Game Eight – Cubs 6, Brewers 3
WP – Carlos Marmol (1-1) LP – John Axford (0-2) Save – Kyuji Fujikawa (2)
The Cubs battled back on Tuesday night from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning and ended their four-game losing streak. After an ugly start, the Cubs scored five of their season-high six runs in their final two at bats. Three of the Cubs six runs scored on a pair of groundouts and a pinch-hit sac fly from Scott Hairston in the eighth that broke the 3-3 tie.
Tuesday’s comeback was a team effort. Four different players drove in runs while the bullpen kept the Brewers off the board.
Travis Wood put together a good outing and was the victim of poor defense. The Cubs were charged with two throwing errors in the Brewers’ three-run second inning. Wood limited the damage then put together 4 1/3 scoreless innings before turning the game over to the pen. Wood allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (102 pitches, 64 for strikes).
Hector Rondon retired both batters he faced in the seventh and Carlos Marmol picked up the victory after putting together a scoreless eighth. Starlin Castro made a diving stop on a ball ticketed for centerfield that would have given the Brewers the lead to end the eighth.
Kyuji Fujikawa picked up his second save in his Wrigley Field debut. Fujikawa worked around the Cubs third error of the night by retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a pop out to shallow center with two on to end the game.
Wily Peralta kept the Cubs’ offense pretty much in check for the first six innings of the game. The Cubs managed only one unearned run in the fifth. But to the team’s credit, they did not quit on a frigid night at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs tied the game in the seventh on a Starlin Castro (1-for-5 with a RBI) groundout and an Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a double, two RBI and two walks) double off lefty Mike Gonzalez … Rizzo’s first hit of the season off a southpaw (0-for-6).
Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled to start the eighth. The Cubs loaded the bases against John Axford before Scott Hairston pinch-hit for Carlos Marmol. Hairston drove in the winning run with a sac fly to center off Alfredo Figaro that broke the 3-3 tie. David DeJesus (3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored) singled in a pair of runs that gave the Cubs a three run lead.
The Cubs scored a season-high six runs on nine hits with four walks, one intentional, five strikeouts, a sac bunt and a sac fly … 2-for-8 with RISP and eight LOB.
Travis Wood worked in and out of trouble in the first inning without allowing any runs. Norichika Aoki led off the game with a double to left. After Weeks popped out, Wood walked Braun intentionally-unintentionally. Aoki and Braun executed a double steal on a 1-2 pitch to Lucroy. With the infield in and runners on second and third with one down, Wood caught Lucroy looking on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Wood struck out Alex Gonzalez swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.
Other than a two-out walk by Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing against Wily Peralta in the first inning.
While the weather excuses were flying, the Brewers took advantage of the Cubs’ defense in the second inning and put three runs on the board.
Carlos Gomez blooped a 3-2 pitch into right center to start the second. Jean Segura ripped the first pitch he saw into the left field corner. Gomez scored easily … and even slid in to make sure everyone knew he scored. Betancourt then hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Castro showed off his range and got to the ball. But he unnecessarily rushed his throw, threw off balance to first and pulled Rizzo off the bag. Rizzo tried to tag Betancourt before he touched first. Wily Peralta bunted through a 0-2 pitch. Castillo saw Segura off second and tried to pick him off. His throw sailed and ended up in center. Both runners advanced on the first charged error of the inning.
With the infield in and runners on second and third with one out, Aoki slapped a 1-2 pitch toward short. Castro fielded the ball cleanly, rushed his throw again and Castillo could not catch the errant throw. Segura scored, 2-0 Milwaukee. Wood then walked Weeks to load the bases for Braun with only one down. Braun hit a dribbler back up the middle that Castro dove and kept on the infield. But Castro could not flip the ball to Lillibridge. Betancourt scored, 3-0 Brewers. Lucroy rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Wood needed 48 pitches, 28 for strikes, to complete two innings.
Travis Wood kept Brewers off the board while collecting quick outs. Wood got his pitch count under control as the offense tried to figure out Wily Peralta.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the fifth. After Travis Wood struck out swinging to start the inning, David DeJesus singled to left. Starlin Castro then hit a chopper to third. Alex Gonzalez fielded the ball but threw low to second. Weeks could not handle the throw, the ball ended up in right and the Cubs had runners on second and third with one down.
Anthony Rizzo grounded a 2-2 pitch to Weeks. DeJesus scored and Castro advanced to third as Weeks threw out Rizzo at first. Soriano pulled Peralta’s first pitch to Gonzalez to end the inning.
The game remained 3-1 until the bottom of the seventh.
After Brent Lillibridge grounded out to first to start the seventh, Steve Clevenger hit for Hector Rondon and drove the first pitch he saw into left. David DeJesus pulled a 2-0 pitch from Peralta down the right field line. Clevenger stopped at third with one out.
Starlin Castro grounded a 0-2 pitch to Segura at short. Clevenger scored and cut the Brewers lead to 3-2. Ron Roenicke made the slow walk and went to his pen for lefty Mike Gonzalez.
Anthony Rizzo stepped in with the tying run on second. Rizzo was 0-for-6 against southpaws this season … before he reached out and pulled a 2-0 pitch into the right field corner. DeJesus scored and tied the game at three. Roenicke went back to his pen for John Axford, the Brewers’ former closer. Alfonso Soriano flied out to center (1-1 pitch) to end the inning.
Carlos Marmol worked around a two-out triple by Jean Segura in the top of the eighth without allowing the Brewers to score. Starlin Castro made an excellent diving stop on a ball ticketed for centerfield off the bat of Betancourt to end the inning … and the game went to the bottom of the eighth tied at three.
Nate Schierholtz led off the eighth with a double into the left field corner (1-0 pitch) off John Axford. Welington Castillo bunted Schierholtz to third with one down. Axford missed on his first two offerings to Valbuena then put him on first base. Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent up Dioner Navarro to hit for Lillibridge. Axford walked Navarro to load the bases. At that point Roenicke decided that was enough for Axford and went to his pen for Alfredo Figaro.
Scott Hairston hit for Marmol and drove a 1-0 pitch into medium-depth centerfield. Carlos Gomez got into position, caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate. Schierholtz tagged and slid in just ahead of Lucroy’s tag … 4-3 Cubs. Both runners advanced on the play and Sveum sent Alberto Gonzalez in to run for Navarro.
David DeJesus gave the Cubs a little breathing room with a single to right (0-1 pitch). Valbuena and Gonzalez scored, 6-3 Cubs. DeJesus advanced to second on a wild pitch but Castro flied out to right to end the inning.
Kyuji Fujikawa made his Wrigley Field debut and would have had a spotless ninth if not for an error by Luis Valbuena that allowed Aoki to reach with one out. Fujikawa struck out Weeks swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out. Braun kept the inning alive with a single to left. Fujikawa picked up his second save when Lucroy popped out to Gonzalez in shallow center to end the game.
The Cubs wrap up the three game series with Milwaukee on Wednesday night. Scott Feldman faces Kyle Lohse in his Wrigley Field debut.