When the Brewers and Cubs meet on the 4th of July weekend, there are guaranteed to be fireworks. Two years ago, the Brewers rallied from a 7-0 deficit, scoring 15 unanswered runs to defeat the Cubs 15-7. In 2022, Victor Caratini hit a three-run, walk-off home run in extra innings on our nation's birthday to beat the Cubs 5-2.
In 2023, a day before Independence Day, the Brewers mounted their biggest comeback since that seven-run come-from-behind victory in 2021, this time defeating the Cubs 8-6. It was a come-from-behind victory that saw heroics from Brewers who were a part of the last two Fourth of July Weekend victories, and some who hadn’t been a part of the big-league club for more than 24 hours.
For every comeback win, there is a big inning or two that goes against the eventual victor’s favor. Today, it was the second and third innings. With the usually sharp Julio Teheran on the mound, the Cubs were the ones who brought the energy to American Family Field. Dansby Swanson started the second off with a double, and Cody Bellinger drove him in right away with a single. Christopher Morel quickly made it 2-0 with a double of his own, and Tucker Barnhart bumped in a run with a single off Owen Miller’s glove, extending the lead to 3-0.
The third inning looked a lot like the second for the Cubs. Just as they had done in the second, Dansby Swanson and Christopher Morel got on to create the threat. With two outs, it looked as though the Brewers could escape the jam, but Nick Madrigal doubled down the left-field line to extend the lead to 5-0. One batter later, it was 6-0 Cubs on another Barnhart single, driving in Madrigal.
Facing a major deficit head-on, the Brewers started chipping away in the bottom of the third. Brice Turang walked and then scored on a double from William Contreras. Christian Yelich then went a base further, tripling down the right-field line to cut the deficit to 6-2. Willy Adames kept the ball rolling, driving in Yelich with a single of his own. A half inning after going down 6-0, the Brewers had cut their deficit to three runs.
The Brewers had another great chance to further cut the lead down in the bottom of the fourth but were unable to do so. They had two men in scoring position with no outs but were unable to get a run across. Following the busy day at the plate to start the game, both sides went cold for a few innings, keeping it a 6-3 Cubs lead until the seventh.
It was fireworks again at the bottom of the seventh. With Julian Merryweather on the mound for the Cubs, Yelich got on with a single following a Contreras flyout. The Brewers then found themselves with two outs when Adames flew out, but with Miller at the plate, Merryweather lost the strike zone. He walked Miller on four pitches and proceeded to walk Raimel Tapia on four pitches to load the bases. New Brewer Jahmai Jones then made his first at-bat count, doubling to center off new pitcher Anthony Kay to clear the bases on the first pitch he saw, tying the game 6-6.
Following the double from Jones, Joey Wiemer drew a four-pitch walk of his own. Kay’s day would end after hitting Victor Caratini with the first pitch of his at-bat. Brice Turang then struck out looking to Mark Leiter Jr. to end the inning with the score still tied at six.
In the eighth, the Brewers broke through again. Back-to-back singles from Yelich and Contreras allowed Adames to give the Brewers their first lead of the day on a single to right. One batter later, Miller flew out deep enough to drive in Yelich, giving the Brewers an 8-6 lead. More lights-out pitching from Devin Williams kept the score the same, securing the game one win for the Brewers.
Milwaukee now has a 1⁄2 game lead over the Reds in the NL Central, pending the Reds result Monday night. The Brewers continue their four-game set with the Cubs on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m. with Wade Miley starting opposite Kyle Hendricks.