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Chacin’s pitching, Braun’s two homers lead Brewers past Cubs 7-0

Milwaukee plays total game to pull within two of Chicago

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Boo birds in Wrigley left unhappy by The Deputy
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

WP: Jhoulys Chacin (12-4); LP: Jose Quintana (10-9); Save: none; Homeruns: Mil - Lorenzo Cain (9); Ryan Braun 2 (14); Erik Kratz (4)

A Beautiful Wrigley Field Box Score

What a difference a day makes. The Milwaukee Brewers (68-54) scored the same number of runs (7) as they did in Sunday’s loss on eight fewer hits, and the pitching staff shut out the Chicago Cubs (68-50) on just three hits in a 7-0 win. The big difference at the plate was the long ball; the Crew had two first inning homers and added two more, accounting for six of the seven runs.

After the Brewers staked Jhoulys Chacin to a 3-0 first inning lead, the big righty never let the Cubs off the mat. He worked seven shutout innings to earn his twelfth win against four losses. The Cubs had three hits (all doubles) and walked twice, and Chacin struck out a season high ten. Two of the Chicago doubles were of the lead-off variety, but Jhoulys worked out of both innings by retiring the next three. After Ian Happ doubled to start the bottom of the third, Anthony Rizzo pulled a groundball past a shifted Orlando Arcia, but Hernan Perez came in fast from his rover position in right, backhanded the ball, and nipped Rizzo at first. Chacin fanned Javy Baez for the second out, and Ben Zobrist pulled one into the shift for out number three.

Baez doubled leading off the sixth, and Ben Zobrist took a 3-2 curveball that was off the plate outside, but the Brewers got the call for strike three. Zobrist was livid, and home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi gave the veteran a long leash as he complained. Joe Maddon came out and sent Zobrist back to the dugout, then ripped into Cuzzi himself. Maddon wasn’t going anywhere until he was tossed, and Cuzzi obliged him. Once again, a groundball into the shift (this one by Jason Heyward) was an out, and Tommy LaStella lined out to Ryan Braun in left to end the frame. By that time it was 6-0 Brewers, so it wasn’t quite as tense as it sounds...although the Cubs have been rather good coming back this year, so...

That Milwaukee first inning set the tone for the game. Lorenzo Cain took Brew-master Jose Quintana’s second pitch well out to left center for a 1-0 lead. After Christian Yelich set the tone for his day with the first of three straight groundballs to second for an out, Jesus Aguilar singled to right, and Braun took a ‘Q’ curveball deep into the leftfield seats for a 3-0 lead. Hernan Perez lined Quintana’s next pitch into left for a single, but that was it for the first.

In the top of the third Aguilar walked to lead off the inning, and Braun picked on another curveball and would have hit it all the way out of Wrigley except for a fine leaping catch by a fan in the last row. The fan tucked his souvenir away and reached into a sack hanging from the back fence for a ball to toss out on the field. 5-0 Brewers, and Quintana finally didn’t seem invincible anymore. He did settle down and retire the last seven he faced before he was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fifth.

After Braun’s second homer Milwaukee had one hit over five innings. Fortunately, that one hit was a low fastball from Jesse Chavez in the sixth that Erik Kratz drilled out to left to up the lead to 6-0.

Once again, you can see the fan getting a substitute ball to throw back on the field. Not to be judgmental.

Old friend Jorge De la Rosa gave up the seventh run when Kratz doubled to left to drive in Aguilar in the top of the eighth.

Corey Knebel had a good bottom of the eighth, getting the Cubs three up, three down with two strikeouts. Dan Jennings retired the Cubs 1-2-3 in the ninth to seal the win.

A win tomorrow would pull Milwaukee back within a game of first and give them their second straight series win over the northsiders. Junior Guerra (6-7, 3.40) looks to keep the Cubs at bay, and will face “crafty righty” Kyle Hendricks (8-9, 4.02). It’s another afternoon game at at Wrigley.

Game Notes

  • Zobrist wasn’t satisfied to leave well enough alone with Maddon getting tossed for him. After Baez struck out to end the eighth, Ben reminded Home Ump Cuzzi how poorly he had been doing his job today. Zobrist was rewarded with an early shower.
  • Erik Kratz had a strikeout and a double play grounder in his first two at bats, but came back with his homer and double.
  • Aguilar had two singles and a walk and scored three times.
  • The nine spot in the Brewers’ order shared a golden sombrero, and Jhoulys Chacin looked as bad in his three k’s as he has all year. Jonathan Schoop pinch hit and got the final whiff.
  • Both teams struck out twelve times.