The Brewers’ strong offensive showing on Friday was more than sufficient to overcome a few defensive struggles against the Cubs.
To keep the Cubs scoreless across three innings, Brandon Woodruff needed the flexibility of a Spring Training game, along with two other pitchers.
Woodruff allowed four hits across 1.2 innings when Jake Cousins came in to strike out Ian Happ to end the 2nd. Big Woo came back to open up the 3rd, induced a flyout, and then gave up a double to Joc Pederson. Leonardo Crawford replaced Woodruff and looked absolutely formidable doing it, striking out the next two batters to end the inning. Woodruff fared better than he had in his last outing, but he and his breaking pitches are still building towards an Opening Day start.
Orlando Arcia’s defensive inconsistency was on display in the first inning. When Woodruff was already approaching 20 pitches, Arcia bobbled what could have been a double play, and the Cubs loaded the bases. Earlier in the inning, Arcia made a brilliant diving play and flip toss to Kolten Wong to get Ian Happ at second. Promptly after his error on the potential double play, Arcia recovered turned a double play to end the inning.
In between the interrupted Woodruff appearances, the Brewers put together a nice small ball third inning. Derek Fischer led off with a double, advanced to third after a Kolten Wong groundout, and then scored on a Keston Hiura double. Hiura scored on a Daniel Vogelbach single that also advanced Christian Yelich to second after reaching first on a walk. Travis Shaw walked to load the bases when the Cubs rolled the inning.
Eric Yardley put up a solid 4th inning, inducing three groundouts. Dylan Cozens showed a bunch of power, crushing a 2-2 two-out solo home run in the 5th. J.P. Feyereisen continued to impress with a solid three up, three down inning.
Dylan Cozens crushed a solo home run on a two-out 2-2 pitch in the 5th before the Brewers broke it open in the 6th inning, producing five runs on two outs. Omar Narvaez was on first with two outs on the inning when Tyrone Taylor walked. Next, Jace Peterson tripled to clear the bases. Billy McKinney followed with a two-run home run. Freddy Zamora popped out to end the inning with the Brewers up 8-0.
One swing. Three runs.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 12, 2021
Jace Peterson cleared the bases with a three-run triple off Craig Kimbrel in the 6th.
Brewers lead 8-1 going into the final frame. pic.twitter.com/U4rNHrV0tP
Phil Bickford and Thomas Jankins ran into a bit of trouble closing out the planned seven-inning game. In the sixth, Bickford allowed a couple of extra-base hits, including a double to familiar face Eric Sogard and a triple to Alfonso Rivas that drove in Sogard before Miguel Amaya flew out to end the inning.
Jankins continued the struggle in the seventh, walking two and allowing two hits and two runs before Craig Counsell made a mound visit, accompanied by a member of the training staff, presumably to explore a medical issue the coaching staff must have noticed from the dugout.
Quinten Torres-Costa struck out Alonso Rivas to end the game with the Brewers leading 8-3. This was an impressive feat, considering Torres-Costa inherited Jankins’ 3-1 count with the bases loaded.
The Cactus League Action continues tomorrow at 2:10 CT as the Brewers take on the Texas Rangers at American Family Fields of Phoenix.