Game One Hundred Twenty-Three – Cubs 2, Brewers 3
WP – Yovani Gallardo (13-8) LP – Travis Wood (4-10) Save – John Axford (20)
The Cubs miserable seven-game road trip (1-6) concluded Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee with another loss. The Brewers received credit for the three-game sweep but the Cubs gave all three games away.
Travis Wood bounced back from his bad outing against the Reds with a quality start Wednesday. Wood received no support to speak of from his offense and one play in the field led to two of the three runs he allowed. Wood surrendered three runs on six hits (one home run) with a walk and six strikeouts over seven innings. After laboring through a 28-pitch first inning, Wood threw 99 pitches on the day, 69 for strikes.
James Russell and Shawn Camp kept the Brewers off the board in the eighth but the offense could not string together any hits.
The Cubs two runs came off two swings of the bat. David DeJesus (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) led off the game with his sixth home run of the season (fourth in August). Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his first longball since July 4, 15th of the season, in the seventh inning. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a walk) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) collected hits but the Cubs managed only five hits Wednesday … and nine over the last two games of the series.
The Cubs offense added to their alarmingly high strikeout total. The Cubs struck out 13 times Wednesday, eight looking, and finished the three-game series with 37 strikeouts (12 on Monday and Tuesday). The Cubs struck out 71 times (20 walks) during the seven-game road trip.
Brett Jackson (0-for-4 with three strikeouts) has struggled at the plate since his call-up on August 5 but he’s not taking his problems at the plate with him to the field. Jackson made several fine plays Wednesday and continues to impress with his defense.
The Cubs finished the season with a 2-7 record at Miller Park … and over the last two years the Cubs are 3-15 in Milwaukee.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 29 games under .500 with 47-76 record for the year … The game started on a positive note for the Cubs. After taking the first pitch of the game for a strike, David DeJesus pulled a 3-1 pitch into deep right center. DeJesus’ sixth homer of the season (12th career leadoff home run) gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Yovani Gallardo took it in stride and retired the next three batters in order. Valbuena was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch. Starlin Castro did not take the bat of his shoulder and struck out looking on three pitches. Anthony Rizzo hit a liner back up the middle that Gallardo knocked down and threw to first to end the inning.
The Cubs one-run lead did not last long. Norichika Aoki punched a 0-2 pitch into left center. DeJesus and Jackson collided as they dove for the ball. DeJesus was shaken up a little and both players stayed in the game. Both Jackson and DeJesus avoided serious injury.
Travis Wood caught Rickie Weeks looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Ryan Braun drove a 0-2 mistake from Wood into right. Bryan LaHair misplayed the ball. LaHair started in then broke back and by that time the ball had sailed over his head. Aoki scored easily and the game was tied at one on Braun’s double. Aramis Ramirez popped out to right for the second out.
Corey Hart put the Brewers ahead with a broken bat looping double down the left field line. Braun scored and the Brewers took a 2-1 lead. Wood struck out Martin Maldonado swinging to end the inning … 28 pitches for Wood in the first, 20 for strikes.
After one, the Cubs trailed 2-1.
Steve Clevenger worked a one out walk in the second … but that was all for the Cubs in the inning. Brett Jackson lined a 2-2 pitch right to Corey Hart. Hart caught the ball and stepped on first and doubled off Clevenger to end the inning.
The Brewers were not able to tack on the second after a one-out single by Cody Ransom. Yovani Gallardo bunted a 0-1 pitch back to Wood. Wood threw to second and forced Ransom. Aoki grounded out to first on Wood’s 38th pitch of the game (28 strikes) to end the inning.
Darwin Barney reached on an error by Ransom at short to start the third. Travis Wood could not get a bunt down and grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Wood beat Weeks’ throw to first then was doubled up when DeJesus rolled into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play … the second inning ending double play in as many innings. Gallardo needed 47 pitches, 26 for strikes, to get through three innings.
Travis Wood retired the side in order in the third.
The Cubs wasted an opportunity to put runs on the board in the fourth. After Valbuena tapped back to the mound for the first out, Starlin Castro singled to right and Anthony Rizzo singled to left … but LaHair struck out swinging and Steve Clevenger grounded out to first to end the inning … 64 pitches for Gallardo after four, 37 for strikes.
Corey Hart led off the fourth with a double to left … the Brewers’ fifth hit, fourth double. Maldonado flied out to right, Hart advanced to third with one down. Travis Wood struck out Carlos Gomez (swinging) and Cody Ransom (looking) to end the inning. Wood needed 58 pitches to complete four innings, 44 for strikes.
Yovani Gallardo struck out the side (Jackson, Barney and Wood) looking in the fifth … 77 pitches for Gallardo after five, 46 for strikes.
Travis Wood set down the side in order in the fifth.
Other than a two-out walk by Starlin Castro, the Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Gallardo was cruising at that point, eight strikeouts for the Brewers’ ace on 93 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Ryan Braun led off the sixth with his 34th homer of the season. Braun crushed a 1-1 pitch over the wall in center … 3-1 Brewers. Wood struck out Aramis Ramirez, retired Hart on a flyout to right and Maldonado flied out to Brett Jackson in right center to end the inning. Wood threw 85 pitches over six innings, 63 for strikes.
After six, the Cubs trailed 3-1.
Bryan LaHair launched the first pitch he saw in the seventh into the second deck beyond the right field wall. LaHair’s first home run since July 4 (Atlanta, Randall Delgado) cut the Brewers lead to 3-2. Steve Clevenger and Brett Jackson struck out looking and Barney grounded out to second to end the inning.
Travis Wood walked Carlos Gomez to start the seventh. Ransom bunted Gomez to second. Jonathan Lucroy was called on to hit for Gallardo. Gomez took off for third on a 1-0 pitch to Lucroy. The ball was in the dirt and got away from Clevenger. The ball rolled toward the dugout. Clevenger hustled and picked up the ball as Gomez got up and took off for the plate. Clevenger threw to Wood, who tagged Gomez for the second out. Lucroy flied out to deep left to end the inning.
Jim Henderson took over for Gallardo in the eighth. Josh Vitters hit for Wood and rolled a 2-2 pitch to Weeks for the first out. DeJesus worked a walk. Luis Valbuena lined a 3-2 pitch into right center. Aoki caught the ball as DeJesus retreated to first. The ball beat DeJesus to the bag and he was called out … but Hart dropped the ball, the ump reversed the call. Starlin Castro struck out swinging (tenth strikeout of the game for the Cubs) to end the inning.
James Russell retired Aoki to start the eighth. Dale Sveum used Russell for one batter then summoned Shawn Camp. Rickie Weeks flied out to center for the second out. Ryan Braun popped a 2-0 pitch down the right field line. LaHair had trouble with the ball and Braun ended up at third with a triple. Ramirez flied out to Jackson in deep left center to end the inning.
The Cubs went to the ninth trailing 3-2.
John Axford struck out Anthony Rizzo swinging for the first out. LaHair worked a full count before he struck out swinging. Steve Clevenger singled to right center. Joe Mather ran for Clevenger but did not advance … Brett Jackson struck out swinging to end the game.
The Cubs have Thursday off and open a three-game series Friday at Wrigley against the Rockies … Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face lefty Drew Pomeranz in the opener Friday afternoon.
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