Game Fifty-Six – Cubs 0, Brewers 8
WP – Zack Greinke (7-2) LP – Paul Maholm (4-5) Save – None
A day after blanking the Brewers 10-0, the Cubs could not figure out Zack Greinke and was shutout by Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Zack Greinke improved to 15-0 in 21 starts at Miller Park since being traded to the Brewers in the winter of 2010. Greinke allowed just two hits in seven innings and struck out 12 batters. The Cubs showed little patience against Greinke after they fell behind and managed only two walks off the Brewers’ ace.
After striking out a season-high 14 times Tuesday night, the Cubs passed the day old mark by one on Wednesday. The Cubs struck out 15 times Wednesday night, 29 strikeouts in 18 innings … Bryan LaHair was caught looking to end the game. Darwin Barney was the only starter that did not strikeout Wednesday night and Tony Campana earned a golden sombrero with four of the Cubs’ 15 strikeouts.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double) and Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double) managed the only hits off Greinke and the Cubs ended up with three hits on the night after Ian Stewart (1-for-2 with a walk) led off the eighth with a single.
The Cubs had a couple of chances in the first three innings against Zack Greinke but Paul Maholm struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the second and both David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the third after Starlin Castro doubled with one out.
Paul Maholm was very sharp early on and faced the minimum through the first three innings. Maholm fell apart in the fourth and did not go back out for the fifth. The Brewers scored four runs off Maholm during a very long, 39-pitch fourth inning. Maholm allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Maholm threw 81 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Randy Wells struggled with his command again. Wells allowed only one run on two hits with three walks (one intentional) in two innings. Wells did not strikeout a single batter.
Manny Corpas made his Cubs’ debut and retired the Brewers in order in the seventh. Corpas was very sharp and struck out two of the three batters he faced.
The Brewers’ last three runs came against Carlos Marmol in the eighth. Taylor Green hit a three-run shot, his first big league homer, off Marmol.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 19-37 on the season …
Norichika Aoki ripped a 2-1 pitch into center to start the Brewers’ first. Carlos Gomez pulled Paul Maholm’s first pitch to Ian Stewart. The Cubs turned a quick 5-4-3 double play. Maholm then caught Ryan Braun looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. Maholm faced the minimum in the first on 13 pitches, eight for strikes.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a double. The roller up the third baseline appeared to hit the bag just enough to change the ball’s direction. Bryan LaHair grounded out to short, Soriano advanced to third with one out.
Steve Clevenger hit Greinke’s first pitch to short. Soriano had to hold at third. Darwin Barney fell behind 1-2 but ended up working a walk. Greinke wanted nothing to do with Ian Stewart and walked him on four pitches. Paul Maholm looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. While the Cubs did not score, they made Greinke work. Greinke threw 30 pitches in the second inning (44, 24 for strikes, after two).
Paul Maholm retired the Brewers in order in the bottom of the second.
Zack Greinke struck out the side in the third. In between Campana and DeJesus swinging and missing, Starlin Castro ripped a double into right center.
Paul Maholm sat down the Brewers in order in the third … 42 pitches, 26 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Greinke struck out two batters in the frame. After four, Greinke had thrown 72 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Norichika Aoki led off the Brewers’ fourth with their second hit, a double over Campana’s head in center that short-hopped the wall. Maholm kept pitching from behind in the fourth and the Brewers took full advantage. Carlos Gomez flied out to deep right center, Aoki advanced to third and scored on a double to left off the bat of Ryan Braun (1-1 pitch). Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead and never looked back.
Corey Hart pulled a 0-1 pitch up the third baseline. Ian Stewart made a backhanded stop but dropped the ball in the exchange. With runners on first and second with one out, Rickie Weeks flied out to deep left center on a 3-2 pitch. Both runners held. Cody Ransom ripped Maholm’s first pitch into left. Braun scored easily and Hart ended up at third on Ransom’s double.
With the Brewers up 2-0 and runners on second and third with two outs, Brooks Conrad broke his bat on a 2-1 pitch and blooped a single into left. Hart and Ransom scored and just like that the game was over. Maholm walked Maldonado then retired Greinke on a pop out to second.
Paul Maholm threw 39 pitches in the fourth … 81 for the game, 49 for strikes.
Ian Stewart struck out swinging but reached first on a wild pitch. Adrian Cardenas hit for Maholm and looked at three straight out of the zone before swinging and missing at a 3-2 pitch. Martin Maldonado threw out Stewart by a mile for the second out. Tony Campana struck out swinging to end the inning … Greinke struck out the side.
Randy Wells took over in the fifth and was greeted by Aoki ripping a double into the right field corner. Aoki ended up at third after DeJesus misplayed the ball (E9). Gomez grounded out to third for the first out. Wells walked Braun and continued to pitch from behind. Wells fell behind Corey Hart before the Brewers’ first baseman lifted a 3-2 pitch into right center. Aoki scored, 5-0 Brewers. Weeks lined out to right to end the fifth.
The Cubs did nothing in the sixth … and for the first time Wednesday night, the Cubs did not strikeout in an inning.
Randy Wells continued to struggle in the sixth but escaped a bases loaded jam without allowing any more runs. Wells issued a one-out walk to Brooks Conrad. Martin Maldonado blooped a single into right center. Greinke bunted both runners up ninety feet. Wells intentionally walked Aoki to load the bases. Carlos Gomez flied out to left center to end the inning.
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh.
Manny Corpas made his Cubs’ debut in the seventh … and retired the Brewers in order on 11 pitches, seven for strikes. Corpas struck out Weeks looking to end the inning.
Ian Stewart led off the eighth with a single off Jose Veras but that was all. Reed Johnson and Tony Campana struck out and Castro grounded out to third to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol pitched the bottom of the eighth and was horrible again. Marmol struck out Cody Ransom to start the inning then gave up back-to-back singles to Edwin Maysonet and Martin Maldonado. Taylor Green hit for Jose Veras and launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right. Green’s first big league homer, a three-run shot, gave the Brewers an 8-0 lead. Marmol retired Aoki and Gomez to end the inning.
David DeJesus walked to start the ninth against Juan Perez. Alfonso Soriano grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Bryan LaHair struck out looking … an appropriate end to the game.
Matt Garza is scheduled to face Randy Wolf in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.
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