It was mostly bad for the Cubs in Milwaukee this week. The Cubs dropped 2 of 3 to the Brewers and now trail the 1st place Cincinnati Reds by 7.5 games in the NL Central race.
The Cubs defeated the Brewers 9-4 on Wednesday night for their only win of the series. Carlos Zambrano struggled through 5 innings but picked up his 2nd win of the season. He gave up 3 ER on 2 hits and 5 walks. He almost imploded in the 4th inning when he issued a walk on a call that he thought was a strike that the home plate umpire called a ball. He promptly walked the next batter and served up a 2-run double to the Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf that tied the game at 3. Miraculously, Big Z actually got out of the jam and pitched a scoreless 5th inning to become eligible for the win.
The Cubs bats broke out against Wolf with 9 runs and 12 hits, including 5 home runs. Marlon Byrd hit 2 home runs and drove in 3 runs. Geovany Soto also had 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s. Derrek Lee struck a 2-run shot as well. Jeff Baker had 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.
The celebration didn’t last long, as the Cubs looked out of sorts in a 5-4 10-inning loss to the Brewers on Thursday afternoon. Ryan Dempster pitched his shortest outing of the season – 5 1/3 innings pitched, 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks. Not one of his better showings. The defense didn’t help the Cubs pitchers at all. 3 of the Brewers 5 runs were unearned. Leading 4-3 with 2 outs in the 5th inning, Starling Castro committed his 8th error in 31 games allowing Jim Edmonds to reach 2nd base when his throw bounced into the Brewers dugout (would Derrek Lee have caught the low throw – probably?). Xavier Nady is no Derrek Lee. Edmonds would eventually come around to score when Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Stevens proceeded to walk the next 3 batters. The winning run also scored on an error. Bob Howry walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the 10th inning. Gomez stole 2nd base as Craig Counsell executed a sacrifice bunt. When Gomez raced to 3rd base, Nady attempted to throw out Gomez at 3rd base, but he made a poor throw that skipped into the stands, and just like that the Brewers had won 5-4. The Brewers 3rd run was also unearned – set up by a Chad Tracy error.
The bats were pretty quiet after the 5 home runs clubbed in Wednesday night’s win. Nady did hit a 2-run home run that gave the Cubs a brief 4-3 lead.
Next up – the crosstown classic against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. Jake Peavy v. Randy Wells could get pretty ugly in a hurry with the way both pitchers have fared of late.