WP: Matt Albers (1-0) LP: Mike Montgomery (0-1) Save: none Home runs: Chi - none; Mil - Eric Thames (2), Eric Shaw (2)
After getting shut out for two straight games, the Milwaukee Brewers (5-3) finally put some offense together and scored just enough to eke out a 5-4 walk-off win at Miller Park over the Chicago Cubs (3-4). Unlike the two losses, the Crew had base runners all over the place but couldn’t get the clutch hit with runners in scoring position until the bottom of the the ninth.
Chicago lefty Mike Montgomery (the Cubs’ seventh hurler of the night) took over for the Northsiders in the top of the ninth. Montgomery had lost a game almost a year ago (4/7/17) to Milwaukee on an eleventh inning wild pitch, and couldn’t hold the Brewers’ off the board again. After a Domingo Santana strikeout leading off the inning, Manny Pina worked a walk. Hernan Perez notched his first hit of the season on a slow roller to third, and Kris Bryant’s wild throw allowed Pina to take third.
The Cubs brought Ben Zobrist in from left field to give themselves five infielders after a first pitch ball, and then Montgomery threw all of his pitches at least six inches off the outside corner with three infielders on the right side. The Cubs played a center fielder and right fielder, leaving left wide open. After going to a 2-0 count Arcia reached across the plate but fouled one off. The next offering was again off the plate but up, and this time Orlando was able to poke the ball down the right field line for the game winner.
The Brewers offense extended their scoreless streak to 22 1⁄3 innings before an Eric Thames two run homer tied the game at two in the bottom of the fifth. After a single by Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw homered to right to give the lead to Milwaukee 4-2.
And now, a word from the Mayor: pic.twitter.com/det4LFFnNu— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 7, 2018
Milwaukee left twelve on base from the second through the seventh and couldn’t push any more across after the fifth. The Cubs bullpen, best in the big leagues so far, struck out seven in 3 1⁄3 innings until the Brewers’ ninth inning rally.
Brandon Woodruff started on the hill for Milwaukee and pitched fairly well (especially compared to the last two Brewer starts), but could only last 3 2⁄3 innings because the patient Cubs drove his pitch count up into the nineties. The Cubs plated two in the top of the first with a two out rally - a walk and three cheap singles.
Woody allowed no more runs and only one more hit (he walked one and hit a batter) and three strikeouts over the next 2 2⁄3 innings but left after Cubs’ pitcher Kyle Hendricks singled on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth. Josh Hader took over to face Ben Zobrist, and after Zobrist narrowly missed a home run just foul down the leftfield line Hader got him to fly to right.
Hader worked two full innings and allowed no hits and a walk while striking out three, but was charged with a run when Jeremy Jeffress relieved him in the sixth and gave up a triple to Javy Baez on a poorly located 0-2 fastball. Baez came in to score and tie the ballgame up at four when Eric Sogard’s relay throw caromed off of Baez’ head and bounced away from Travis Shaw.
After giving up bloop hit, Jeffress retired the next four to keep the game tied at four. Matt Albers had a perfect eighth, and with the pen thin Craig Counsell stuck with him into the top of the ninth. Albers allowed a one-out pinch double to Tommy LaStella, but sandwiched strikeouts of left handed hitters Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber around an intentional walk to Kris Bryant to get out of the inning unscathed. Scwarber’s ‘K’ completed a Golden Sombrero for the slimmed-down lefty.
The third game of the four game set will be tomorrow afternoon with a 3:10 start time. Milwaukee will send Zach Davies (0-1, 9.53) out to try and give the Brewers an edge in the four game set. The Cubs counter with free agent acquisition Yu Darvish (0-0, 10.38), who somehow pitched even worse than the Brewers’ rotation in his first outing.