Game One Hundred Twenty-Nine – Cubs 1, Brewers 3
WP – Mike Fiers (8-6) LP – Jeff Samardzija (8-12) Save – John Axford (22)
On the night that Darwin Barney set a new National League single-season record for consecutive games by a second baseman without an error, three Cubs’ errors in the seventh inning ended up being the difference in the game.
The game was tied at one entering the seventh inning. Jeff Samardzija and Mike Fiers matched one another pitch for pitch for the first six innings. After Samardzija blew a 96 mph fastball past Jonathan Lucroy to start the inning, Nyjer Morgan dropped down a bunt that Samardzija fielded and threw down the right field line. Morgan ended up at second on the error, took third on a wild pitch and scored the go ahead run on a bloop single off the bat of Jean Segura.
Jean Segura ended up scoring from first on two throwing errors. With two outs, Segura took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Norichika Aoki. Starlin Castro misplayed Welington Castillo’s low throw. The ball skipped past Castro into center. Segura headed to third and scored when Luis Valbuena failed to catch a throw from Darwin Barney.
The Cubs followed up their one-run, three-hit performance on Tuesday night with a one-run, four-hit effort on Wednesday. The Cubs did not put a runner on base from the third inning through the seventh inning and managed only one hit and three baserunners in their last six at bats. Mike Fiers retired 14 in a row and 18 of 19 prior to the eighth inning.
Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ only run with a groundout in the second inning. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double), Bryan LaHair (1-for-4 with a run scored) and Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a double) recorded the Cubs’ other three hits. Luis Valbuena (0-for-2 with two walks) and Alfonso Soriano (0-for-4) were the other two Cubs that reached base on Wednesday night.
The Cubs struck out seven times (70 strikeouts in last six games against Brewers’ pitching), finished the game 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left four runners on base.
Jeff Samardzija pitched another very good game. Samardzija held the Brewers in check for six innings and it was his throwing error that opened the door in the seventh. Samardzija struck out 10 without walking a batter on Wednesday night. Samardzija notched another quality start but another loss as well after allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts in seven innings (104 pitches, 71 for strikes).
Manny Corpas wiggled out of a jam in the eighth without allowing any runs and James Russell set down the side in order in the ninth.
Darwin Barney set a new National League single-season record for consecutive games (114) without an error for a second baseman. The streak appeared to be over in the seventh when Barney was charged with a throwing error that allowed Jean Segura to score the Brewers’ third run. Barney made a low but accurate throw to Luis Valbuena that was not caught. The ruling was correctly changed after the inning.
The Cubs gave another game to the Brewers … and have lost eight straight to Milwaukee.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to a season-low 31 games under .500 with a 49-80 record … Norichika Aoki led off the game with a double. Aoki pulled a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner and continued his onslaught against Cubs’ pitching this season. Luis Valbuena made a nice catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Rickie Weeks for the first out. Ryan Braun pulled a 0-1 pitch out of the reach of a leaping Starlin Castro. Braun ended up with a single to left and Aoki held at third with one down. Aramis Ramirez hit a slow rolling grounder toward third (0-1 pitch). Valbuena fielded and threw to Barney but Ramirez beat the throw and Aoki scored on the fielder’s choice … 1-0 Brewers. Corey Hart struck out swinging to end the inning. Samardzija needed 19 pitches, 14 for strikes, to complete the first inning.
After David DeJesus flied out to right (2-2 pitch) and Luis Valbuena fouled out to Ramirez (3-1 pitch), Starlin Castro pulled a 1-1 pitch into left center. Castro ended up at second with a standing double. Alfonso Soriano ripped a 3-1 pitch past Ramirez but Jean Segura fielded the ball near the edge of the infield and threw out Soriano at first to end the inning. Mike Fiers tossed 16 pitches in the first, nine for strikes.
Jeff Samardzija struck out the first two batters he faced in the second and retired Segura on a flyout to right for the third out … 1-2-3 for Samardzija in the second. Samardzija threw 32 pitches in the first two frames, 24 for strikes.
Bryan LaHair led off the second with a single to center. Welington Castillo pulled a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left. Aoki picked up the ball near the track and LaHair held at third on Castillo’s double. Brett Jackson swung over the top of a 74 mph curveball (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Darwin Barney put a 1-0 pitch into play. Barney grounded out to short, LaHair scored from third and Castillo advanced to third. With the game tied at one, Samardzija grounded out to short to end the inning … 30 pitches for Fiers after two, 17 for strikes.
After two complete, the game was tied at one.
Jeff Samardzija pitched his way in and out of a jam in the third. Fiers struck out swinging to start the inning. Norichika Aoki followed with an infield single. Aoki hit a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. Castro dove and fielded the ball cleanly but had no play. Brett Jackson made an excellent running catch in left center to take away a hit from Rickie Weeks. Ryan Braun pulled a 2-1 pitch into the left field corner. Soriano got the ball back in quickly and Aoki was held at third with two down.
With runners on second and third and two out, Aramis Ramirez chased a 1-2 pitch well out of the strike zone to end the inning. Samardzija threw 52 pitches, 38 for strikes, in the first three innings.
Other than a one-out walk by Luis Valbuena, the Cubs did nothing in the third against Mike Fiers (42 pitches, 24 for strikes).
Corey Hart singled to center (3-2 pitch) to start the fourth. Jonathan Lucroy hit a slow roller toward short. Castro fielded and flipped to Barney to force Hart. Lucroy was safe at first. Samardzija struck out Nyjer Morgan swinging and retired Jean Segura on a comebacker to the mound for the third out. Samardzija needed 67 pitches to get through four innings, 47 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth … 1-2-3 and after four Fiers’ pitch count stood at 52, 31 for strikes.
Samardzija struck out two of the three batters he faced in the fifth … 79 pitches for Samardzija after five, 55 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Fiers needed only 58 pitches, 37 for strikes, to complete five innings of work.
Jeff Samardzija set down the side in order in the sixth. Samardzija threw 85 pitches over six innings, 59 for strikes.
The Cubs made Mike Fiers work a little in the sixth (71 pitches, 43 for strikes) but still went down in order.
After six, the game was tied at one.
Jeff Samardzija blew a 96 mph fastball past Jonathan Lucroy (2-2 pitch) to start the seventh. Nyjer Morgan bunted Samardzija’s first offering twenty feet from the plate. Samardzija picked up the ball, rushed his throw and the ball ended up down the right field line. Morgan ended up at second on the error. Welington Castillo lost track of a 1-0 pitch to Jean Segura. Morgan took third on the wild pitch. Jean Segura then blooped a 3-1 pitch over the drawn in infield and into shallow center. Morgan scored, 2-1 Brewers. Mike Fiers could not get the bunt down and struck out. Segura then took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to Aoki. Castillo’s throw was off the mark and to the third base side of second. The ball got past Castro. Darwin Barney picked it up and threw a low strike to Valbuena … and he just missed the ball. The ball ended up in foul ground, Segura scored the Brewers’ third run and Barney was charged with a throwing error. Aoki grounded out to second to end the inning … and Samardzija’s night.
In between the top and bottom of the seventh, there was a scoring change that removed the error from Darwin Barney and correctly charged the error to Luis Valbuena.
Mike Fiers struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh. Fiers threw only 82 pitches over seven innings, 51 for strikes, and he had a commanding 3-1 lead after seven.
Manny Corpas worked a shaky eighth without allowing any runs. Corpas issued a leadoff walk to Rickie Weeks. Ryan Braun was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Aramis Ramirez singled to right (2-2 pitch) and Weeks advanced to third. Corey Hart pounded a 3-1 pitch to Darwin Barney … 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
Darwin Barney led off the eighth with a single to left on a 0-1 pitch … the Cubs first hit since the second inning. Ron Roenicke left Mike Fiers into face pinch-hitter Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo hit a weak grounder to first. Corey Hart’s throw to second was off the mark. Jean Segura dove toward center while keeping his foot on the bag. Barney was forced for the first out. Roenicke then went to his pen and brought in lefty Manny Parra to face David DeJesus. DeJesus hit a 0-1 pitch toward short … 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
James Russell retired the side in order in the ninth … and the Cubs went to the bottom of the ninth down 3-1.
John Axford issued a leadoff walk to Luis Valbuena. Starlin Castro struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the first out. Alfonso Soriano appeared to hit into a game inning double play. Segura fielded the routine grounder but Hart did not catch Weeks’ throw. The ball ended up in right field and Soriano went all the way to third on the error. Bryan LaHair grounded out to short to end the game.
Brooks Raley is scheduled to face Shaun Marcum in the series and season finale against the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.
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