Cubs Can’t Strop the Brewers – Cubs 0, Brewers 5

Game One Hundred Four– Cubs 0, Brewers 5

WP – Brandon Kintzler (3-0) LP – Pedro Strop (1-1, 1-4) Save – None

The Cubs’ struggles with the Brewers and the National League Central continued on Monday night. The Cubs lost for the sixth time in nine games to the Brewers, a team with only 38 wins against the rest of baseball.

It was a nothing-nothing game going into the ninth after Jeff Samardzija silenced the Brewers for seven innings. The Cubs struggles with runners in scoring position continued on Monday night and they could not cash in multiple chances to put runs on the board against Kyle Lohse. After six at bats, the Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP and left nine men on base.

Pedro Strop took the hill in the ninth, and not Kevin Gregg because he was unavailable. Strop gave up his first runs as a Cub and before Blake Parker could record the third out, the Brewers put a five spot on the board. Strop issued a leadoff walk to Jean Segura and a single to Jonathan Lucroy to start the inning. Carlos Gomez blooped a single into center and drove in the first run of the game. Jeff Bianchi delivered a two-run double to right and Rickie Weeks blooped a two-run double into right. Three of the Brewers five runs scored on two bloop hits. Strop was charged with five runs, all earned, on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in a third of an inning.

Jeff Samardzija was sharp on Monday night. Samardzija had very good command and appeared to be throwing the ball with ease, something he has not done in a while. Samardzija did not allow a hit until two outs in the fifth and turned the game over to the pen in the eighth. Samardzija tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed three hits, two walks, hit a batter and struck out seven on 109 pitches, 65 for strikes.

The Cubs offense put two runners on base in four of the first six innings and had at least one runner on base in six of the first seven innings. But they could not buy a hit that plated a run. The Cubs were 1-for-8 with RISP on Monday night and left nine runners on base. In the last 11 games, the Cubs are 9-for-84 with RISP.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4) and Junior Lake (2-for-4) collected four of the Cubs’ six hits. David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a double) and Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) had the other two hits.

With Monday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 48-56 on the season.

The Cubs had chances to put runs on the board in three of the first four innings while Jeff Samardzija was busy facing the minimum over the first four innings.

The Cubs put two on in the first with one out after David DeJesus led off with a double and Anthony Rizzo reached on a gift single to left. Rizzo hit a pop up into shallow left. Segura and Gindl gently collided and Gindl could not hold onto the ball. But Schierholtz struck out swinging and Castro flied out to right for the third out.

The Cubs made three very loud outs in the second. Valbuena flied out to deep left center. Barney flied out to Gomez at the wall in left center and Castillo smoked a ball back up the middle that Lohse caught for the third out. The Cubs made Kyle Lohse work (28 pitches, 18 strikes) but had nothing to show for it after two innings.

Junior Lake ended a 0-for-14 skid with a two-out single to left in the third. Anthony Rizzo singled to center. Lake advanced to third with two down. Schierholtz struck out swinging to end the inning. Lohse needed 50 pitches, 34 for strikes, to complete three innings. But the Cubs could not push across a run and was 1-for-5 with RISP and left four men on base in their first three at bats.

The game remained scoreless through the fourth and Samardzija took a no-hit, shutout into the fifth.

Samardzija hit Jonathan Lucroy on a 0-1 pitch to start the fifth. Carlos Gomez rapped into a 5-4-3 double play but he fell behind Caleb Gindl 3-1. Gindl ripped a single into center, the first hit off Samardzija. Juan Francisco worked a full count but Samardzija caught him looking to end the inning.

After the Cubs failed to put a run on the board in the fifth, Samardzija retired Jeff Bianchi on a flyout to center to start the sixth. Kyle Lohse singled to center on a 0-2 pitch. Samardzija then walked Rickie Weeks and put two on with one down for Aoki. Samardzija fell behind Aoki 3-0. Aoki ripped Samardzija’s next pitch back up the middle. Samardzija stuck out his right hand, knocked the ball down and threw out Aoki at first and both Lohse and Weeks moved up ninety feet. Samardzija struck out Segura swinging to end the inning. Samardzija threw 88 pitches over six innings, 54 for strikes.

The Cubs wasted yet another scoring chance in the sixth. Luis Valbuena reached on a one-out single to left. Barney rapped into what should have been a 4-6-3 double play, but Francisco dropped another ball. Castillo walked to put runners on first and second with two down. Jeff Samardzija grounded out to third to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija stayed in for the seventh and struck out Gomez to start the inning. Caleb Gindl pulled a 1-0 pitch into right center for a double. Samardzija then walked Francisco and put two on for Jeff Bianchi. Samardzija retired Bianchi on a pop out to right to end the inning.

The game remained scoreless through the eighth. James Russell and Matt Guerrier retired the side in order in the eighth.

After the Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the eighth, Pedro Strop took the hill in the ninth.

Pedro Strop walked Jean Segura to start the ninth. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single to left (1-2 pitch) and Strop was in trouble. Carlos Gomez blooped a single into center (0-2 pitch), Segura scored and the Brewers took a 1-0 lead. Gindl then dropped down a bunt. Castillo picked the ball up and threw to third. His throw was high and late. Strop struck out Francisco swinging with the bases loaded for the first out.

Jeff Bianchi put the game away with a double to right. Lucroy and Gomez scored, 3-0 Brewers. With runners on second and third with one out, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Blake Parker. Yuniesky Betancourt hit for Brandon Kintzler and struck out swinging. But Parker could not get out of the jam without allowing any more damage. Rickie Weeks blooped a double down the right field line. Gindl and Bianchi scored, 5-0 Brewers. Parker struck out Aoki swinging to finally end the inning.

Rob Wooten closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Cubs play a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face Yovani Gallardo in game one. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to make his Cubs’ debut against Tyler Thornburg in the second game.

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