Game Seventy-Nine – Cubs 4 Brewers 13
WP – Ben Sheets (10-3) LP – Sean Marshall (4-3) Save – None
For the second day in a row the Brewers batted around in the 1st inning, they scored 4 runs in the opening frame but unlike Friday they kept tacking on runs and by the 3rd inning the Brewers had scored 7 runs and chased Sean Marshall from the game. After Rich Hill’s 3-inning performance on Friday, Lou Piniella had little choice but to run out the back end of his bullpen. Marshall left after the 2nd inning and allowed 7 runs, 6 earned, on 7 hits. Scott Eyre could not shut down the Brewers and gave up 2 more runs on 3 hits. For as good as the bullpen performed on Friday, they were equally as bad on Saturday.
The Cubs offense was taken out of the game by the 3rd inning. Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot combined for 2 runs in the 1st inning and Mark DeRosa hit a 2-run double in the 6th. The Cubs hit Ben Sheets hard in the first few innings but they were hit directly at Brewer defenders. In the 6th inning, Piniella emptied his bench and gave Soriano, Lee and Ramirez the remainder of the afternoon off. The Brewers proved they can bounce back from a disappointing loss and the Cubs season long winning streak came to an end at 7 games. Now it’s the Cubs turn…. After the big win on Friday, all of the momentum was with Lou Piniella’s crew but after Corey Hart reached on Mike Fontenot’s error to start the game, Sean Marshall did not recover and the Brewers went to work on the lefty. They scored four times in the 1st inning and after the Cubs scored 2 in the bottom of the inning, it appeared the final score would be very close….but high. Marshall retired the first two batters he faced, but walked Ryan Braun with 2 outs and the Brewers scored 3 runs after the free pass. They added 2 more in the 3rd off of Scott Eyre. Eyre continues to be just plain horrible out of the pen and his pitiful performances have really tied Piniella’s hands and shortened his bullpen.
Every pitcher allowed at least one run….with Will Ohman and Michael Wuertz giving up home runs late to Craig Counsell and Ryan Braun.
The Brewers have a very impressive offense and scored in all but 3 innings and of the 15 hits they recorded 9 were for extra bases with 2 home runs. Both Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun hit two doubles and Corey Hart extended his league leading hitting streak to 16 games.
For everything the Cubs have done right as of late, they took a couple of steps back on Saturday afternoon. But these are the kind of games teams lose during a 162-game schedule. Now the test must be to bounce back on Sunday, get the win, take the series and get back to .500 before starting a 7-game road trip to end the first half.
The month ended just the way it began, with a loss but the Cubs finished June with a 17-11 record.
Jason Marquis is scheduled to take the mound in the finale against Dave Bush. Marquis has to give Piniella a solid outing. Look for the Cubs to make another roster move before the game in order to get a fresh arm in the bullpen.