Lake Slams, Rusin Hits, Villanueva Pitches and Cubs Win – Cubs 8, Brewers 5

Game One Hundred Forty – Cubs 8, Brewers 5

WP – Carlos Villanueva (5-8) LP – Kyle Lohse (9-9) Save – Kevin Gregg (30)

wflag-pubJunior Lake hit the first grand slam of his career, Chris Rusin delivered a two-run single before turning the game over to Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs added a run in the eighth and Kevin Gregg shut the door in the ninth for this 30th save of the season as the Cubs took the opener from the Brewers on Friday afternoon.

The Cubs scored seven of their eight run in the first three innings off of Kyle Lohse. And before Lohse could record nine outs, every starter in Dale Sveum’s lineup, including Chris Rusin, collected a hit.

After Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) singled in Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with a run scored) with the game’s first run, Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored) walked to load the bases.

Junior Lake stepped in with two down after Donnie Murphy (2-for-4 with two runs scored) popped out to short for the second out. Lake deposited a 1-0 pitch from Lohse into the bleachers in left center for the first slam of his career. The Cubs reloaded the bases in the third after the Brewers cut the Cubs lead to 5-2 in the top of the inning. Chris Rusin (1-for-2 with two RBI) delivered a two-run single to center, the first runs batted in of his big league career, and increased the Cubs lead back to five runs.

Chris Rusin (two runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout) struggled on the mound and had to turn the game over to Carlos Villanueva with two on and two out in the fourth before he could qualify for the win. Villanueva put together his best relief effort of the year. Villanueva struck out five of the seven batters he faced over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Justin Grimm made his Cubs’ debut in the seventh and retired three of the four batters he faced.

Pedro Strop had a rare bad outing and gave up runs for just the third time in a Cubs’ uniform. Strop served up a three-run pinch-hit homer to Scooter Gennett in the eighth that cut the Cubs lead to 7-5. But Donnie Murphy scored a run in the eighth and Kevin Gregg pitched a clean, 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the game.

The Cubs’ outhit the Brewers 13-10 on Friday. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) and Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a double) notched multi-hit games while Starlin Castro (1-for-5) was solid in the field again.

Chris Rusin struggled for the first time at the big league level this season. Rusin did not appear comfortable on the hill, could not find a rhythm and had little command. Rusin threw 85 pitches, 54 for strikes, in 3 2/3 innings before handing the ball to the bullpen.

With Friday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 60-80 on the season.

Chris Rusin made quick work of Aoki and Segura to start the game. Jonathan Lucroy worked a walk after Rusin was ahead 1-2 earlier in the at bat. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single and Rusin walked the un-walkable Carlos Gomez to load the bases. Sean Halton rolled a 1-1 pitch to Castro for the third out. Rusin threw 32 pitches in the first inning, 17 for strikes.

Starlin Castro flied out to Aoki at the wall in right to start the Cubs’ first inning. Darwin Barney followed with a single and advanced to second on a single to left off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. Nate Schierholtz drove a 2-2 pitch into left. Barney scored, 1-0 Cubs. Ryan Sweeney walked to load the bases with one out. Murphy could not get the job done and popped out (infield fly) to Segura for the second out.

Junior Lake lifted a 1-0 pitch toward left center. Lake admired his work for a minute before jogging around the bases after hitting his first grand slam. Lake’s fifth longball of the season put the Cubs up 5-0. Welington Castillo doubled to left but Rusin tapped back to the mound to end the inning.

Six of the first nine Cubs recorded a hit against Lohse. The Cubs scored five runs in the opening inning and made Lohse throw 26 pitches, 17 for strikes.

The Brewers got one of the runs right back in the second inning. Jeff Bianchi singled to left and advanced to second on a single to center by Logan Schafer. Lohse bunted both runners up ninety feet. Rusin fell behind Aoki and the Brewers’ right fielder lifted a 3-1 pitch out to left. Junior Lake caught the ball, Bianchi tagged from third and scored. Lake missed the cut off man and Schafer took third on the throw. Jean Segura grounded out to short (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs could not take advantage of a Starlin Castro single in the second … and after two complete, the Cubs led 5-1.

Aramis Ramirez made it 5-2 Cubs with his tenth longball of the year off Rusin in the third. Rusin made it through the third but needed 65 pitches to do so (38 for strikes).

Ryan Sweeney led off the third with a single to left. Donnie Murphy followed with a single to left then Junior Lake dropped a bunt toward third base. Lake followed his grand slam with a bunt single in the third and loaded the bases with no outs for Welington Castillo. Lohse struck out Castillo swinging for the first out.

Chris Rusin lined a 0-1 pitch back up the middle and into centerfield. Sweeney and Murphy scored, 7-2 Cubs. Starlin Castro rolled into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs led 7-2 after three innings.

Chris Rusin retired Schafer (groundout to second) and Lohse (swinging strikeout) to start the fourth. Aoki and Segura followed with singles and Dale Sveum went to his pen for Carlos Villanueva. Aoki and Segura pulled off a double steal with Lucroy at the plate but Villanueva caught Lucroy looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Anthony Rizzo doubled with one down in the fourth. Lohse retired Schierholtz on a grounder to first and with Rizzo at third, Sweeney was caught looking to end the inning.

At the end of four complete, the Cubs led 7-2.

The game remained 7-2 Cubs until the eighth. The Brewers barely put the ball in play against Carlos Villanueva and Justin Grimm, while the Cubs could not figure out Jimmy Nelson.

Pedro Strop started his outing by striking out Gomez swinging for the first out in the eighth. Sean Halton reached on a swinging bunt toward third then advanced to second when Cubs’ killer Jeff Bianchi singled to right. Strop caught Schafer looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out.

Ron Roenicke went to his bench and sent up Scooter Gennett to hit for Nelson.

Scooter Gennett pulled a 1-1 pitch out to right. The ball ended up in the basket and the first pinch-hit homer of Gennett’s career cut the Cubs’ lead to 7-5. Aoki flied out to right center to end the inning.

Donnie Murphy singled to left center to start the eighth. Lake flied out to right center for the first out. Murphy swiped second on a 1-1 pitch to Castillo. Welington Castillo then pulled a 2-2 pitch toward the hole at short. Segura fielded the ball, rushed his throw and Castillo reached on what was ruled an infield single. Murphy advanced to third on the play.

Brian Bogusevic hit for Strop and rolled a 1-2 pitch toward short. Segura threw home, airmailed his throw and not only did Murphy score but Castillo and Bogusevic ended up at second and third with one down. Castro grounded out to short with the infield in and Barney popped out to Ramirez near the mound to end the inning.

Kevin Gregg took over in the ninth … three outs and 17 pitches later, the game was over and Gregg picked up his 30th save of the season.

Jake Arrieta faces Johnny Hellweg on Saturday 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