his outing. Mat Gamel flied out to right on a 2-0 pitch for the first out. Jonathan Lucroy struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and Soto threw out Gonzalez at second to end the inning.

Other than a two-out single by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs did nothing against Narveson in the fifth.

Rodrigo Lopez walked pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki to begin the sixth. Weeks flied out to right center and Gomez popped out to short. Ryan Braun flied out to left center (0-2 pitch) for the third out in the sixth.

Marco Estrada took over for Narveson in the sixth. Jeff Baker (flied out to center) and Soto (struck out swinging) went down quickly. Marlon Byrd walked and on the tenth pitch of his pinch-hit at bat, Blake DeWitt grounded out to short for the final out in the sixth.

Rafael Dolis made his second appearance of the year and struggled with his command in the seventh. The Brewers were able to tack on after back-to-back walks to start the inning and the extra out the Cubs’ defense gave a very good offense.

Dolis walked Ramirez and Hart to start the inning. Alex Gonzalez flied out to left center (0-1 pitch). With Barney shifted over playing Gamel to pull, the Brewers’ first baseman hit a grounder to short. Castro fielded the ball, ran and touched the bag … but his throw to first was a little late. Gamel beat the throw and kept the inning alive for Jonathan Lucroy. Dolis fell behind Lucroy 3-1 … and Dolis’ next pitch was hit back up the box into center. Aramis Ramirez scored, 7-3 Brewers. Dolis ended the inning by striking out Nyjer Morgan swinging.

After six and a half, the Cubs trailed 7-3.

David DeJesus reached for the third time on Tuesday night to start the seventh. After DeJesus walked, Darwin Barney flied out to center. Kameron Loe induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Castro to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis stayed in and started the eighth inning. Dolis issued a leadoff walk to Weeks but retired the next three batters he faced … Gomez (flied out to left center), Braun (popped out to center) and Ramirez (grounded out to third).

The Cubs did nothing against Kameron Loe in the bottom of the eighth.

Lendy Castillo made his second appearance in as many days and put together a much better performance. Castillo retired Travis Ishikawa on a lineout to center (3-2 pitch) but walked Alex Gonzalez on five pitches. Mat Gamel flied out to right center.

Lendy Castillo stuck out Jonathan Lucroy swinging to end the ninth … the first big league strikeout for Lendy Castillo.

The Cubs tried to make it interesting again in the ninth.

Jose Veras started the ninth and served up a solo shot to Geovany Soto. Soto crushed a 1-2 pitch and the ball ended up in the bleachers in left center. Marlon Byrd struck out swinging for the first out.

Bryan LaHair pinch hit for Castillo and walked (3-1 pitch). Ron Roenicke decided he’d seen enough and went to his pen for Francisco Rodriguez.

On the first pitch to DeJesus, LaHair took second. DeJesus was caught looking on a 2-2 pitch from Rodriguez and Barney grounded out to second. Game over and Francisco Rodriguez notched his first save in a Brewers’ uniform

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Yovani Gallardo in game three on Wednesday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne