Game Seven – Cubs 4, Brewers 7
WP – Marco Estrada (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-2) Save – Jim Henderson (1)
The Cubs could not dig themselves out of a big hole on Monday in the home opener. As was the case countless times last season, the Cubs mounted a comeback late in the game but in the end came up short. The Cubs loaded the bases and put the tying run on first base with one out in the ninth before Dave Sappelt struck out swinging on the eighth pitch of the at bat and Starlin Castro flied out to the track in right center to end the game … a couple of innings earlier the ball would have likely ended up in the bleachers. Wrigley can play as two different parks in the same game. The wind was howling out early in the game, changed direction and started blowing in from center in the later innings.
Edwin Jackson had a rough start to his first outing as a Cub at Wrigley Field. Jackson gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in the first inning. Chris Bosio had Jackson change the grip on his fastball and he allowed just one other run over the remainder of his six-inning start. Jackson was able to throw strikes and keep Milwaukee off the board but the offense struggled again with Marco Estrada. Jackson was charged with five runs on eight hits with five walks, two intentional, and six strikeouts. Jackson threw 101 pitches, 61 for strikes.
The Brewers put the game away against Shawn Camp in the seventh. The Brewers added two more runs with the big blow coming off the bat of Marco Estrada, a RBI double that plated the Brewers’ seventh and final run of the game. Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless eighth and Michael Bowden kept the Brewers off the board in the ninth.
The offense had another rough day. The Cubs were a miserable 2-for-12 with RISP and left seven on base. Seven games into the season, the Cubs are just 6-for-44 with runners in scoring position.
Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double and a triple) collected his first two extra basehits of the season, but did not score a run. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with two runs scored) was on board for Welington Castillo’s first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the second, and scored on a Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) single in the ninth. Castillo finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI while Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ final run in the ninth. Four of the Cubs’ nine hits went for extra bases but only one with a runner on base.
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 2-5 on the young season.
Edwin Jackson labored through a long, 33-pitch first inning. Norichika Aoki was a pain in the Cubs’ side yet again. The Brewers’ leadoff man reached base five times on Monday afternoon. The Cubs should really throw out the scouting reports they are using on him and try something different. Aoki led off the game with a single to center. After Carlos Gomez flied out to right center, Braun singled to center. Aoki advanced to third with one out. Rickie Weeks pulled a 0-1 pitch toward third. Valbuena fielded it and threw home. The Cubs caught Aoki in a rundown (5-2-5) but instead of an inning ending double play, the Brewers had runners on first and second with two down.
Jackson and Castillo got crossed up on a 0-1 pitch to Jonathan Lucroy. Castillo was charged with a passed ball that allowed both runners to move up ninety feet. Jackson ended up walking Lucroy to load the bases. Jackson continued to struggle with his command and issued a free pass to Alex Gonzalez that forced in Braun with the game’s first run. Martin Maldonado followed with a double into the right field corner that cleared the bases … and just like that the Brewers took a 4-0 lead. Jackson intentionally walked Betancourt then caught Estrada looking to end the inning.
The Brewers tacked on a run in the second after Estrada retired the Cubs in order in the first. Aoki doubled to left center to start the inning. Gomez grounded out to second, Aoki advanced to third then trotted home when Braun doubled off the wall in right center. Jackson struck out Rickie Weeks and retired Lucroy on a pop out to Lillibridge in shallow right to end the inning. Jackson threw 48 pitches, 29 for strikes, over the first two innings.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a single to left. After Schierholtz struck out swinging, Welington Castillo drove a 3-2 pitch to deep center … 5-2 Brewers. Valbuena fouled out to Betancourt and Lillibridge flied out to left center to end the inning.
Jackson retired six in a row before Aoki reached on a bunt single with one out in the fourth. Gomez doubled down the left field line and Jackson intentionally walked Braun. With the bases loaded and one down, Weeks rapped into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Edwin Jackson ended his outing on a positive note. Jackson struck out the side in the sixth and worked around a one-out walk to Aoki.
Starlin Castro led off the sixth with a double off the wall in right field. Rizzo advanced Castro to third with a swinging bunt up the third base line that Betancourt made a good barehanded play in order to get the out at first. With Castro at third and one down, Soriano popped out to shallow center and Schierholtz lined out to right for the third out.
Shawn Camp replaced Jackson in the seventh. Camp struck out Weeks swinging to start the inning then walked Lucroy. Gonzalez followed with a single to right. With runners on first and second with one out, Maldonado reached on an infield single to Lillibridge to load the bases. Betancourt hit a sinking liner to left that Soriano caught. Lucroy tagged and scored, 6-2 Brewers. Marco Estrada then delivered the big blow … a double to right center that plated Gonzalez with Milwaukee’s seventh run. Camp intentionally walked Aoki to load the bags before striking out Gomez swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The game remained 7-2 until the bottom of the ninth.
Brandon Kintzler started the ninth for Milwaukee. Soriano greeted him with a single to center. Soriano took second on a 2-1 pitch to Schierholtz then scored when Nate Schierholtz singled to left (3-1 pitch). Castillo followed with a single to right and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs. Ron Roenicke made the slow walk and went to the pen for his new closer Jim Henderson.
Luis Valbuena ripped a 1-2 pitch off Betancourt’s glove that allowed Schierholtz to scored, 7-4 Brewers. Steve Clevenger hit for Lillibridge and struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the first out. Scott Hairston reached on an error by Maldonado at first to load the bases with one down.
Dave Sappelt put together a long at bat … but struck out swinging for the second out. Starlin Castro stepped in with the bags full, two down and the Cubs down by three. Castro drove the eighth pitch of the bat to deep right center. Aoki hauled it in on the track … game over.
Weather permitting … Travis Wood is scheduled to face Wily Peralta and the Brewers on Wednesday night.