Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 2, Brewers 8
WP – Shaun Marcum (2-1) LP – Chris Volstad (0-5) Save – None
After putting together one of their better homestands in a couple of seasons, the Cubs felt pretty good before they began the three-game series Friday night against the Brewers. Twenty-two innings later, the Cubs lost for the second time on Saturday at Miller Park and dropped their tenth in a row at the Brewers’ home park.
Chris Volstad was very solid for five innings at Miller Park on Saturday afternoon but once again Volstad completed six innings of work … and it was the sixth inning that was Volstad’s undoing.
The game was tied at one entering the bottom of the sixth. The Brewers proceeded to put up five runs with the biggest blow coming off the bat of Edwin Maysonet. The career minor leaguer hit the first grand slam of his big league career and just his second Major League home run off Volstad after he intentionally walked Travis Ishikawa to load the bases. The Cubs’ bad defense gave the Brewers an extra out in the sixth, Milwaukee took full advantage and put the game away.
Chris Volstad was shaky, but effective in the first five innings on a day his team needed him to step up. Volstad allowed one run in the first five on 62 pitches, 40 for strikes. Volstad hit the mental wall in the sixth and surrendered the five runs on 37 pitches, 23 for strikes. Chris Volstad allowed six runs, all earned, on nine hits with two walks and one strikeout in six innings.
Casey Coleman kept the Brewers off the board in seventh but the Brewers took batting practice off Coleman in the eighth and turned an ugly game into an embarrassment. Coleman allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and no strikeouts in his two innings of work. Coleman threw 46 pitches, 28 for strikes.
The Cubs offense was non existent against Shaun Marcum. Marcum improved to 4-0 in four career starts against the Cubs by allowing one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings. The Cubs managed only one hit after the first and the only run scored when Starlin Castro (0-for-4) grounded into a 5-4-3 double play in the first inning.
Adrian Cardenas (1-for-1 with a double and a run scored) doubled to start the eighth, his first big league hit. Tony Campana (2-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Cardenas with the Cubs second run.
The Cubs looked tired Saturday afternoon and for one of the few times this season they looked defeated after Chris Volstad was slammed in the sixth.
With Saturday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 13-20 on the season …
Starlin Castro put the ball in play but it was a poor at bat. Castro tried to pull a 0-1 pitch on the outside part of the plate. Instead of driving the ball to right, Castro rolled over and pulled the pitch to third. Aramis Ramirez started the around the horn double play. DeJesus scored and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Bryan LaHair struck out swinging to end the inning.
Chris Volstad made another two-strike mistake to start his outing Saturday. Nyjer Morgan fell behind 1-2 before he ripped a pitch past Soriano in left for a double … it was Morgan’s first extra basehit of the season. Jonathan Lucroy flied out to right on a 1-2 pitch. Morgan tagged and advanced to third.
Volstad hit Ryan Braun with the first pitch … second consecutive at bat Braun was hit by Cubs’ pitching (Lendy Castillo hit Braun in the back in the 13th inning of Friday’s game). Aramis Ramirez popped Volstad’s first pitch to LaHair for the second out.
The Cubs then allowed the Brewers to tie the game. Volstad did the old third to first move, Major League Baseball is actually discussing banning the move. Braun broke for second and Volstad actually had him picked off. But instead of forcing the play, Volstad allowed the Brewers to dictate the play. The Cubs paid attention to Morgan, who eventually broke from home and scored the tying run. Volstad should have run at Braun, forced him to make a decision and try to get the out before the speedy Morgan scored. The Cubs eventually tagged out Braun to end the inning (1-3-4).
Chris Volstad threw 10 pitches in the first, seven for strikes.
Shaun Marcum hit Alfonso Soriano with his first pitch of the second inning. Marcum retaliated for Braun, both benches were warned and Marcum went back to work. Ian Stewart hit a weak grounder to first (2-2 pitch) that advanced Soriano to second. After the struggling Geovany Soto fouled out to Ramirez, Marcum walked Darwin Barney on four pitches. With runners on first and second, Chris Volstad looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
Travis Ishikawa reached on a one-out double in the second, another two-strike mistake by Volstad. Edwin Maysonet walked to put runners on first and second for Cesar Izturis. Izturis hit Volstad’s first pitch back up the middle. Darwin Barney charged, fielded, stepped on second and threw to LaHair to complete the 4-3 double play. Volstad tossed 25 pitches in two innings, 15 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the third … Marcum threw 43 pitches in first three innings, 26 for strikes.
Volstad threw the ball a little better in the third. Marcum struck out swinging (0-2 pitch) to start the inning. Nyjer Morgan grounded out to first (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Volstad made another two-strike mistake to Lucroy. The Brewers’ catcher blooped a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Volstad then fell behind Braun 3-0. After getting one over, Braun grounded out to Castro to end the inning.
Bryan LaHair (looking) and Alfonso Soriano (swinging) struck out to start the fourth. Marcum retired six in a row before issuing a two-out walk to Ian Stewart (3-2 pitch) … the Cubs got the call on a check swing. Geovany Soto looked at a 3-1 pitch for strike two then hit a sinking liner toward third that Aramis Ramirez caught to end the inning … 65 pitches for Marcum after four, 38 for strikes.
Chris Volstad put together his best inning and retired the Brewers in order (Ramirez, Hart and Ishikawa) in the fourth. Volstad threw 53 pitches in the first four innings, 33 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth … 1-2-3 for Marcum on 11 pitches (76 total, 48 for strikes).
Volstad threw the ball well in the fifth against the bottom of the Brewers’ lineup. Edwin Maysonet led off with an infield single to the hole at short. Cesar Izturis hit a 1-2 pitch toward first. LaHair fielded and threw to Castro at second but the Cubs could not complete the 3-6-3 double play. With Izturis at first, Shaun Marcum popped up the bunt attempt to Soto in foul ground. Nyjer Morgan popped out to Castro on the first pitch to end the inning … 62 pitches for Volstad after five, 40 for strikes.
After Tony Campana (ground out to second) and Starlin Castro (pop out to right) made two routine outs to start the sixth, Bryan LaHair singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. LaHair’s hit was the first for the Cubs since Campana’s bunt single in the first and extended his on base streak to 29 games. Alfonso Soriano looked at a 3-2 fastball to end the inning.
The Brewers finally got to Volstad in the sixth. Jonathan Lucroy ripped a double off the wall in right on a 3-2 pitch. Braun singled to right, Lucroy held at third with no outs. Aramis Ramirez hit a grounder to the hole at short. Castro fielded and threw to Barney with Braun barreling down on him. Barney rushed his throw and it was off line (homeplate side of the bag). Ramirez reached on the mistake as Lucroy scored the go ahead run.
Corey Hart smoked a 1-1 pitch off the base of the wall in left. Ramirez held at third on Hart’s double. Volstad intentionally walked Travis Ishikawa to load the bases.
Edwin Maysonet lifted a 0-1 pitch high over the wall in left … and just like that the Brewers took a 6-1 lead and ended the game. Volstad retired Izturis, gave up a single to Shaun Marcum then ended the nightmare of an inning by retiring Morgan on a fly out to center.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh … and for one of the few times this season looked defeated.
Casey Coleman, who left Fresno on a 4:45am local time flight, arrived during the game and made his 2012 debut in the seventh. Adrian Cardenas took over for Barney at second on a double switch. Coleman retired Lucroy and Braun to start the inning. Aramis Ramirez dropped a single in front of the hobbling Soriano in left. Corey Hart grounded out to short for the third out.
Adrian Cardenas led off the eighth and notched the first hit of his big league career. Cardenas ripped a 0-1 pitch into right center off Jose Veras. DeJesus struck out swinging but Tony Campana slapped a 0-2 pitch down the left field line. Cardenas scored the Cubs’ second run on Campana’s double. Castro hit a weak grounder to short for the second out as Campana advanced to third.
Travis Ishikawa led off the eighth with a double to right center (1-2 pitch). Maysonet popped out to Cardenas near the second base bag. Coleman gave up a single to Izturis that advanced Ishikawa to third.
Ron Roenicke called for a safety squeeze and the Brewers’ pulled off their third squeeze of the season against the Cubs. Norichika Aoki dropped a 1-1 pitch from Coleman down, the Cubs pitcher fielded as Ishikawa scored the Brewers’ seventh run. Coleman walked Morgan to put runners on first and second with two out.
Jonathan Lucroy proved once again how valuable it is to have a catcher that can hit and drive in runs. Lucroy singled to center (2-1 pitch) and drove in Izturis with the Brewers’ eighth and final run. Braun grounded out to the hole at short to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the ninth … game over.
Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Marco Estrada in the finale of the three game series on Sunday afternoon.
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