Cubs Hang On and Snap Skid in Milwaukee – Cubs 5, Brewers 4

Game Seventy-Six – Cubs 5, Brewers 4

WP – Scott Feldman (7-6) LP – Yovani Gallardo (6-7) Save – Kevin Gregg (12)

wflag-pubIt wasn’t easy but the Cubs finally won a game in Milwaukee. Dale Sveum’s team survived a wild ninth inning and snapped their nine-game losing streak at Miller Park.

The Brewers cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-4 in the ninth when Juan Francisco led off the inning with a solo homer to right. Rickie Weeks followed with a double to right center off of Kevin Gregg. Logan Schafer bunted Weeks to third with one out. Yuniesky Betancourt stepped in with the tying run on third and grounded Gregg’s first pitch toward third. A drawn in Luis Valbuena fielded the ball and threw home as Weeks headed for the plate. Welington Castillo applied the tag for the second out. With Betancourt at first and two down, pinch hitter Scooter Gennett flied out to Nate Schierholtz at the wall in right to end the game.

The Cubs offense scored all five of their runs off Yovani Gallardo and knocked the Brewers’ ace out of the game after just four innings. But the Cubs wasted countless chances to put the game away early before the Brewers’ bullpen shut the Cubs down over the final five innings.

Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI, a stolen base and a run scored) doubled in Welington Castillo (1-for-5 with a run scored) with the first run of the game. Luis Valbuena (2-for-4 with a RBI, a walk and a run scored) singled in Barney with the Cubs’ second run in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney (1-for-4 with a home run and a walk) gave Scott Feldman a little breathing room with his fourth homer of the year in the third and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a walk) drove in two runs with a two-out single in the fourth.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a run scored) had a good night at the plate after a much-needed day off and Brian Bogusevic (2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base) reached base three times in his Cubs’ debut.

The Cubs pounded out 11 hits and walked five times but managed only three hits and a walk after the fourth inning. The Cubs were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

Scott Feldman notched another quality start after allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts in six innings. The key for Feldman on Wednesday night was that he did not walk a batter. Feldman gave up single runs in the second, third and sixth innings but was able to limit the damage. Feldman was effective and put together another good outing. Feldman threw 81 pitches, 54 for strikes, on Wednesday night.

James Russell pitched a perfect seventh before surrendering a leadoff single to Norichika Aoki in the eighth. Carlos Villanueva worked around a stolen base and a passed ball without allowing any runs.

Kevin Gregg picked up his 12th save in as many chances but for the second outing in a row he was not very sharp and gave up a run.

Aramis Ramirez drove in two of the Brewers’ four runs with a home run and a RBI single. Ramirez collected the 2,000th hit of his career when he took Feldman deep with his fifth home run of the season in the second inning.

The Cubs improved to 20-5 when they score five or more runs and with Wednesday’s victory they improved to 32-44 on the season.

The Cubs jumped on Yovani Gallardo in the first inning and loaded the bases after Luis Valbuena walked, Starlin Castro singled and Anthony Rizzo walked with two outs. Brian Bogusevic worked a 2-2 count in his first at bat as a Cub before striking out swinging to end the inning. The Cubs made Gallardo throw 24 pitches, 12 for strikes, in the opening inning.

Scott Feldman retired the Brewers in order on just 10 pitches, seven for strikes, in the first inning.

The Cubs broke through against Gallardo in the second inning. Welington Castillo led off the second with a single to right center. Darwin Barney drove a 1-2 pitch into the gap in right center. Aoki missed the cutoff man and Castillo scored all the way from first to give the Cubs an early lead. Barney then swiped third on a 0-1 pitch to Feldman. Gallardo struck out Feldman swinging for the first out. Luis Valbuena ripped a 2-2 pitch past the drawn-in infield into center. Barney scored, 2-0 Cubs. Castro struck out swinging and Schierholtz flied out to deep right center (3-0 pitch) to end the inning.

Aramis Ramirez led off the Brewers’ second inning with a long homer to left center. The 2,000th hit of Ramirez’s career came against the Cubs as expected and cut the lead to 2-1. Feldman retired Francisco, Weeks and Schafer in order to end the second. Feldman needed 20 pitches, 13 for strikes, to complete two innings.

Ryan Sweeney got Feldman the run right back in the third. Sweeney led off the inning with his fourth homer of the season. Anthony Rizzo followed with a double off the base of the wall in left. Caleb Gindl misplayed the deep fly into a two-base hit. Brian Bogusevic drove a 2-2 pitch to left. Gindl appeared to lose the liner in the lights. The ball hit off his glove and the Cubs had runners on second and third with no outs. But the Cubs could not capitalize on the Brewers’ error. Castillo grounded out to third and Barney hit a fly into shallow right center. Logan Schafer made a nice running catch then threw a strike toward the plate. Rizzo tagged but the ball was waiting for him and Lucroy tagged him out to end the inning.

The Brewers chipped into the Cubs 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Caleb Gindl singled to center (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Gallardo bunted Gindl to second. Aoki followed with a double to left center. Gindl scored easily, 3-2 Cubs. Scott Feldman refocused and got out of the inning without allowing the tying run to score. Aoki stole third after a 1-0 pitch to Segura. Feldman struck out both Segura and Lucroy swinging to end the inning. Feldman needed 38 pitches, 25 for strikes, to get through three innings on Tuesday.

Luis Valbuena reached on an error by Rickie Weeks with one out in the fourth. Weeks bobbled the routine grounder and did not appear to be in a rush to throw to first base. Starlin Castro followed with a single to right (3-1 pitch) and the Cubs had runners on first and second with one out. Nate Schierholtz flied out to deep left center (2-2 pitch). Valbuena tagged and advanced to third with two down. Sweeney walked to load the bases for Rizzo.

Anthony Rizzo quickly fell behind Gallardo 0-2. Rizzo drove Gallardo’s next pitch back up the middle and into center. Valbuena and Castro scored, 5-2 Cubs. Brian Bogusevic stepped in with runners on first and third with two down and worked a walk to re-load the bases. Castillo grounded out to short to end the inning. Gallardo threw 96 pitches over the first four innings, 59 for strikes.

Scott Feldman worked around a two-hit single by Weeks in the fourth. After four, the Cubs led 5-2 and it took Feldman 51 pitches, 33 for strikes, to complete four innings on Tuesday night.

Tom Gorzelanny replaced Gallardo in the fifth and gave up a two-out single to Valbuena but that was all and the Cubs were 2-for-11 with RISP and left nine men on base over the first five innings.

The game remained 5-2 Cubs until the bottom of the sixth.

Jean Segura led off the sixth with an infield single. Segura chopped a 2-2 pitch over the mound. Barney fielded the ball and Segura just beat his throw to first. Segura stole second on a 1-1 pitch to Lucroy. The Brewers’ catcher grounded out to short, Rizzo made a nice stop to save Castro another error and record the out.

Aramis Ramirez singled to center on a 1-0 pitch and plated Segura with the Brewers’ third run. Francisco flied out to deep center and Weeks grounded out to short to end the inning. Feldman threw 81 pitches in six innings, 53 for strikes.

The Cubs wasted another chance to tack on in the seventh inning. Brian Bogusevic singled to right off of Burke Badenhop. Castillo struck out swinging for the first out. Bogusevic stole second on the first pitch to Barney but Barney fouled out to Francisco for the second out. Julio Borbon hit for Feldman and worked a walk. Luis Valbuena grounded out to second for the third out.

The Brewers did nothing against James Russell in the seventh and the game went to the eighth with the Cubs clinging to a 5-3 lead.

The Cubs did nothing against Donovan Hand in the eighth and Russell stayed in to start the bottom of the eighth. Aoki greeted Russell with a single to left and Sveum went right to his pen for Carlos Villanueva.

Jean Segura flied out to deep center on a 2-0 pitch from Villanueva. Aoki then stole second on the first pitch to Lucroy. Castillo got mixed up on the next pitch from Villanueva and a passed ball allowed Aoki to move up ninety feet. Lucroy popped a 3-0 pitch into shallow left center. Bogusevic ran in and caught the ball. Aoki held with two down. Villanueva struck out Aramis Ramirez swinging to end the inning.

Brian Bogusevic reached on a one-out infield single in the ninth off John Axford but Castillo rapped in to a 6-4-3 double play and the game went to the ninth inning with the Cubs up by only two runs.

Kevin Gregg took the hill for the ninth and Juan Francisco lined Gregg’s third pitch of the inning over the wall in right and just like that, the Cubs were up by only one run. Rickie Weeks followed and worked a full count before lining a double into right center. With the tying run at second and no outs, Logan Schafer bunted Weeks to third. After a brief conference on the mound, Sveum brought his infield in and Yuniesky Betancourt pulled the first pitch from Gregg right to Valbuena at third. Valbuena fielded the ball and threw a strike to Castillo but he caught the ball away from the plate and Weeks nearly got his foot in before Castillo tagged him. With two down and Betancourt at first, Scooter Gennett hit for John Axford and pulled a 1-0 pitch to deep right. Schierholtz hauled the ball in near the wall to end the game.

Matt Garza takes on Wily Peralta in the series finale with the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver