WP: Wade Miley (3-2); LP: Mike Montgomery (4-5); Save: none; Homeruns: none
a 3 Back Box Score!
Wade Miley stifled the Chicago Cubs (81-57) offense for six strong innings tonight at Miller Park, and the Milwaukee Brewers (79-61) pulled within three games of first in the NL Central with a pulling-away 11-1 win, largely punctuated by some very bad baseball by the Cubs.
Miley had another great start for the Crew, and this time was supported with plenty of runs, if not necessarily offense. The Cubs notched the first run of the day in the second on a lead-off double from David Bote, a sac bunt by Ben Zobrist (well, he was bunting for a hit, but unwritten rules, and that), and Bote scored when Orlando Arcia charged a topped roller from Willson Contreras and bobbled it momentarily, with Bote scoring. The ball popped out of Lando’s hand as he tried to take it out of his glove, and he changed his mind on going home - but his throw to first was well short of Jesus Aguilar at first and skimmed off the edge of the infield grass and past Zeus. That allowed Contreras to go to second; the run was earned because there was no play at the plate, but Arcia was charged with a two base error. Miley struck out Cubs’ starter Mike Montgomery and Addison Russell bounced to third.
Miley retired 11 straight until Albert Almora singled leading off the sixth. Kris Bryant drilled a two out single off of Miley’s foot to put two on with two out, but David Bote bounced to third for an easy force to end the inning. Miley’s final line was six innings, three hits, one earned run, no walks, and five k’s. Outstanding.
The Brewers tied things up in the bottom of the second when Ryan Braun led off with a single to center, and ended up at third after a one-out walk to Travis Shaw, followed by a HBP to Erik Kratz. Montgomery struck out Arcia, giving him a path out of the inning with Miley coming up. but he bounced his first pitch to Lando and it got past Contreras for a run scoring wild pitch. Game tied 1-1.
Milwaukee took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Hernan Perez singled leading it off, and Shaw scorched a liner (108 mph off the bat) that Javier Baez had skip off his back-hand. Official scorer Drew Olsen was mean, and gave Baez an error (and took away a hit from the Mayor). That put runners at first and third, and Kratz lofted a sac fly down the rightfield line. The run was unearned, but counted nonetheless. Brew Crew up 2-1.
The game was still tense...well, the game can’t be tense, but I was tense...but with some continued help from the Cubbies, some patient at bats from the Brewers, and finally some hits with men in scoring position, Milwaukee pulled away with runs in every inning from the fourth through the eighth.
Let’s get this out of the way first: starting with their final two runs yesterday, and adding in the first six today, the Cream City Nine scored nine straight runs without driving one in with a hit. For this team, that’s amazing. And scoring eleven tonight without a dinger, that’s amazing, too.
Run number three came in the fifth on a lead-off double from Lo Cain, a ground out, and a sac fly from Aguilar. After Miley wriggled off the hook in the top of the sixth, the Brewers really started to pull away...and the Cubs aided the cause mightily.
Shaw led off by reaching on an error, and with one down the Mayor took off on a steal attempt. Baez covered from second, and Arcia blooped a hit just onto the outfield grass. Then both runners took off, and pinch-hitter Domingo Santana singled into the hole at short; Russell’s late throw glanced off of first baseman Victor Caratini’s glove, plating Shaw and leaving runners at first and third. That was it for reliever Jorge de la Rosa, and his replacement, Dillon Maples, lasted three batters, walking Cain and Christian Yelich. That loaded the bases (oh, yeah...Sunday had scored on yet another passed ball by Contreras), and then he hit Aguilar to force in run number six on the night, and eight in a row without a hit. 6-1 Brewers. At this point, I was decidedly less tense.
Brian Duensing took over for Maples and got the final two in the sixth, but wasn’t as lucky in the seventh. A walk with one down to Kratz was followed up with a double to left by Arcia. Jonathan Schoop had a pinch hit sac fly (nine in a row), and Cain walked (again). That was it for Duensing, and Yelich greeted reliever James Norwood with a double into the left-center gap to finally drive in a run with a hit (well, two) moving the score to 9-1. Now I was all out relaxed.
Milwaukee’s final two came across in the bottom of the eighth on a two out, two run base hit by Schoop. That scored Shaw (walk) and Arcia (double) with the final two runs in the 11-1 rout.
Three relievers followed Miley, and the most encouraging performance was from Corey Knebel. He struck out the side in the seventh, looking dominant with control over both his fastball and his curve. Jordan Lyles gave up a lead-off single in the eighth but retired the final three with two strikeouts, and Matt Albers had a scoreless ninth. Really! Well, Joe Maddon had a part in that...after a lead-off double from Ian Happ and a walk, Joe let pitcher Norwood hit and he bounced into an easy double play. Third string catcher Taylor Davis bounced one to the rightfield side of second base, and Jonathan Schoop (playing on the oppo side of the bag on the shift) made a diving stop and threw out Davis to end the game and give Albers a scoreless inning. Huzzah!
Another series win for the Brewers (five straight) and tomorrow they go for the all-important sweep of the Cubs. Jhoulys Chacin looks for his fifteenth win (14-5, 3.53) and will face Jose Quintana for Chicago. The Brewers hit Quintana hard last time, but he has been tough on Milwaukee in general Q is 11-9 with a 4.21 ERA. The Brewers should be used to hitting against southpaws by now.
- Lorenzo Cain is a good lead-off hitter. Tonight he had five plate appearances...he went 1-1 with a double, and drew four walks. He scored twice, and had a stolen base.
- The Brewers had 11 runs on ten hits...and nine walks, two hit batters, and three Chicago errors. And three sacrifice flies.
- Lando Arcia had three of those ten hits, with two doubles.
- Jonathan Schoop entered the game in the seventh inning and had a sac fly and a two RBI single. Depth is a good thing.
- Travis Shaw was on base four times without a hit. Two walks, and two errors (kinda).
(Edit - Shaw’s liner was later changed from an error on Baez to a hit for the Mayor.)