W: Heilman, 1-0
L: Villanueva, 1-1
HR: Fielder, 1
MVP: Fielder, .253 WPA
LVP: Villanueva, -.622 WPA
The win probablility graph below tells all that needs to be said about tonight's game. Things went back and forth in the middle innings, and in the ninth, they went back and did not come forth again for the Brewers.
The scoring began tonight when Fielder's 2-run homer in the third scored Hart. Kosuke Fukudome led off the fourth with homer for the Cubs, and the Brewers got a run back on a Rickie Weeks single in the bottom half of the inning. The Cubs scored again in the sixth against Dave Bush, and then loaded the bases against him in the seventh with no outs.
Bush struck out Micah Hoffpauir, and then was pulled by Macha for Mark DiFelice. DiFelice induced a ground ball from Alfonso Soriano, and Hardy and Weeks appeared to turn a double play to get out of the inning-- but the call at first was safe; replay confirms that the ball beat the runner by a very small margin. DiFelice struck out Fukudome to keep the game tied at 3.
Then the game really got exciting. Hardy singled in two runs in the seventh to put the Brewers back up, 5-3. Aramis Ramirez hit a two-out solo homer in the eighth against DiFelice, and Villanueva blew his second chance at a save by giving up a two-run homer to Alfonso Soriano. The top of the order could not get a run against Carlos Marmol in the bottom of the ninth; Marmol struck out Braun and Fielder on sliders to finish off the game after Hart singled.
I will just point out that Carlos Villanueva is still a really good relief pitcher; every pitcher is going to give up runs once in a while, it just sucks when it is in a big, intense game as this one was. Overall, I am encouraged by this bullpen so far and even though the hitters have not gotten going yet, they have been patient when they have not gotten hits-- something they struggled with last year. And Corey Hart turned in another nice game. And maybe J.J. Hardy is getting hot (I do not deny that he has hot and cold streaks, I just deny that we can predict when they will start and end).
Tomorrow night this series wraps up, and the game is actually on TV-- ESPN is televising the action from Miller Park. Brewers ace Jeff Suppan will face prime statistical regression candidate Ryan Dempster. I think it goes without saying that tomorrow will be a must-win game.