This one really sucked. Once again, the Brewers jumped out to an early lead against the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee scored two in the first one a two-run homer by the Mayor of Ding Dong City and another in the second inning on a solo shot by Jett Bandy. Jonathan Villar would add Milwaukee’s fourth and final run of the game on an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Tommy Milone, who came into the day with a 7.36 ERA in three appearances, finally produced a strong outing on the mound. He allowed a solo home run to Albert Almora, Jr. in the second inning, but that was his only blemish of the day. The lefty would last 5.0 innings, allowing just three hits and the one run with five strikeouts and zero walks. He left the game in line for the victory.
The Cubs slowly clawed their way back against Milwaukee’s bullpen, however. The Brewers squandered an opportunity in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out but failing to plate any insurance runs. Two walks and a hit lead to the Cubs scoring a run against Carlos Torres in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it a 4-2 ball game. Jacob Barnes came on for the 7th and pitched a scoreless frame with three strikeouts, but Corey Knebel ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth. He opened the inning with a walk to Kris Bryant, and then back-to-back hits by Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell plated another run to make the score 4-3. Knebel would strike out Willson Contreras and Almora before getting pulled in favor of Neftali Feliz, who struck out Javier Baez to end the inning and keep Milwaukee’s one-run lead intact.
Feliz came back out for the ninth inning in an attempt to nail down the four-out save. He retired Kyle Schwarber to lead off the frame, but then Jon Jay walked and Miguel Montero hit a single to put runners on the corners. Reigning MVP Kris Bryant then tied the game with an RBI single back up the middle. After getting Rizzo to ground out, that brought Addison Russell up to the plate with two outs and the score knotted up at 4 apiece. Feliz started him with two straight sliders that missed for balls, then on a 2-0 count, he missed his spot with a 97 MPH fastball. Russell promptly deposited that mistake into the left-center field bleachers to give the Cubs a walk-off victory by a score of 7-4.
Impossible to know for sure whether fatigue played a role for Feliz, but there was this: HR pitch to Russell was supposed to be away, not in— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 19, 2017
Milwaukee could have easily swept their three-game set against Chicago at Wrigley, and arguably should have swept. They had a 5-0 lead in yesterday’s ballgame before Jimmy Nelson and the bullpen melted down, and then the late-inning relief corps blew a three-run lead in the latter stages of today’s ballgame. The loss drops Milwaukee’s record back down to .500 at 8-8, while the Cubs improve 8-7.
Our local nine returns to Miller Park tomorrow to begin a four game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, who currently reside in the NL Central cellar at 6-9. Zach Davies (0-2, 8.79 ERA) is slated to face off against Carlos Martinez (0-2, 3.57 ERA), with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM CST. The game will be broadcast on FSWisconsin+ and locally on the radio on 94.5 WKTI, as well as statewide on the Brewers Radio Network.