Game One Hundred One – Cubs 5, Brewers 2
WP – Rafael Soriano (2-0) LP – Will Smith (4-2, BS 4) Save – Hector Rondon (14)
Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate with two on and two out in the eighth inning with his team down 2-0. Rizzo hit a bullet to the upper deck in right and his three-run shot off lefty Will Smith gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. The Cubs added two more runs in the ninth and took game one from the Brewers on Thursday night at Miller Park.
Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI) delivered when his team needed the big hit. Rizzo had the Cubs only two base knocks of the game before the eighth inning as the offense was silenced by a very excited Jimmy Nelson. The Cubs did not quit and once Nelson left the game, Joe Maddon’s team went to work on the Brewers’ bullpen.
The Cubs scored all five runs in the their last two at bats, four of the runs on two-out hits by Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber (1-for-5 with a RBI). Kris Bryant (0-for-1 with a sac fly RBI) gave the Cubs a little breathing room with a sac fly that plated Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a run scored) with the team’s fourth run.
Jake Arrieta ended up with a solid start after really struggling with his command over the first three innings. Dexter Fowler bailed out Arrieta in the second inning when he tracked down a deep fly to center off the bat of Brewers’ pitcher Jimmy Nelson with the bases loaded to end the inning. Arrieta threw 37 pitches, only 17 for strikes, in the first two innings.
The Brewers took advantage of a shaky Arrieta the second time through the lineup in the third inning. Arrieta gave up two runs in the third on a double by Jonathan Lucroy and an infield single from Ryan Braun. Arrieta found his command in the third and allowed just one other hit before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Rafael Soriano picked up the win after completing a scoreless seventh inning. Pedro Strop set down the middle of the Brewers lineup in order in the eighth.
Hector Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning on six pitches to end the game.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 54-47 on the season.
Gerardo Parra led off the third inning of a scoreless game with a single to center. Parra stole second on a 2-2 pitch to Lucroy. Jake Arrieta continued to struggle with his command and missed with a 3-2 breaking ball. Jonathan Lucroy doubled to left. Parra scored easily, 1-0 Brewers. A wild pitch on a 1-2 offering to Braun let Lucroy move up 90 feet. Braun bounced a 3-2 pitch over the mound. Arrieta got the tip of his glove on the ball and slowed it down. Braun reached as Lucroy scored, 2-0 Brewers.
Adam Lind smoked a 0-2 pitch to right, but it was hit right at Soler for the first out. Arrieta started to settle in at this point. Arrieta struck out Khris Davis swinging and Scooter Gennett looking to end the inning.
After three, the Brewers had a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs managed only two hits over seven innings against Jimmy Nelson while Jake Arrieta kept the Brewers from adding on during the rest of his outing. The game went to the eighth with the Cubs trailing 2-0 after Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless seventh.
Jeremy Jeffress replaced Nelson for the eighth inning and Addison Russell greeted him with a single to center. Dexter Fowler singled to right (1-2 pitch) and put two on with no outs for Schwarber. Craig Counsell went to his pen for lefty Will Smith.
Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging for the first out. Chris Denorfia batted for Chris Coghlan and flied out to right.
Anthony Rizzo stepped in with two outs and smoked a 1-1 pitch to right … and the ball got out of the park in a hurry. Rizzo lined a three-run homer into the upper deck and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead.
Craig Counsell replaced Smith with Michael Blazek. Jorge Soler was caught looking to end the inning.
Pedro Strop pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with help by an excellent defense play from Starlin Castro on a ball hit to the hole at short. And the game went to the ninth with the Cubs leading 3-2.
Starlin Castro started the ninth with a single to right off Blazek. Jonathan Herrera hit for Strop. Castro moved up to second on a wild pitch then to third when Herrera dropped down a bunt. Brewers’ third baseman Hernan Perez could not get a grip on the ball and the Cubs had runners on first and third with no outs.
Kris Bryant lifted Blazek’s first pitch to right center. Castro tagged and scored, 4-2 Cubs. Addison Russell hit a little blooper on the infield. Gennett let the ball drop and forced Herrera at second. Dexter Fowler singled to right center and Schwarber stepped in with runners on the corners and two down.
Kyle Schwarber singled to left. Russell scampered home, 5-2 Cubs. Denorfia flied out to left to end the inning.
The game went to the bottom of the ninth and Maddon went to Hector Rondon to close it out. Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, game over.
Jason Hammel faces Taylor Jungmann on Friday night (7:10pm CDT) in game two with the Brewers.