HR: Ryan Braun (21)
MVP: Braun (.208)
LVP: Corey Hart (-.069)
The (Hopefully Brief) Rickie Weeks-less Era got off to an ignominious start today, when one-tool-player Tony Campana led off the game with a single, advanced to second on Shaun Marcum's errant pick-off throw, and then stole third base. Campana came in to score on Aramis Ramirez's sacrifice fly, and the Cubs had an early 1-0 advantage.
Of course, that lead came with a Chicago-sized grain of salt -- because these are the Cubs, after all -- and the Crew grabbed the advantage in their first turn at the plate: Nyjer Morgan singled with one down, Ryan Braun followed with another base knock, Prince Fielder walked, and Casey McGehee plated Morgan with a sac fly to center. Yuni Betancourt -- who's so (relatively) hot right now -- followed by scorching a ball to center field that scored Braun, but, because these are the Brewers, Fielder was cut down at the plate to keep the score 2-1. But Braun, who finished a triple short of the cycle, padded the advantage with a solo homer in the third and a run-scoring double in the fifth that was thisclose to getting out.
Marcum never looked entirely comfortable today; he needed 40 pitches to get through the first two innings, then settled in for a couple of yawner frames, and finally ran out of gas in the sixth, when Alfonso Soriano clubbed an RBI double and Darwin Barney missed a two-run homer by about five feet on a foul ball. Still, Marcum made it through six, LaTroy Hawkins handled the seventh without incident, and the Dynamic Duo of K-Rod and Ax slammed the door for the third consecutive day.
Eric Farris made his big-league debut by pinch-hitting for Hawkins in the bottom of the seventh inning and grounded out. Craig Counsell wasn't making his big-league debut, but the day wasn't any more successful for him: Counsell was 0-3, and he's now hitless in his last 41 at-bats.