Game One Hundred Fifty-One – Cubs 2 Brewers 3
WP – Chris Narveson (2-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (1-3) Save – Trevor Hoffman (35)
The Cubs season with the Brewers ended the way it began … with a loss. In between the Cubs posted a 10-5 record against Milwaukee, the fourth straight year the Cubs won the season series against the Brewers (10-7).
Jeff Samardzija showed a lot of improvement from his last big league start against the Phillies. Samardzija appeared a lot more confident and in control than in previous outings this season. The Shark pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just five hits but two were home runs that accounted for all three of the Brewers runs.
Prince Fielder gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning with a two-run shot to left center … his 42nd home of the year. Jody Gerut added to the Brewers lead with his ninth round tripper of the season, an upper deck shot to start the sixth.
The Cubs first run came off Jeff Samardzija’s first career hit. Samardzija ripped Chris Narveson’s first pitch of the sixth inning over the wall in right center for a home run. Jeff Samardzija became the first Cub since Hee-Seop Choi on September 8, 2002 to record a home run for his first big league hit.
Bobby Scales drove in the Cubs’ second run with a pinch-hit double in the seventh that plated Jeff Baker. Scales improved to 7-for-11 as a pinch-hitter this season with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and five RBI.
The Cubs bullpen was very effective on Wednesday night. Sean Marshall, Justin Berg, Jeff Stevens and John Grabow shutdown the Brewers’ high powered offense … no runs, no hits and no walks over the final three innings.
Chris Narveson dominated the Cubs’ lineup for 5 2/3 innings. The southpaw was incredibly sharp and hit his spots all night long … Jason Kendall barely had to move his glove. Narveson struck out 10 batters, seven looking, and allowed just one run on four hits without a walk. The Cubs tried to wait him out but he was on top of his game.
The Cubs and Brewers are playing out the string and will not face each other in a meaningful game until the home opener at Wrigley next April. Lou Piniella at one point played an all-rookie outfield and he used both Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens out of the pen. Berg was very sharp, other than committing a balk. He struck out both batters he faced in the sixth … Casey McGehee and Mike Cameron.
With the loss, the Cubs slipped to 3-3 on their current 10-game road trip with four left to play in San Francisco … After two blow out wins by the Cubs to start the series, Wednesday was a battle of young pitchers fighting for jobs next season. Jeff Samardzija was very sharp the first time through the lineup. He retired the first four batters he faced on groundball outs and did not allow his first hit until one-out in the third … a single to left by Alcides Escobar.
After the Escobar single, Chris Narveson sacrificed him to second and Felipe Lopez walked. Jody Gerut, who always plays extremely well against the Cubs, grounded out on the first pitch to Derrek Lee to end the inning.
Ryan Braun led off the fourth with a single to left on a 1-2 pitch. Prince Fielder launched a 0-1 pitch just out of the reach of Jake Fox in left. Fielder’s 42nd homer of the year gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
Samardzija settled down after the Fielder homer and showed a lot of poise. He retired the next six batters he faced until Gerut led off the sixth with a bomb to the upper deck in right.
Ryan Braun followed Gerut’s homer with a single to left and chased Samardzija from the game.
Sean Marshall struck out Prince Fielder swinging. Piniella brought in Justin Berg to face McGehee and Cameron. Other than a balk that advanced Braun to second, Berg was very sharp. He struck out Casey McGehee swinging after Braun stole third … and retired Mike Cameron swinging on the fourth pitch of the at bat to end the inning.
Reed Johnson, in his first game since July 29, recorded the Cubs first hit in the third … a leadoff double to left. Geovany Soto singled to left but Johnson was held at third in a scoreless game. Jeff Samardzija sacrificed Soto to second.
With runners on second and third with one out, Ryan Theriot swung at the first pitch (again) and flied out to shallow right. Johnson broke for the plate but stopped halfway down the line. Tyler Colvin (0-for-4 with two strikeouts) struck out to end the inning.
Chris Narveson retired the Cubs in order in the fourth on seven pitches. Narveson then struck out the side in order, all looking, in the fifth.
After Samardzija cut the Brewers’ lead in half with his first career homer to start the sixth, Ryan Theriot singled to center. Colvin and Derrek Lee struck out. Narveson was lifted in favor of Todd Coffey. Narveson was apparently on a strick pitch count (70 pitches, 54 for strikes) and Wednesday night was his longest big league outing of the year.
Aramis Ramirez walked after Theriot stole second … and put the tying run in scoring position. Jake Fox grounded out to third to end the inning.
Jeff Baker led off the seventh with a single to right off of David Weathers. Bobby Scales pinch-hit for Reed Johnson and doubled down the left field line. Baker scored … 3-2, Brewers.
Geovany Soto could not advance Scales to third. He grounded out to short for the first out. Mike Fontenot hit for Justin Berg and grounded out to Felipe Lopez on a very close play at first. Ryan Theriot was robbed of a hit by a leaping Lopez on a soft liner that appeared to be a single off the bat.
The Cubs went quickly in the eighth on just five pitches.
Jeff Baker reached on a one-out single to left in the ninth. Sam Fuld pinch-ran for Baker but never moved. Trevor Hoffman struck out Bobby Scales looking and retired Geovany Soto on a foul out to Prince Fielder.
Ryan Dempster will face Brad Penny in the first of four in San Francisco on Thursday night.