Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 7, Brewers 6
WP – Jason Hammel (3-1) LP – Jimmy Nelson (1-3) Save – None
Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro hit tape measure home runs on Friday night but it was Addison Russell and Kris Bryant’s hustle in the ninth inning that was the difference as the Cubs held on and beat the Brewers on Friday night.
The Cubs played all nine innings in the opener with the Brewers, and it’s a good thing the offense did not stop with the way the pitching staff is struggling right now. Even with the Cubs hitting three mammoth home runs in the first eight innings, the Cubs led 5-3 going into the ninth inning.
Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a home run) started the scoring in the ninth with the Cubs’ fourth home run of the night. Castro’s solo shot made it a 6-3 game. With two outs, Addison Russell (1-for-4 with a run scored) reached on an infield single to third. Two Brewers’ throwing errors later, Russell stood at third and held when Dexter Fowler (2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored) worked a walk.
Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a RBI and three strikeouts) pulled a 1-1 pitch towards the hole at short. It was not a difficult play for Jean Segura, but he took his time making a throw. Bryant hustled down the line and was called out on a very close play. Maddon asked the umps to take another look, the call was overturned. Russell scored and the Cubs took a 7-3 lead into the ninth inning.
What seemed like a harmless tack-on run turned out to be the difference in the game. Hector Rondon could not throw strikes. Rondon walked two of the first three batters he faced. After Scooter Gennett lined to right for the second out of the inning, Ryan Braun drove Rondon’s first pitch into the stands in right. And his three-run homer made it a one run game.
Adam Lind and Khris Davis followed with singles. Rondon struck out Gerardo Parra swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
The Cubs almost gave another one away. It was the kids respecting the game that was the difference.
Outside of too many swings and misses against Jimmy Nelson, the Cubs played a complete game until the eighth inning.
Jason Hammel made it through a very shaky first inning and ended up with a strong seven-inning outing. Hammel surrendered two runs on five hits with three walks and a season-high eight strikeouts. Hammel threw 91 pitches, 60 for strikes, in seven innings.
Zac Rosscup had problems throwing strikes and forced Maddon to go to Pedro Strop after he gave up a double to Ryan Braun and walked Adam Lind with two outs in the eighth. Strop served up a double to Khris Davis that made it a 5-3 game. After intentionally walking Gerardo Parra to load the bases, Strop struck out Martin Maldonado swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.
The Cubs pen of Rosscup, Strop and Rondon allowed a combined four runs on four hits and four walks in the eighth and ninth innings with two strikeouts.
The Cubs put on an impressive display of power and the four home runs on the night was the only story before the ninth inning.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) hit a solo blast in the fourth. Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hit a mammoth, two-run homer in the fourth for his first longball since April 13. And Starlin Castro hit his third homer of the season leading off the ninth inning.
Addison Russell extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the infield single in the ninth inning.
The Cubs scored seven runs on 10 hits and struck out 15 times with only two walks … 3-for-5 with RISP and left five men on base.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 15-13 on the season.
Dexter Fowler led off and launched the second pitch of the game over the wall in right center. Fowler’s tape-measure shot, the 10th time in his career he started a game with a home run, gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Jimmy Nelson struck out Kris Bryant swinging, retired Anthony Rizzo on a tapper back to the mound and Miguel Montero struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jean Segura reached on an infield single to third to start the Brewers’ first inning, a chopper down the line that Bryant fielded cleanly and made a strong throw across the diamond. It was just late. Scooter Gennett rolled into a 5-4-3 double play. Jason Hammel appeared to pitch around Braun and walked him on four pitches. Adam Lind smoked a 1-0 pitch to left, Braun advanced to third and scored on a single to center by Khris Davis.
With the game tied at one and runners on first and second with two down, Gerardo Parra lined a single to left. Lind was waived around third and Chris Coghlan threw a strike to Montero. The play was not close and Montero applied the tag to end the inning.
At the end of one, the game was tied at one.
Anthony Rizzo led off the fourth inning with the game still tied at one. And Rizzo crushed a 0-1 pitch from Jimmy Nelson. The ball ended up in the back of the upper deck beyond the right field wall and the Cubs took a 2-1 lead.
Miguel Montero followed Rizzo’s mammoth shot with a double down the left field line.
Jorge Soler worked a 3-1 count before squaring up the fifth pitch of the at bat. Soler drove the ball to deep center … and his third homer of the season put the Cubs up by three at 4-1. Castro struck out swinging, Coghlan flied out to center and Hammel struck out swinging to end the inning.
Jason Hammel issued a two-out walk to Martin Maldonado in the fourth, but that was all. Hammel struck out two of the four batters (Davis, Parra) he faced in the fourth. Hammel needed 53 pitches, 31 for strikes, to complete four innings on Friday night.
The Cubs led 4-1 after four innings.
Jason Hammel took the hill for the bottom of the sixth with the Cubs still up 4-1. Hammel settled in after the rough first inning and threw only 64 pitches, 41 for strikes, in the first five innings.
Hammel caught Braun looking at a 1-2 pitch to start the sixth. Adam Lind flied out to left. Hammel was not able to put Davis away. Khris Davis pulled a 3-2 pitch into the Brewers bullpen (left central) and cut the Cubs lead to 4-2. Hammel sat down Parra with a grounder to second to end the inning.
At the end of six, the Cubs had a 4-2 lead.
Will Smith replaced Jimmy Nelson in the eighth inning. Dexter Fowler led off and worked a full count. Fowler doubled to center and held at second when Bryant struck out swinging. Fowler stole third on a 1-1 pitch to Rizzo and scored when Anthony Rizzo singled to right. With the Cubs leading 5-2 and Rizzo on first, Smith struck out Montero and Soler swinging to end the inning. Will Smith threw 28 pitches in the eighth inning.
Zac Rosscup took over for Jason Hammel in the eighth. Rosscup retired Segura (grounder to second) and Gennett (grounder back to mound) for the first two outs. Braun doubled to right center. Rosscup walked Lind and put runners on first and second with two outs.
With the Cubs up by three and the tying run coming to the plate, Maddon went to the pen for Pedro Strop.
Khris Davis drove a 0-1 pitch deep to right. The ball sailed over Soler’s head. Braun scored and made it a 5-3 game. Lind held at third on a double by Davis.
Gerardo Parra stepped in with the tying runs in scoring position. Strop missed with his first two pitches. Maddon then just had Strop put Parra on first. Strop struck out Martin Maldonado swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading 5-3.
Brandon Kintzler started the ninth for the Brewers and Starlin Castro greeted him with a blast to left. Castro launched his third homer of the season into the upper deck and gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead. Coghlan struck out and Matt Szczur, hitting for Pedro Strop, grounded out to the mound.
Addison Russell dribbled the first pitch he saw down the third baseline. Russell hustled down the line and beat Elian Herrera’s throw. But the ball sailed past Adam Lind. Russell went to second and then to third when Lind’s throw got away. Fowler walked and put runners on the corners and two down for Bryant.
Kris Bryant pulled a 1-1 pitch to the hole at short. Segura fielded the ball and took his time. Bryant hustled down the line and was called out. Maddon asked for a review, the call was overturned and Russell scored, 7-3 Cubs. Rizzo grounded out to second for the third out.
Hector Rondon was given the ball with the Cubs leading by four runs. And Rondon could not throw strikes.
Rondon walked Elian Herrera. Jason Rogers hit for Kintzler and grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Rogers took over at first base and moved up 90 feet when Rondon walked Segura. Gennett lined out to right. Ryan Braun drove the first pitch from Rondon over the wall in right, and just like that the Cubs’ lead was down to 7-6.
Adam Lind singled to center (2-2 pitch). Craig Counsell sent in Hector Gomez to run. Khris Davis singled to left (2-0 pitch) and the Brewers appeared to be in business with runners on first and second with two outs. Rondon found the strike zone and struck out Gerardo Parra swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Travis Wood is scheduled to face Kyle Lohse on Saturday night (6:10pm CDT) in game two of three with the Brewers.