Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 3, Brewers 5
WP – Will Smith (1-0) LP – Pedro Strop (0-1) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (4)
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jason Hammel drove in runs, but the offense continued to struggle putting the ball in play while Aramis Ramirez drove in three of the Brewers five runs and delivered the game winner as the Cubs lost the finale to Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied at three in the eighth inning, Pedro Strop gave up a double to pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra and a bunt single to Carlos Gomez. Jean Segura squared to bunt on the second pitch of the at bat. Strop’s fastball ran in and hit Segura in the head. A scary scene at Wrigley ended with Segura getting to his feet and walking to first base. Segura tried to stay in the game but had to take himself out.
Pedro Strop induced a 5-2-3 double play off the bat of Ryan Braun that kept the Brewers from scoring and put runners on second and third with two outs for Adam Lind. Instead of pitching to Lind, Joe Maddon walked him and loaded the bases for the player that Ron Santo nicknamed ‘The RBI Machine.’
Aramis Ramirez finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and a walk. The only out he made advanced Adam Lind into scoring position and he scored on a sac fly from Khris Davis.
The Cubs finished the homestand with a disappointing 3-3 record after Sunday’s loss.
Jason Hammel didn’t have his best stuff Sunday afternoon and still ended up with a quality start. Hammel elevated pitches in the third and fourth innings that cost him runs. After not allowing a single run to the Brewers in two starts last season, Hammel was touched up for three runs on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Hammel threw 86 pitches, 57 for strikes, in six-plus innings.
At the plate, Jason Hammel collected his first RBI of the season. A sac fly in the second inning that tied the game at one.
Zac Rosscup replaced Hammel in the seventh and retired all three batters he faced. Phil Coke and Gonzalez Germen combined on a scoreless ninth inning.
The Cubs offense had trouble again making contact. The Cubs struck out 10 times Sunday for a three-day total of 35 strikeouts. What is concerning about those strikeout totals is that Mike Fiers and Jimmy Nelson are not that good.
The Cubs had plenty of chances to put runs on the board. The offense was 2-for-10 with RISP and left eight men on base.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a triple and a RBI), Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI), Dexter Fowler (1-for-5 with a runs scored and a stolen base), Miguel Montero (2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored), Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with a double) and Chris Denorfia (1-for-1) collected eight of the Cubs nine hits.
Addison Russell (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to six games with a single in the second inning.
With Sunday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 13-10 on the season.
Aramis Ramirez jumped on the first pitch he saw of the series with one out in the second inning. Ramirez lined a solo homer into the soon-to-be-open bleachers in left center. And the Brewers took a 1-0 lead. Jason Hammel threw a first pitch fastball, simply cannot do that to Aramis Ramirez. Hammel retired Khris Davis (swinging strikeout) and Elian Herrera (soft liner to second) to end the inning.
The Cubs got the run right back in the home half. Miguel Montero led off with a single to center. Starlin Castro walked and put two on with no outs. Chris Coghlan flied out to the track in right. Montero tagged and advanced to third. With runners on the corners and one down, Jason Hammel did not waste any time. Hammel lifted the first pitch from Jimmy Nelson into right center. Montero tagged and scored, game tied at one. Addison Russell singled to right center and extended his hitting streak to six games. With runners on first and third, Dexter Fowler grounded out to second base to end the inning.
The game was tied at one after two innings.
After Martin Maldonado grounded out to Bryant for the first out in the third, Hammel could not put away Jimmy Nelson. The Brewers’ starting pitcher lined a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left center. The ball rolled to the wall and Nelson ended up at second with a double. Carlos Gomez lined a 0-1 pitch to right center. Jorge Soler fielded the ball and threw all the way to the plate. The ball skipped past an out of position Montero, Nelson scored and Gomez belly-flopped into third base. The Brewers took a 2-1 lead and had a runner at third with one down.
Hammel struck out Jean Segura swinging and limited the damage to one run when Braun popped out to center field.
The Cubs did nothing in the third. And after three complete, the Cubs trailed 2-1.
Jason Hammel continued to elevate his fastball in the fourth inning and it cost him another run. Adam Lind doubled to right (3-1 pitch) out of the reach of a diving Anthony Rizzo. Aramis Ramirez flied out to right center on a 3-2 pitch. Lind advanced to third and scored when Khris Davis lifted Hammel’s first pitch into right center, 3-1 Brewers. Herrera reached on a bloop single to center. But was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
The Cubs could not cash in on an error by Braun in right that allowed Coghlan to make it to second base with two out. And at the end of four innings, the Cubs trailed 3-1.
Jason Hammel pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Hammel threw 68 pitches, 45 for strikes, in five innings.
Addison Russell was caught looking at a 0-2 pitch to start the fifth. Dexter Fowler reached on a perfectly placed bunt and stole second with Soler at the plate. Jorge Soler struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Fowler advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs.
Anthony Rizzo lifted a 1-0 pitch from Nelson to center. The ball carried and hit off the base of the wall. Fowler scored easily, 3-2 Brewers, and Rizzo ended up at third with a stand-up triple.
Kris Bryant blooped a 0-1 pitch into shallow right. Herrera tried to make an over the shoulder basket catch. The ball popped out of his glove, Rizzo scored and Bryant hustled to second with a double. With the game tied at three, Montero smoked a liner into left center that Gomez ran into the gap and caught to end the inning.
The game remained tied until the eighth inning.
Pedro Strop replaced Zac Rosscup for the eighth. Gerardo Parra hit for Will Smith and doubled to left center. Carlos Gomez bunted to Strop on the third base side of the mound. Strop looked at third for some reason with Bryant crashing in on the play. By the time he realized third base was not an option, Gomez was well down the line and made it easily to first base. With runners on the corners and no outs, Jean Segura squared to bunt on a 0-1 pitch. Strop’s pitch sailed and hit Segura in the head. Segura went to the ground and trainers from both teams rushed out to check on him. Replays showed Segura was hit in the middle of the helmet on the Brewers logo.
Jean Segura got to his feet and tried to stay in the game, but could not. Hector Gomez replaced Segura at first base. With the bases loaded and no outs, Ryan Braun hit a roller to third base. Kris Bryant fielded the ball and threw home to force Parra. Montero completed the 5-2-3 double play with a strong throw to first base. With runners on second and third with two down, Strop intentionally walked Adam Lind to load the bases.
Joe Maddon’s decision to intentionally walk Lind cost the Cubs and was the wrong move.
Aramis Ramirez blooped a 1-0 pitch down the left field line. Gomez and Gomez scored, 5-3 Brewers. Strop struck out Davis swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs managed singles in the eighth and ninth innings but were not able to string any together. After Chris Denorfia led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single to center, Aramis Ramirez took a double away from Addison Russell and fittingly caught a soft liner from Jorge Soler to end the game.
The Cubs open a four-game series in St. Louis on Monday night (7:10pm CDT). Travis Wood is scheduled to face Carlos Martinez in game one.