Game Forty: Cubs 3, Brewers 4
WP – Kyle Lohse (5-1) LP – Jeff Samardzija (0-4) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (17)
The Brewers built a 4-0 lead in the first two innings of Friday’s game with a lot of help from the Cubs defense. The Cubs cut Milwaukee’s lead to 4-3 by the third inning on a pair of home runs by Darwin Barney and Junior Lake. But the Cubs could not complete the comeback and lost the opener to the Brewers on a cold, rainy day at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs lacked focus at the beginning of the game and did not show any signs of life until Darwin Barney’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning. By that time the Cubs were already down 4-0 after arguably the team’s worst two innings in the field all season. The Cubs committed two errors, Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch and Welington Castillo was charged with a passed ball. And those four miscues helped a Brewers’ lineup without Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez build up a four-run lead.
The Cubs ended up being charged with three errors, a passed ball and two wild pitches on the afternoon.
Jeff Samardzija settled down after a rough start and kept the Brewers from adding to their lead. Samardzija threw 31 of his 99 pitches on the afternoon in the first inning. Three walks, six strikeouts and an ugly, error-filled day by the Cubs defense ran up his pitch count. Samardzija had only one clean inning, his last of the day. Samardzija lasted five innings and appeared to let a 12-pitch at bat by Jonathan Lucroy in the first inning get under his skin. Samardzija appeared frustrated at times, both with himself and his defense. And while Samardzija’s stuff was not bad, the cold day appeared to affect his grip on the ball for obvious reasons.
Jeff Samardzija was charged with four runs, two earned, on six hits with three walks, a wild pitch and six strikeouts. Samardzija threw 99 pitches, 61 for strikes, in five long innings.
On the afternoon, Cubs’ pitching struck out 14 batters while allowing four runs, two earned, on nine hits and four walks.
Brian Schlitter worked around a walk and a hit in the sixth inning and kept the Brewers off the board. James Russell struck out two batters in the seventh and Justin Grimm was very sharp in his 1 1/3 innings of work. Grimm retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts. Jose Veras pitched a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts. The Cubs pen did its job and gave the offense time to put runs on the board.
The Cubs offense went silent after the third inning. After grinding out at bats and scoring three runs on seven hits in the first three innings, the Cubs started swinging at everything Kyle Lohse and the Brewers’ pen threw near the plate. Brewers’ pitching retired 17 batters in a row after a Luis Valbuena single in the third until Starlin Castro led off the ninth with a single off of Francisco Rodriguez.
Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) hit his second longball of the year in the second inning that cut the Brewers lead to 4-2. Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a home run) hit a solo shot in the third and his fifth home run of the season made it a one-run game. But the Cubs hit into two inning ending double plays in the second and third innings before the hits just quit coming.
Starlin Castro (2-for-4), Anthony Rizzo (1-for-3 with a walk), Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a run scored) and Jeff Samardzija (1-for-2) collected hits. The Cubs were only 0-for-2 with RISP and left four men on base.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 13-27 on the season.
Jeff Samardzija made quick work of Logan Schafer to start the game (grounder to first). Jean Segura singled to center on a 0-1 pitch. Scooter Gennett flied out to deep left for the second out. Jeff Samardzija could not put Jonathan Lucroy away. Lucroy fouled off seven straight 2-2 offerings before Samardzija uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Segura to advance to second. Lucroy dumped Samardzija’s 3-2 pitch into left field. Segura scored as Junior Lake bobbled the ball and allowed Lucroy to move up to second base. Lyle Overbay hit a grounder to Castro that he fielded cleanly. But his sidearm throw to first skipped and Rizzo could not scoop it. Lucroy scored on Castro’s error, 2-0 Brewers. Mark Reynolds singled to left. Khris Davis was unable to check his swing on a 2-2 pitch and struck out swinging to end the inning. The 20-minute, 31-pitch top of the first inning finally came to an end with the Cubs down 2-0.
The Cubs put two runners on in the first inning (Rizzo walk, Castro infield single) and made Kyle Lohse work a little (20 pitches, 13 strikes) but the offense could not push across any runs and the game went to the second inning with the Brewers up 2-0.
The Cubs generosity continued in the second inning. Elian Herrera, subbing for Ryan Braun, just missed a home run to right and settled for a double off the bricks. Lohse popped a bunt attempt into foul ground that Valbuena caught for the first out. Samardzija issued a four-pitch walk to Logan Schafer. A passed ball on a 1-0 offering to Segura allowed Herrera and Schafer to move up ninety feet. With the infield in, Segura lined Samardzija’s next pitch back up the middle and into center field. Herrera and Schafer scored, 4-0 Brewers. Welington Castillo threw out Segura trying to steal second on the first pitch to Scooter Gennett. The decision by the Brewers shortstop changed the inning. Samardzija walked Gennett. Jonathan Lucroy lined out to center to end the inning. Samardzija needed 50 pitches, 31 for strikes, to complete two innings on Friday afternoon.
Welington Castillo flied out to left center to start the Cubs’ second inning. Nate Schierholtz followed with a single to right (1-2 pitch). Darwin Barney followed and lifted a 1-0 pitch out to left. The ball ended up in the bleachers in left field and Barney’s second longball of the season cut the Brewers lead in half. Jeff Samardzija followed with a single to right, but Emilio Bonifacio hit a sharp grounder to first that ended up being a 3-6-3 inning ending double play.
At the end of two long, sloppy innings for both teams, the Brewers led 4-2.
Jeff Samardzija pitched around his third walk and the Cubs third error in the third. The Brewers could not add to their lead, but Samardzija threw 69 pitches, 41 for strikes, in his first three innings of work.
Junior Lake led off the third with a solo homer to left. Lake smoked the 2-2 offering from Lohse, the ball got out of the yard in a hurry and his fifth longball of the season cut the Brewers lead to 4-3. Anthony Rizzo was jammed and blooped a 0-1 pitch into left center for a single. Castro fouled out to first base. Luis Valbuena singled to right. Rizzo advanced to third and the Cubs had runners on the corners with one down and trailing by one run. Welington Castillo broke his bat and rolled into a 4-6-3 inning ending double play.
After three complete, the Cubs trailed 4-3.
And that’s how the game would end. The Cubs managed one hit over the last six innings while the Cubs’ pen allowed only four baserunners over the last four innings in relief of Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs stopped working counts. It took Kyle Lohse 52 pitches (33 strikes) to complete three innings. He ended up throwing 92 pitches (64 strikes) in seven innings.
Edwin Jackson takes on Matt Garza in game two with the Brewers on Saturday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).