After a 19-0 win by the Brewers on Wednesday, a game with fewer runs was to be expected. However, the pitching staff made sure that only one run would be enough.
The game started with an opportunity for the Brewers, as Woodruff pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, and the Brewers got two baserunners from a leadoff single by Avisail Garcia and Jedd Gyorko reaching on an error. That was all they could get though, as Ryan Braun grounded out to end the first.
The Cubs tried to get on the board in the second. Willson Contreras got on base to start the inning when he was hit by a pitch. After that, Jason Heyward reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Willson Contreras to advance to third on an error by Luis Urias. Woodruff kept the Cubs off the board though, with a strikeout of Victor Caratini to end the inning.
In the next three innings, the Brewers did get a runner in scoring position each time. Garcia drew a walk and stole second in the third inning, but couldn’t score. Orlando Arcia doubled in the fourth, but was also left in scoring position. Tyrone Taylor led off the fifth with a walk and reached third after a Garcia single, but Garcia was caught stealing and Hiura struck out to end the inning.
Brandon Woodruff was dominant tonight for the Brewers. In seven innings, he allowed just three baserunners. One of those came on a hit. The other two were from batters he hit with a pitch. A fourth did reach on a fielder’s choice that had an error from Urias. In those seven innings, Woodruff also struck out 12 of the 22 batters that he faced. The second inning was the only inning where the Cubs got a runner in scoring position against Woodruff.
On the other side, Jon Lester wasn’t quite as dominant, but did keep the Brewers off the board. He allowed three hits and two walks, but also struck out eight batters. That kept the game scoreless heading into the late innings.
In the bullpen, Craig Kimbrel was up first and struck out two in the bottom of the seventh, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Devin Williams took the top of the eighth and got into a bit of trouble, allowing a triple to Kris Bryant with two outs. However, a strikeout to Anthony Rizzo ended that threat, and a clean inning by Cubs reliever Rowan Wick sent the game scoreless into the ninth.
Josh Hader took the top of the ninth for the Brewers, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Cubs left Wick in the game as it went to the bottom of the ninth. That ended up being a mistake, as the Brewers led off the inning with a walk from Christian Yelich and a single by Jedd Gyorko. That put Yelich at third with no outs. The Cubs went to former Brewer Jeremy Jeffress to try to save the inning. Ryan Braun was up next, and a sacrifice fly to right field ended the game, scoring Yelich for the winning run.
The pitching staff has been incredibly strong in the last few games. After pitching a shutout against the Tigers on Wednesday, they continued to dominate tonight. As a whole, the staff compiled 16 strikeouts and did not walk a batter. Adding that to Wednesday’s performance, that is 27 strikeouts in the past two games, with zero batters walked (though there were 2 HBP).
On offense, Avisail Garcia reached base in three of his four plate appearances (two hits and a walk). He was the only Brewer to reach base multiple times in the game. Hiura and Yelich each struck out three times in the game, and Gyorko and Arcia were the only other Brewers with a hit. It was far from the 19 runs on Wednesday, but it was enough to hold up for tonight.
The series continues tomorrow night in Milwaukee. Brett Anderson will face Kyle Hendricks in Game 2 of the series. First pitch is at 6:10 pm.