Cubs Cannot Buy a Clutch Hit – Cubs 4, Brewers 5

Game Fifteen – Cubs 4, Brewers 5

WP – Marco Estrada (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (1-3) Save – Jim Henderson (3)

The Cubs dropped the first of the three-game series at Miller Park on Friday night. The Cubs had plenty of chances to pick-up Jeff Samardzija after a rough first inning.

Jeff Samardzija struggled through a 27-pitch first inning and allowed four runs on five hits in the opening frame. The Brewers hit for the cycle against Samardzija in the first with the big hit coming off the bat of Ryan Braun, a three-run homer. Samardzija allowed four runs before recording an out but settled down after Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI triple and did not allow another run until Carlos Gomez’s solo homer in the seventh inning.

Samardzija retired 17 of the 19 batters he faced after the Lucroy triple until the Gomez homer in the seventh. After needed 27 pitches to get through the first, Samardzija threw 30 pitches in the second, third and fourth innings combined. Samardzija completed seven innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts on 99 pitches, 73 for strikes.

Kevin Gregg and Shawn Camp combined on a scoreless, bizarre eighth inning.

The Cubs outhit the Brewers 10-7, hit three home runs, worked deep counts and walked two times … but lost another one-run game due to the inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Cubs put the leadoff hitter on in every inning from the second through the eighth inning but could not find a way to at least plate the tying run. The Cubs went 0-for-7 with RISP and left five on base. The Cubs are now 2-4 in games decided by a single run.

Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a home run and a HBP) put the Cubs on the board in the third with his second home run of the season. After Jeff Samardzija walked, David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) cranked his second longball of the year, a two-run shot to right, and made it a 4-3 game. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a home run) launched his fifth homer of the season in the eighth, his first off a lefty, and brought the Cubs to within a single run once again.

Alfonso Soriano (3-for-4 with a double) collected three hits, but did not score, and Starlin Castro (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Dale Sveum was ejected in the sixth inning for technically arguing balls and strikes. Sveum was actually protecting Jeff Samardzija and sticking up for his pitcher after homeplate umpire Chris Guccione took off his mask to argue with Samardzija, who was unhappy with Guccione for missing a third strike call on Ryan Braun.

With Friday night’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 5-10 on the season …

After Marco Estrada retired the Cubs in order to start the game, the Brewers jumped on Jeff Samardzija in the first inning. Norichika Aoki reached on an error by Anthony Rizzo. Ron Roenicke called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Jean Segura. Segura ripped a single into right center. Aoki ended up at third with no outs. Samardzija jumped ahead Ryan Braun 0-2. Braun then pulled a hanging slider. The ball ended up beyond the left field wall and the Brewers took a 3-0 lead.

Rickie Weeks followed with a bloop double to shallow right. Jonathan Lucroy then drove a 0-2 pitch into the right field corner. Weeks scored easily and Lucroy ended up at third with a triple. Dale Sveum brought the infield in with the Cubs down 4-0 and no outs in the first inning.

Alex Gonzalez hit a 2-2 pitch right at Barney. The Cubs’ second baseman fielded the ball and threw out Gonzalez at first … 21 pitches into the inning, Samardzija recorded the first out. Gomez fouled out to Barney and Betancourt grounded out to third to end the inning. Samardzija threw 27 pitches, 22 for strikes, in the first inning.

Samardzija gave up a one out single to Aoki in the second. After Segura struck out swinging, Aoki took off for second on a 0-1 pitch to Braun. Welington Castillo threw a strike to Barney, who tagged Aoki to end the inning.

The Cubs started chipping away in the third. Luis Valbuena led off the inning with a booming homer to right. Valbuena pulled a 1-1 pitch into the second deck. Valbuena’s second longball of the season made it 4-1 Brewers.

Jeff Samardzija worked a one-out walk (3-2 pitch), just the third walk issued by Estrada this season. David DeJesus stepped in and put together another excellent at bat. DeJesus cranked a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right and made it 4-3 Brewers. Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to right … but Rizzo grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

While Samardzija settled in on the mound, the Cubs could not cash in an opportunity to at least tie the game in the fourth inning. Alfonso Soriano led off the fourth with a double down the right field line … the second time in as many at bats that Soriano went the other way to beat the shift. Schierholtz grounded out to third. After Castillo popped out to center (2-0 pitch), Estrada plunked Luis Valbuena on a 1-2 pitch. Darwin Barney showed patience and took what Estrada gave him … which was nothing. Barney walked to loaded the bases with two down. Estrada caught Jeff Samardzija looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Dale Sveum was ejected in the bottom of the sixth. Samardzija threw a perfect pitch on the outside part of the plate on a 2-2 pitch to Braun. Homeplate umpire Chris Guccione missed the call and Samardzija voiced his displeasure. Guccione took off his mask for the ump show. Dale Sveum jogged out of the dugout, asked why he took his mask off, was tossed then got fired up. Sveum was pretty animated as made his point. Samardzija did not allow the Brewers to add on in the sixth … and the game went to the seventh with the Brewers up 4-3.

Darwin Barney reached on an infield single to start the seventh off John Axford … the sixth straight inning the Cubs put the leadoff hitter on. Samardzija bunted Barney to second but DeJesus and Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.

Carlos Gomez drove Samardzija’s first pitch of the seventh over the wall in right center … 5-3 Brewers. Samardzija retired the next three batters in order to end the inning.

Tom Gorzelanny took over for the Brewers in the eighth. Anthony Rizzo greeted him with a long homer to right. Rizzo’s fifth of the season and first off a lefty cut the Brewers’ lead to 5-4. After Soriano bounced out to short, Jamie Quirk sent Scott Hairston up to hit for Schierholtz. Roenicke countered and went to his pen for righty Burke Badenhop. Hairston was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch and Castillo grounded out to second to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg made his first appearance of the season in the eighth. Jean Segura reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Segura swiped second with Braun at the plate. Gregg then issued ball four and put runners on first and second with no outs. Quirk made the slow walk and went to his pen for Shawn Camp.

Jean Segura took off early for third after a 1-2 pitch to Rickie Weeks. Camp stepped off and threw to third. Luis Valbuena ran Segura back to second as Braun advanced to second. Valbuena tagged both runners and by rule Braun was out. Segura got to his feet and for some reason ran toward first. Rizzo was at the plate covering home as part of the rundown. Barney ran Segura back to the first base bag. Weeks struck out swinging. Segura took over at first then tried to steal second with Jonathan Lucroy at the plate … for the second time in the inning. Welington Castillo threw him out this time to end the inning.

Dioner Navarro singled to center with two outs in the ninth against Jim Henderson. Julio Borbon made his Cubs’ debut and ran for Navarro. Borbon took off for second on a 1-0 pitch to DeJesus … and was thrown out to end the game. Borbon slid too early and was tagged out.

Edwin Jackson faces Hiram Burgos in his Major League debut on Saturday night.

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