Bullpen Blows Baker’s Debut – Cubs 1, Brewers 3

Game One Hundred Forty-Two – Cubs 1, Brewers 3

WP – Yovani Gallardo (11-9) LP – Justin Grimm (0-1) Save – Jim Henderson (24)

Scott Baker tossed five innings of shutout ball and turned the game over to the bullpen with a 1-0 lead but the Brewers scored three runs in the seventh off Justin Grimm and James Russell and Milwaukee beat the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Scott Baker was very good in his first big league action in nearly two years. Baker faced two over the minimum in his five innings of work. Baker gave up two hits and walked a batter while recording seven groundball outs. Baker had good command and velocity while seemingly locating the ball where he wanted to after the first inning. Baker touched 90 mph with his fastball, sat comfortably in the upper 80s and had a very good slider.

Junior Lake (2-for-3 with a home run) put Baker in position to win the game when he hit his sixth longball of the season leading off the fifth but the Cubs’ pen could not keep the Brewers off the board.

Justin Grimm and James Russell gave up three runs in the seventh on four hits and a walk. The big blow came off the bat of pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi, a two-run single to center. Yovani Gallardo singled off Russell and drove in the Brewers’ third run.

The Cubs’ pen was charged with its 26th blown save of the season, three shy of the Cubs’ All-Time mark (29) set in 2000. James Russell surrendered a lead for the eighth time this year and should really be shut down for the remainder of the season.

Cubs pitching allowed only eight hits with two walks but the Cubs’ offense was non-existent on Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs managed only three hits and one walk on Sunday. Junior Lake collected two of the three hits and Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) reached on an infield single in the fourth. Nate Schierholtz (0-for-3 with a walk) was the other Cub to reach base on Sunday. The Cubs did not put a runner on base after Lake’s homer in the fifth.

The Brewers simply own the Cubs. Not only did the Brewers beat the Cubs for the tenth time in 15 games this season but the Brewers took six of the nine games at Wrigley Field this year.

With Sunday’s loss (8-15 on Sundays in 2013), the Cubs finished the homestand with a 4-5 record and dropped to 60-82 on the season.

Scott Baker walked Norichika Aoki to start the game, then shut down the Brewers offense for the remainder of his afternoon. Baker threw 16 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first inning. Baker had good command and location while throwing his fastball in the upper 80s and even touched 90.

Baker set down the side in order in the second inning on eight pitches … 24 pitches for Baker after two innings, 16 for strikes.

Yovani Gallardo retired the first six batters he faced on 27 pitches, 18 for strikes.

Scott Baker made quick work of the Brewers again in the third. Baker retired the Brewers in order on eight pitches again. Baker needed 32 pitches, 22 for strikes, to complete three frames on Sunday.

Junior Lake led off the third with a single to right, the Cubs’ first hit of the day. Castillo grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice and took over at first after Betancourt dropped Gennett’s throw. Baker could not get the bunt down and fouled off a 0-2 pitch for the second out. Castro grounded out to second to end the inning. Gallardo threw 44 pitches, 32 for strikes, over three innings.

Jean Segura led off the fourth with an infield single, the first hit off Baker. Segura hit a dribbler past the mound and beat out Castro’s throw. Welington Castillo threw out Segura trying to steal second. Lucroy grounded out to short and Ramirez grounded out to third to end the inning. Baker faced the minimum in the fourth and threw only 45 pitches, 31 for strikes, in four innings.

The Cubs could not push across a run in the fourth after Luis Valbuena reached on an infield single to short. Sveum called for a hit and run on the first pitch to Rizzo. Rizzo grounded out to first, Valbuena advanced to second and held when Gallardo walked Schierholtz. It did not appear that Gallardo wanted anything to do with Nate Schierholtz. With runners on first and second with one down, Bogusevic struck out swinging for the second out. Donnie Murphy flied out to a running Logan Schafer in left center to end the inning.

Scott Baker gave up a one-out double to Scooter Gennett in the fifth, But Gennett tried to advance to third on a grounder to Valbuena off the bat of Betancourt. Gennett was tagged out (5-4-5) and Schafer fouled out to Rizzo for the third out. Baker threw 55 pitches, 39 for strikes, in five innings.

Junior Lake led off the fifth with a homer to left. Lake pulled a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers and his sixth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Gallardo struck out Castillo and pinch-hitter Logan Watkins swinging. Castro grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the sixth and Justin Grimm replaced Scott Baker on the mound.

Justin Grimm retired the side in order in the sixth and the Cubs did nothing in the sixth.

Cubs’ pitching held the Brewers in check for the first six innings. The Brewers managed only two hits and a walk in six innings but that quickly changed in the seventh.

Grimm retired Lucroy on a liner to center for the first out in the seventh. Aramis Ramirez pulled a 0-1 pitch down the third baseline. Ramirez ended up at second with a double and was held at third when Carlos Gomez singled to right. Schierholtz missed the cutoff man and Gomez advanced to second on the play. With Scooter Gennett due up, Dale Sveum went to his pen for James Russell.

Ron Roenicke countered with Jeff Bianchi, the newest Cubs’ killer. Bianchi singled to center (0-1 pitch) past a drawn in infield. Ramirez and Gomez scored, 2-1 Brewers. Lake missed the cutoff man and Bianchi advanced to second base. Russell intentionally walked Betancourt. Logan Schafer grounded out to first. Rizzo tossed to Castro to force Betancourt for the second out.

Yovani Gallardo stepped in with runners on the corners and two out. Russell threw a 0-2 pitch right down the middle of the plate and Gallardo lined the ball past a leaping Castro and into left center. Bianchi scored, 3-1 Brewers. Schafer swiped third but Aoki popped out to Bogusevic in shallow left to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Gallardo in the seventh. After seven complete, the Cubs trailed 3-1.

Carlos Villanueva worked out of a jam in the eighth without allowing the Brewers to tack on.

The Cubs went down quickly and quietly in the eighth and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs down by two runs.

Hector Rondon set down the Brewers 1-2-3 in the ninth and for the second day in a row, the Cubs did nothing against Jim Henderson in the ninth.

The Cubs kick-off an 11-game road trip on Monday night with the first of three against the Reds in the Queen City. Travis Wood is scheduled to face Bronson Arroyo in the opener.

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