The Great Garza – Cubs 7, Brewers 2

Game Seventy-Seven – Cubs 7, Brewers 2

WP – Matt Garza (3-1) LP – Wily Peralta (5-9) Save – None

wflag-pubIf Thursday turns out to be Matt Garza’s swan song with the Cubs, then he saved one of his best for last. Matt Garza struck out a season-high 10 batters over seven dominant innings and led the Cubs to their first series win at Miller Park in nearly three years (Sept. 2010).

With rumors flying before the game that he could be traded by the weekend with a good start against the Brewers, Matt Garza struck out six of the first nine batters he faced and did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. Garza limited Milwaukee to just one run on eight hits in seven innings. Garza was still hitting 94 mph on the gun in the seventh innings as he worked out of a first and second no-out jam without allowing any runs. Garza kept his pitch count low early on, even with all of the strikeouts, by walking only one batter on the afternoon. Garza threw 101 pitches, 66 for strikes, and ended with a final line of one run on eight hits with one walk, a hit batsman, and 10 strikeouts. And Matt Garza (2-for-3 with a run scored) became the first Cubs’ starting pitcher since Ryan Dempster in 2009 to strikeout 10 and collect two hits in the same start.

Matt Garza has allowed two runs on 15 hits with five walks and 23 strikeouts over his last three starts (22 innings, 0.81 ERA, 0.91 WHIP).

The third time was the charm for the offense against Wily Peralta. The Cubs scored seven runs, three earned, on eight hits in five innings against Peralta on Thursday afternoon with a walk and two strikeouts. Four of the seven runs scored in the third inning thanks to two Brewers’ errors that extended the inning.

Dioner Navarro (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) gave his battery mate a lot of breathing room in the third inning when his seventh longball of the season turned a 3-0 advantage into a 6-0 lead. Brian Bogusevic (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) doubled in Ryan Sweeney (1-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base) with the Cubs’ first run then scored the second on an infield single by Darwin Barney (1-for-4 with a RBI) wit two outs in the second inning.

Starlin Castro (2-for-5 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored) had another good game at the plate and is 4-for-10 since his much-needed day off on Tuesday night.

The offense made another Brewers’ starter work, put up a lot of runs early and knocked him out of the game. On the afternoon, the Cubs scored seven runs on nine hits with three walks and finished the game 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position while leaving six men on base … and for the seventh game in a row the Cubs hit at least one home run.

The Brewers second run scored in the eighth inning when Juan Francisco went deep for the third time in as many days … on Thursday it was against Blake Parker.

With Thursday’s win, the Cubs are no longer in the cellar and improved to 33-44 on the season.

Ryan Sweeney led off the second inning with a single to left center. Sweeney then swiped second on a 3-1 pitch to Rizzo after Segura could not hang onto the ball. Rizzo struck out swinging for the first out. Sweeney made a good read on a ball in the dirt on a 0-1 pitch to Bogusevic and took third. Brian Bogusevic drove a 1-2 pitch into left for a double and Sweeney scored from third. Navarro grounded out to second but his productive out moved Sweeney to third … and it led to a run. Darwin Barney followed and reached on an infield single off Peralta’s glove. Bogusevic scored, 2-0 Cubs. Matt Garza singled to keep the inning going but Valbuena tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Garza worked around a four-pitch walk to Aramis Ramirez to start the second … and at the end of two, the Cubs led 2-0.

Starlin Castro led off the third with a single to center. Castro swiped second on a 2-1 pitch to Schierholtz. Peralta struck out Schierholtz and Sweeney appeared to fly out to left. But the adventures of Caleb Gindl in left continued. The ball hit off the tip of Gindl’s glove, Castro scored as Sweeney ended up at second with one out. Rizzo flied out to deep center. Bogusevic hit a grounder toward third that Ramirez fielded and threw to first. Francisco dropped the ball and the Cubs had runners on the corners with two down.

Dioner Navarro stepped in and launched his seventh homer of the year over the wall in right … and just like that, the Cubs led 6-0. Barney flied out to right to end the inning.

The Cubs added on in the fourth after Matt Garza singled to right and advanced to second when Peralta walked Valbuena. Castro’s productive out (grounder to first) put runners on second and third with one out. Nate Schierholtz flied out to right, Garza tagged and scored … 7-0 Cubs. Peralta retired Sweeney to end the inning.

The game remained 7-0 Cubs until the bottom of the sixth. Garza needed only 77 pitches, 47 for strikes, to complete five innings and took the hill in the last of the sixth with a commanding lead.

Jean Segura led off the sixth with a single to right. Ramirez followed with a single to left and put runners on first and second with no outs … just the second time on the afternoon the Brewers put two runners on base at the same time. A 0-2 pitch in the dirt got away from Navarro. Segura swiped third but Navarro threw to second and nailed Ramirez for the second out. Garza struck out Francisco for out number two.

Logan Schafer stepped in and pulled a 0-1 breaking ball into right. Segura scored on Schafer’s double and put the Brewers on the board. Garza retired Maldonado on a fly out to center to end the inning.

After six complete, the Cubs led 7-1.

The Cubs could not capitalize on a leadoff double by Starlin Castro and a walk by Nate Schierholtz to start the seventh and Garza stayed in for Brewers’ seventh.

Caleb Gindl led off the seventh with a single to left. Jeff Bianchi followed with single and the Brewers had runners on first and second with no outs. Garza retired Weeks (flyout to center), Aoki (flyout to left) and Segura (groundout to second) to end the inning … and his afternoon.

The Brewers’ offense managed only one run off the Cubs’ pen, the long homer by Francisco in the eighth. Shawn Camp closed out the game and the series with a scoreless ninth.

The Cubs open a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night … Travis Wood against Hisashi Iwakuma in game one starting at 9:10pm CDT.

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Quote of the Day

"The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice." - George Eliot
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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Gotta think this game will be his last and assure us of a really good haul of prospect(s). I really like Garza and approved of the trade for him the moment it was confirmed. I wish him nothing but the best.

    • John_CC

      While I’m not gonna hold my breath on the trade happening right away, I agree on everything you said.

  • paulcatanese

    “The great Garza”, and you guys all want him traded?
    He pitched just like everyone wanted him to, and then when he does, everyone wants him out of here.
    I think many who have posted here are subject to mass hysteria with this rebuilding effort that is going on.
    I have never heard from Cub fans the last few days as I have yesterday and today.
    I am ashamed to think that this is the way things have to go.
    Although I may or may not agree with
    all that has been going on when these players take the field, they still are for the moment Cubs, and should be supported as such.
    The Cubs have a good beginning of a pitching staff, good additions in Sweeney, Rizzo, Schierholtz, and the players that were already there, Castro, Barney and a few more.
    I may not all of the moves that Sveum, and the front office makes, but they are in charge.
    I too would like change and see premier players brought in, but I cannot in all candor blast the players that are here, not for what they have done for the day( that’s normal) but to say that wow, that’s a good day, what will he bring on the market?
    They have for the moment dumped Marmol, who has been part of the winning problem and then everyone
    still is not satisfied. Gregg, another one that everyone turns and says “wow, he really shut them down, that should bring some prospects”.
    Do any of you realize what is going on?
    Cub’s are Cub’s and no matter what is said that is the team that I support, the one that is on the field, that day or night, they are my Cubs.
    Moves will be made, no doubt, but until they are, and new face’s are on the field, I support the ones that have the uniform with the big “C” on the front.
    I take the heat for being a supporter from people that laugh and joke about the “lovable losers” and that’s part of being a Cub fan.
    Sure I moan and groan on here with everyone else, but the more I think about it, I lose sight what this blog is all about, I thought it’s about being a Cub fan.
    Have to admit I was being caught up in the same goal, but thinking about it, it just AIN’T right.
    Probably get a ton of downs on this, but just had to say it.

    • triple

      Paul-

      This is a great post. I love its honesty and very much feel the same way. It’s a very bittersweet time for a Cubs fan to be hoping their players do well so that they can be traded, just like commodities. It really speaks of the “game,” for which I used quotes because this game we love so much is better referred to as “moneyball” than baseball at this point.

      As far as myself as a fan of this team that I love more than any team of any sport. I do still root for Schierholtz (I posted in here back in May that he should be our 3-hole hitter; and am glad that Sveum finally figured it out), Gregg, Soriano, DeJesus, Garza, Feldman, and even Marmol (well I guess I don’t now that he’s been cut) because I want the Cubs to win games. That is the bottom line and all I want this team to do! Our players names could be Albert Belle, Jose Canseco, Milton Bradley, or Carlos Zambano and I will root for them to do their best if they are wearing the Cubbie Blue! Everything else is secondary to winning. I imagine RayRay and Rip may think I place winning on the backseat because I’m not always verbally upset about the current situation of the team, or think they should be spending more money, but I know bitching about it won’t make it any better, just like fluffing the opposite angle doesn’t change our past, present, or future.

      It’s a tough time to be a Cub fan, and if some diehard fans find solace in the hope that can come from trading a model teammate like Garza for future prospects, then that is their prerogative. I really wish they had come to a contract agreement with Garza, because he’s my favorite Cub pitcher since Kerry Wood was taking the hill whenever he was healthy enough to. And even if they do trade Garza, I certainly hope that the Cubs will become a player in re-signing him during the offseason, a la the Indians trading away Lofton (to the Braves) before his last season under contract and getting David Justice and Marquis Grissom in return, and then resigning him to a contract after his one year with the Braves. The other guy I really hope sticks around is Schierholtz because for the little money he easily has been their most consistent player and on a team like this, he is not easily replaceable. But if they do trade Garza and/or Schierholtz, I’m here to root for whomever else will dawn their jersey at Wrigley. Hell, I even think that Feldman should stay too, but then I realize that he isn’t as likely to continue to provide what he has so far, and especially because he will get a hefty raise and longer contract than this FO will ever want to give him. But I don’t blame them, because I think they’ve proven that they know how to find some good players on the cheap who other teams all of a sudden are in need of come the trading deadline.

      About the deadline, I don’t really know what to expect. Maybe they’re able to move 5 or 6 players, maybe only 2 or 3, either way I’ll be looking forward to rooting for some of the players we receive to one day make it to Wrigley, and hopefully some make a big impact! Why? Not for vindication in supporting what Ricketts, and Theo & Co. are trying to build here, but because I am a Cub fan!

      And in my own version of late night CCO rambling, I really wanna let you guys now that I think Luis Valbuena is turning into a pretty good ballplayer. Is he great, or a game changer? No, but he really sets the example of the type of ballplayer that we need more of. And when we have more guys like him, all be it with more talent, I think we will be closer to our goal. And I know it’s a small sample size, but this year, as a leadoff hitter, he is batting .294 w/ a .385 OBP. He also leads all Cubs with a .360 OBP.

    • Ray Ray

      Paul. I am a huge Garza fan. He will be a free agent. I preferred that they sign him as well but it doesn’t appear likely at all. If that is the case they need to maximize his return now.