The Brewers dug themselves a deep hole in the first two innings at Miller Park tonight, and never quite got back in the game, losing to the Cubs 5-2. The Crew played very poor defense early, allowing two unearned runs in a three run second.
They also left runners in scoring position in the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth. The runner that was stranded at third in the third saw the final out of the inning come on a pick-off at first of Jonathan Villar by Jason Hammel.
Jimmy Nelson gave up a lead-off homer to Dexter Fowler, freshly back from the disabled list, and Scooter Gennett muffed a soft liner by Kris Bryant for an error.Fowler finished the night with three hits, a triple short of the cycle, with a walk, two runs scored, and three RBI.
Nelson pitched out of that one, but his throwing error on a comebacker to start the second by Addison Russell led to the three run inning. After a walk, Nelson stepped over a sac bunt attempt by Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, and it went for a hit. Fowler’s bases loaded double drove in the first two, and he scored on an Anthony Rizzo sacrifice fly.
Jimmy settled down and shut out the Cubs through the fifth, and Carlos Torres shut the Northsiders for two innings. Torres gave up a triple to Russell leading off the sixth, but Miguel Montero’s short fly to left couldn’t plate him. Hammel tried a squeeze bunt, but Torres charged off the mound, scooped up the ball bare handed and barrelled into Russell while transferring the ball to his gloved hand. Russell slid but never came close to getting to home plate. It was a very rare good defensive play by the Brewers.
The Brewers scored their first run on a Ryan Braun homerun in the fourth inning. It was Braun’s first homer since the end of June, to straight away center. Run number two came in on an RBI double by Hernan Perez, his second hit of the game. Perez is now 10-21 since the All Star Break.
The Cubs added an insurance run (ASIR?) in the eighth off of Corey Knebel on Montero’s single on a 3-2 pitch. Knebel looked a tick or two slower on his fastball tonight, and had trouble locating his curve.
Pedro Strop worked around a two out walk to Braun in the bottom of the eighth, retiring Jonathon Lucroy on a fly to the warning track in right. Closer Hector Rondon walked only his fifth batter of the year in the ninth (Jake Elmore, oddly enough), but fanned two and notched his 17th save of the year.
Tomorrow night the Cubs (58-37) send John Lackey (7-6, 3.75) out to face the Brewers’ (40-54) Zach Davies (6-4, 3.79)