Game Twenty-One – Cubs 7, Brewers 2
WP – Jake Arrieta (5-0) LP – Taylor Jungmann (0-4) Save – None
Ben Zobrist drove in two and David Ross homered onto Waveland. Anthony Rizzo doubled in a run and the offense worked a season-high 11 walks. Jake Arrieta was effective in his five innings as the Cubs completed the two-game sweep over the Brewers in what turned out to be a sloppy afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Thursday’s game was incredibly long due to the Cubs taking a season-high 11 walks and forcing Brewers’ pitchers to make 199 pitches. It took three hours and 45 minutes to play nine innings.
The Cubs took care of business against the Brewers and won a game against a team that struggles to make routine plays. But the attention shifted from the game to Kris Bryant in the fifth inning.
Kris Bryant (1-for-1 with two HBP and two runs scored) was replaced by Javier Baez in left field before the top of the fifth. The Cubs announced he rolled his right ankle running the bases in the third inning and was being evaluated. Bryant played the field in the fourth inning, batted in the bottom of the fourth and was hit for the second time. One the same day Miguel Montero was placed on the 15-day DL, Bryant suffered a mild right ankle sprain. Bryant’s status for Friday is unknown at this point. Bryant will be reevaluated.
The Cubs offense took what the Brewers were willing to give them, a bunch of free passes. The Cubs walked 11 times, counting Bryant getting hit two times, 13 free passes for Maddon’s offense on the afternoon to go along with eight hits.
Thursday was the third time this season the Cubs had double-digit walks in the same game. The Cubs had three games combined over the previous six seasons (2010-15) in which they walked at least 10 times in a single game.
Jake Arrieta was not sharp Thursday. Arrieta made 31 pitches in the first inning and was lifted after five innings. The Cubs had a sizeable lead and Arrieta was not on top of his game. Arrieta walked two in the first inning and loaded the bases after Jonathan Villar started the game with a broken bat, bloop single to left. Arrieta wiggled out of the jam without allowing any runs. Arrieta struck out Chris Carter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis for the last two outs in the opening inning.
Arrieta settled in somewhat before the Brewers scored a run in the fifth inning which ended his scoreless innings streak at Wrigley Field. Villar singled to left with two outs, stole second and scored on a double from Alex Presley.
Arrieta had not allowed an earned run at Wrigley Field in the regular season since July 25, 2015, a span of 52 2/3 innings.
Jake Arrieta turned the game over to the bullpen in the sixth inning. Arrieta was charged with one run on three hits and four walks. Arrieta struck out six and made 92 pitches, 57 for strikes.
After Arrieta worked his way out of the jam in the first inning, the Cubs went to work against Taylor Jungmann.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) led off with a single to center. Jason Heyward (0-for-4 with a walk) fouled out to Lucroy. Jungmann hit Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a double, three walks, a run scored and a RBI) walked to load the bases. Aaron Hill dropped a Ben Zobrist foul ball as he leaned into the Cubs’ dugout. And Zobrist took advantage of Hill’s error.
Ben Zobrist (2-for-5 with two RBI) delivered what turned out to be the game-winning hit in the first inning. Zobrist singled to right. Fowler and Bryant scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead. Tommy La Stella (1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a run scored and a RBI) fouled out and Addison Russell (0-for-3 with two walks and a RBI) rolled out to short to end the inning.
David Ross (1-for-3 with a home run and a walk) gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Ross led off the second with a mammoth shot to left. The ball traveled 420 feet and ended up on Waveland Ave.
The Cubs kept the pressure on the Brewers in the third inning and added two more runs.
Bryant singled to right center and scored from first base on a double into the right field corner by Anthony Rizzo. La Stella went oppo with one out and doubled to left. Rizzo scored after the ball one-hopped the vines and the Cubs took a 5-0 lead. Russell was caught looking and Ross flied out to right to end the third.
The Cubs tacked on in the fifth inning against Chris Capuano. La Stella walked and moved to second on a wild pickoff attempt. Addison Russell walked. La Stella tagged and went to third when Ross flied out to right center. Jorge Soler batted for Arrieta. A wild pitch allowed Russell to take second. Soler walked to load the bases.
Dexter Fowler grounded a 1-1 pitch to short. What should have been an inning ending double play turned into a run for the Cubs. Jonathan Villar could not get the ball out of his glove. Soler was forced at second. Fowler beat Yadiel River’s throw to first and La Stella scored, 6-1 Cubs. Heyward rolled out to first for the third out.
The Cubs took advantage of the Brewers incredibly bad defense in the sixth and put another run on the board.
Javier Baez (1-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) reached on an infield single. A passed ball allowed Baez to take second. After Rizzo walked, Zobrist was called out on strikes. Rizzo took off for second and was caught in no man’s land. Lucroy ran toward second base as Baez danced between second and third. Rivera dropped the throw from Lucroy. Baez advanced to third, Rizzo retreated to first and the Cubs had runners on the corners with one out. La Stella walked to load the bases.
Addison Russell hit another grounder to short that was a tailor made double play ball. La Stella was forced at second, Rizzo advanced to third and Baez scored as Russell reached first with two outs. Ross walked to load the bases. Matt Szczur batted for Justin Grimm and lined out to second for the third out.
The game moved along at a snail’s pace for the remaining three innings as the Brewers tried to throw strikes.
Justin Grimm struck out three of the four batters he faced in the sixth. Trevor Cahill really struggled in his 1 2/3 innings. Cahill walked three and gave up a hit but no runs. Pedro Strop struck out Yadiel Rivera swinging with two on to end the eighth inning.
The Cubs were not able to add on to the lead but the Brewers scored a run in the ninth off Neil Ramirez.
Jonathan Villar doubled with one out. A wild pitch allowed Villar to take third. Alex Presley pulled a 3-2 pitch to right. Heyward hauled in the routine fly. Villar tagged and scored. Ramirez ended the game by retiring Ryan Braun on a grounder back to the mound.
With Thursday’s win, the Cubs improved to 16-5 on the season.
The Cubs open a three-game series with the Braves on Friday afternoon (1:20pm CDT). Jon Lester is scheduled to face Aaron Blair in game one.