Within any given baseball game, one may have the opportunity to see something they’ve never experienced before. Against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, fans and players for the Milwaukee Brewers got to watch starting pitcher Corbin Burnes accomplish something that has only happened two other times in the history of Major League Baseball.
Corbin looked strong from the start, allowing a leadoff hit in the first inning but inducing a double play on the way to a three-batter inning. He began truly asserting his dominance in the second inning, striking out the side on just 10 pitches. It was a similar story in the third inning — 11 pitches, 9 strikes, three punchouts. Burnes was less economical in the fourth, requiring 15 pitches, but again he struck out the side in order. That made for nine consecutive strikeouts. In the top of the 5th, Frank Schwindel strolled to the plate to lead off. He saw three pitches, a curveball and two sliders, and swung-and-missed at all three.
That made 10 consecutive strikeouts for Corbin Burnes. Only Aaron Nola and Tom Seaver had previously accomplished the feat.
A first-pitch single by the next batter Matt Duffy ended the string of consecutive K’s, but Burnes continued to cruise along. He’s punch out a pair in the fifth, two more in the sixth, and one in the seventh. The eighth inning was the only time the Cubs put together any kind of threat. Consecutive two-out singles, and a passed ball, put runners on second and third, but Burnes blew away pinch-hitter Sergio Alcantara on three straight cutters to end the frame. Despite throwing just 99 pitches, and having both a complete-game shutout and the franchise-record of 18 strikeouts within reach, Burnes was not sent back out for the ninth inning. His line ended with 8 innings pitched, four hits, zero walks, zero runs, and 15 strikeouts, while lowering his season-long ERA to 2.23.
The Brewers put up a big inning to start things, perhaps demoralizing the Cubs enough for them to not put out much effort against Burnes. In the top of the first, Kolten Wong started the game with a double. Christian Yelich followed with a single, scoring Wong. Willy Adames singled. Eduardo Escobar grounded out to first, moving both runners up. Omar Narvaez singled to right, driving home a pair. Tyrone Taylor singled, scoring Narvaez after he had reached second on an error. Rowdy Tellez singled, then Lorenzo Cain doubled to drive in two more. Corbin Burnes put the bat on the ball and grounded out, then Kolten Wong doubled AGAIN to score LoCain. Yelich grounded out to end the inning, during which 11 men came to the plate and seven runs scored. Talk about setting the tone early.
Milwaukee added another run in the fourth on a Narvaez sacrifice fly, then two in the ninth when Narvaez popped his 11th dinger of the season. He led the way with 4 RBI for the Brewers in this game. Hoby Milner tossed a scoreless ninth to finish off the shutout, and the Cream City Nine wrapped up their 69th victory of the season. It was a very Nice game indeed.
The series finale between the Brewers on Cubs will begin at 1:20 PM central on Thursday, and it should be another good pitching slate — Brandon Woodruff versus Kyle Hendricks.