Game Forty-Two: Cubs 4, Brewers 2
WP – Travis Wood (4-4) LP – Marco Estrada (3-2) Save – Hector Rondon (5)
The Cubs beat Marco Estrada for the first time and won their second series of the season on Sunday as the Cubs outslugged the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Seven of the Cubs eight hits went for extra bases and both Welington Castillo and Mike Olt went yard behind a very good outing from Travis Wood.
Welington Castillo (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) gave the Cubs an early lead with a two-run homer in the second inning. Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored) hit his first of two doubles on the afternoon with two outs in the third and scored on a Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a walk and a run scored) double. Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a home run) cranked his team-leading ninth home run in the fourth inning and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead at the time.
Junior Lake (2-for-4 with a double) and Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4 with a double) also recorded extra basehits while Lake’s single in the seventh was the only one basehit for either team on Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs put together good at bats and made Marco Estrada work (99 pitches in five innings). The Cubs scored four runs on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts (1-for-10 with RISP, six men left on base) on Sunday afternoon.
Travis Wood recovered from a bad first inning and ended up recording a quality start. Wood did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and surrendered two runs on two hits on a day with the wind blowing out. Rickie Weeks took Wood deep in the fifth inning for the Brewers only runs in seven innings off of Travis Wood.
Mike Olt made two excellent plays and the second one bailed Wood out of trouble in the first inning. Wood struggled with his control in the first inning and walked the bases loaded. Olt dove to his left on a ball hit by Khris Davis that was ticketed for left field. Olt snagged the ball and threw out Mark Reynolds at second base to end the inning. Wood settled in after the first inning and retired 19 of the last 21 batters he faced.
Travis Wood allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts on Sunday afternoon. Wood threw 106 pitches, 66 for strikes, in seven innings.
Brian Schlitter pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Hector Rondon picked up his fifth save of the season with an impressive ninth inning. After giving up a leadoff double to Ryan Braun, Rondon struck out two of the next three batters he faced to close out the game.
Cubs’ pitching held the Brewers to two runs on three hits (two doubles, one home run) on Sunday and issued only three walks. A day after striking out 14 batters, Cubs pitching struck out 11 on Sunday.
With Sunday’s victory (3-4 on Sundays in 2014), the Cubs improved to 15-27 on the season.
Travis Wood really struggled with his control in the first inning. Wood walked the bases loaded and threw 23 pitches, 11 for strikes. Mike Olt made two excellent defensive plays in the first inning and the second saved at least two runs and kept the Brewers from having a huge inning. With the bases loaded and two down, Khris Davis pulled Wood’s first pitch toward the hole at short. Olt dove to his left, snagged the ball and threw to Valbuena at second to force a sliding Mark Reynolds to end the inning.
Junior Lake doubled down the left field line with one out in the first inning. But Lake did not advance and was stranded at second after Rizzo popped out to right center and Castro flied out to left to end the inning.
Travis Wood retired the Brewers in order in the second inning. Wood threw 37 pitches, 20 for strikes, over the first two innings.
Luis Valbuena put together an excellent at bat to start the second. After falling behind 1-2, Valbuena worked a walk. Welington Castillo lifted a 1-1 pitch into the wind. The ball kept carrying and ended up in the bleachers in left. Castillo’s fifth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Mike Olt struck out swinging. Ryan Kalish worked a walk and stole second on the first pitch to Travis Wood. Estrada struck out Wood swinging for the second out. Emilio Bonifacio hit a blooper up the middle that Segura caught near the second base bag to end the inning.
At the end of two, the Cubs had a 2-0 lead.
Travis Wood made quick work of the Brewers in the third (three-up, three down) and needed 48 pitches, 31 for strikes, to complete three innings on Sunday.
Junior Lake put together a long at bat to start the third. Lake flied out to deep right center (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Rizzo struck out swinging (0-2 pitch). Starlin Castro stepped in and pulled a 2-2 pitch into left for a double. Luis Valbuena followed and pulled a double into the right field corner (0-1 pitch). Castro scored and gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Castillo flied out to right for the third out.
After three complete, the Cubs led 3-0.
Travis Wood pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning (63 pitches, 40 for strikes) and the offense went back to work in the home half against Marco Estrada.
Mike Olt led off the fourth with his ninth longball of the season. Olt smoked a 2-0 pitch from Estrada into the bleachers in left center and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Kalish flied out to left (1-2 pitch) and Wood looked at strike three for the second out. Emilio Bonifacio doubled to left center (3-1 pitch) but was stranded when Estrada picked up a swinging bunt up the first baseline and threw out Lake to end the inning.
The Cubs led 4-0 after four innings.
The Brewers chipped in to the Cubs lead in the fifth. Wood retired Bianchi on a grounder to short for the first out. Logan Schafer doubled to right center (1-0 pitch) for the Brewers’ first hit of the game. Wood struck out Estrada swinging. Wood kept pitching from behind, and it cost him. Rickie Weeks launched a 2-0 pitch to deep left center. The ball ended up on Waveland and the Cubs lead was down to 4-2. Wood caught Jean Segura looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning. Wood threw 83 pitches, 52 for strikes, in his first five innings.
The Cubs could not cash-in Starlin Castro’s second double of the day in the fifth. And at the end of five, the Cubs had a 4-2 lead.
Hector Rondon took the hill for the ninth inning with the Cubs still leading 4-2. Ryan Braun started the ninth with a double off the vines in right center (1-2). Rondon struck out Jonathan Lucroy with a 97 mph fastball down in the zone. Mark Reynolds popped up a 3-2 pitch to Rizzo for the second out. Rondon blew a 98 mph fastball (announced at 99 mph) past Khris Davis (1-2 pitch) to end the game.
Monday is a day off for the Cubs. The Cubs open a two-game series against Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter and the Yankees on Tuesday night (7:05pm CDT) at the old ballyard. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Masahiro Tanaka in the opener.