Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 8, Brewers 2
WP – Shawn Camp (1-1, BS 1) LP – Kameron Loe (2-1) Save – None
The Cubs were able to salvage the last game of the series and end their 10-game losing streak at Miller Park in a game that was much closer than the final score. The Cubs scored in each of their last five at bats and turned a close game into what looked like an easy victory.
The Cubs first two runs came on solo homers by Ian Stewart (2-for-5 with a home run, a double and two runs scored) and Reed Johnson. Stewart’s fourth home run of the year tied the game at one in the fifth and Johnson’s first of the season gave the Cubs a brief 2-1 advantage in the sixth. Reed Johnson hit for Jeff Samardzija leading off the sixth and put Samardzija in line for the win but the pen could not hold the lead.
After Shawn Camp allowed the Brewers to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs scored the go ahead run in the top of the seventh on a throwing error by Edwin Maysonet. Ian Stewart reached on ground rule double with one out and was awarded home when Maysonet airmailed his throw to first on a grounder to the hole at short off the bat of Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, a stolen base and a RBI).
James Russell was able to pitch around two errors in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the one run lead. The Cubs added two in the eighth and three in the ninth to blow the game open.
After not recording their first hit until the fourth, the Cubs scored all eight runs in the finale five innings and finished the day with 13 hits (5-for-13 with RISP, seven left on base).
The top of the lineup was very productive. David DeJesus (2-for-5 with a run scored), Tony Campana (3-for-5 with a RBI, a run scored and a stolen base) and Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a RBI) were 7-for-15 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Despite being visibly hampered by his left knee, Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) contributed at the plate with a RBI double in the eighth that plated Bryan LaHair (0-for-4 with a run scored and a walk, reached base safely in last 30 games he’s played) with the Cubs’ fifth run. Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a walk, a double and a RBI) and Darwin Barney notched back-to-back doubles in the ninth that kept Dale Sveum from using Rafael Dolis in the ninth.
Jeff Samardzija was sharp in his five innings of work. Samardzija allowed one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts on 91 pitches, 59 for strikes. The Brewers were able to work counts, especially Norichika Aoki (18 pitches in three at bats against Samardzija), and forced Dale Sveum to make a decision earlier than he might have considering how ineffective his pen has been.
James Russell and Kerry Wood pitched two scoreless in relief on Shawn Camp before Michael Bowden closed it out with the Cubs up big in the ninth.
With Sunday’s win (4-2 on Sundays in 2012), the Cubs improved to 14-20 on the season … Marco Estrada made quick work of the Cubs to start the game. Estrada sat down the top of the order 1-2-3 on 15 pitches, 12 for strikes. DeJesus (looking) and Castro (swinging) both struck out.
Jeff Samardzija came out throwing bullets in the first. Samardzija’s fastball was consistently in the mid to upper 90s. Norichika Aoki led off with a single to center (2-1 pitch) and advanced to second on a hit and run ground out to second off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy. Ryan Braun grounded out to short and Aramis Ramirez struck out swinging on a 84 MPH splitter … Samardzija threw his first two pitches past Ramirez (96 and 95 MPH fastballs).
The Cubs did nothing in the second.
Samardzija struck out Corey Hart and Taylor Green swinging to start the second (three strikeouts in a row at that point) then retired Brooks Conrad on a fly out to center to end the inning … 1-2-3 on 12 pitches, eight for strikes. Samardzija threw 32 pitches, 22 for strikes, in the first two innings.
The Cubs went down in order quickly in the third. The best at bat the first time through the lineup belonged to Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija struck out on the eighth pitch of the at bat (3-2 pitch).
After Edwin Maysonet (pop out to second) and Marco Estrada (swinging strikeout) made the first two outs of the third, Norichika Aoki pulled a 3-2 pitch into the right field corner for the first triple of his big league career. Aoki ran up Samardzija’s pitch count during the seven-pitch at bat. Lucroy popped out to a hobbling Soriano in left to end the inning. Samardzija threw 56 pitches, 38 for strikes, in first three innings.
David DeJesus broke up Estrada’s perfect game with an infield single to the hole at short to start the fourth. Dale Sveum called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Tony Campana. Campana popped out to center and DeJesus made it back safely to first. Starlin Castro went with a 1-1 pitch and drove the ball into right for the Cubs’ first clean hit of the game. Bryan LaHair smoked a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. The Brewers had him shaded perfectly. Edwin Maysonet fielded the ball, stepped on second and his low throw was scooped by Green at first for the inning ending double play.
The Brewers were able to push a run across in the bottom of the fourth after Samardzija walked Ryan Braun to start the inning. Aramis Ramirez lined a first-pitch fastball into left for a single. With runners on first and second with no outs, Corey Hart dropped down a bunt. Both runners advanced as Samardzija fielded the ball and tagged Hart for the first out.
Taylor Green pulled a first pitch fastball into right center. Braun tagged and scored, 1-0 Brewers. Aramis Ramirez stayed at second but advanced to third on a wild pitch. Samardzija struck out Conrad swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
After four, the Cubs trailed 1-0 and Samardzija had thrown 73 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Ian Stewart tied the game at one with his fourth longball of the season with one out in the fifth. Stewart pulled a 0-2 pitch off the facing of the second deck beyond the right field wall … just the second time in 2012 a Cub hit a homer on a 0-2 pitch (Starlin Castro).
Stewart’s homer rattled Estrada. The Brewers’ starter walked Geovany Soto on four pitches but Barney hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning … the second inning ending double play in as many innings.
Jeff Samardzija started the fifth by retiring Maysonet on a grounder to short (1-2 pitch). Estrada struck out swinging (2-2) but Aoki worked a walk after a long at bat (seven pitches, 3-2 count). Aoki took off for second on the first pitch to Lucroy. Geovany Soto threw a strike to Barney to cut down Aoki to end the inning.
Jeff Samardzija threw 91 pitches in five innings, 59 for strikes.
Dale Sveum hit for Samardzija to start the sixth. Reed Johnson made his way to the plate and lifted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left. Johnson’s fourth career pinch-hit homer gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
After DeJesus flied out to right (2-1 pitch), Tony Campana reached on a bunt single to Aramis Ramirez. Starlin Castro ripped a 3-2 pitch into right center that Corey Hart made an excellent diving catch in right center to save a run. Bryan LaHair then cranked Estrada’s first pitch to deep right to end the inning.
Shawn Camp took over in the sixth and retired Lucroy (ground out to third) and Braun (ground out to second in the shift) but once again a walk hurt the Cubs. Camp issued a two-out walk to Aramis Ramirez then gave up a double to Corey Hart. Camp was ahead in the count 0-2, missed two straight then Hart dropped a 2-2 pitch into left that Soriano could not get to because of his bad knee.
Taylor Green beat the shift and drove a 0-2 pitch to the hole at short. Castro fielded the ball and made a strong throw to first but Green slid in head first safely as Ramirez scored the tying run. With runners on first and third with one down, Brooks Conrad flied out to left center to end the inning.
After Alfonso Soriano flied out to center to start the seventh, Ian Stewart ripped a 2-1 pitch from Kameron Loe to left center. The ball hit on the track and bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. Soto hit a routine grounder to short for the second out. Darwin Barney hit a 1-0 pitch to the hole at short. Edwin Maysonet fielded the ball and threw to first … but his throw was high. The ball ended up in the stands and Stewart trotted home with the go ahead run. Barney was awarded second and took off for third on the first pitch to pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas. Cardenas worked the count to 3-2 before striking out to end the inning.
James Russell retired Maysonet on a fly out to right then appeared to get pinch-hitter Cesar Izturis to ground out to third. But the ball clanked off Stewart’s glove and rolled past Castro into left field. Russell had Izturis picked off first. Bryan LaHair took his eyes off the ball … and it ended up behind first base. Izturis ended up at third with one out.
Dale Sveum brought his infield in at that point. Russell kept throwing strikes to Aoki then induced a grounder on a 1-2 pitch toward second. Darwin Barney moved to his right then threw to the plate. Soto caught the ball and tagged Izturis for the second out. With Aoki at first, Russell fell behind Lucroy 3-0. Jonathan Lucroy flied out to right (3-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Manny Parra retired DeJesus on a fly out to right center (3-2 pitch) to start the eighth. Tony Campana slapped the first pitch past a drawn-in Aramis Ramirez down the left field line. Campana settled for a single but advanced to second when Castro grounded out to short. Campana took off for third on the first pitch to LaHair … and made it without a throw.
Bryan LaHair walked on four pitches and extended his streak to 30 games. Parra’s first pitch to Alfonso Soriano got away from Lucroy and Campana scampered home with the Cubs’ fourth run. LaHair then scored when Soriano ripped a 1-0 pitch into center for a double. With the Cubs up 5-2, Stewart stepped in with a runner in scoring position. Another Parra wild pitch allowed Soriano to advance to third but Stewart grounded out to second to end the inning.
Kerry Wood took over in the eighth and Joe Mather replaced Soriano in left. Ryan Braun reached on an infield single up the middle to start the inning. Braun stole second with Ramirez at the plate but Aramis popped out to right (3-1 pitch) for the first out. Corey Hart flied out to deep right. Braun tagged and advanced to third with two down. Green grounded out to first on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Kerry Wood put together a good inning.
The Cubs broke the game open in the top of the ninth against Vinnie Chulk. Geovany Soto led off with a bloop double down the right field line. Darwin Barney squared to bunt, pulled the bat back and ripped a double down the right field line. Soto scored and the Cubs took a 6-2 lead. Joe Mather flied out to left on the first pitch.
David DeJesus notched his second hit of the game, a single to right. With runners on first and third with one out, Tony Campana lined a 1-2 pitch into right. Barney scored, 7-2 Cubs.
Starlin Castro pulled Chulk’s first pitch into left and plated DeJesus with the Cubs’ eighth and final run. After LaHair struck out, Jeff Baker hit for Kerry Wood and walked to load the bases. Ian Stewart struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth leading 8-2.
Michael Bowden made his second appearance of the series and retired Brooks Conrad on a fly out to left to start the inning. Nyjer Morgan reached on an infield single to second. Morgan hit a weak grounder to Barney that he could not make a play on. Izturis popped out to center and Aoki flied out to center (2-0 pitch) for the 27th out … Cubs Win!
The Cubs open a brief two-game series Monday night in St. Louis … Ryan Dempster is expected to face Jake Westbrook in game one.
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