After losing four in a row at home, the Cubs were looking for redemption against the Brewers, who capitalized on every Cubs mistake early. After falling behind 5-0 in the game, it seemed that the hangover would not end. But lo and behold, it did!
Brett Anderson took the mound for the Cubs and struggled in the 1st, giving up three runs on four hits. Eric Thames has been a nightmare for the Cubs in this series — and pretty much for every team so far — as his first inning double extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Ryan Braun followed with a single which led Thames to third. Next up was Travis Shaw, who doubled to score Thames and push Braun to third. Domingo Santana then grounded out to bring Braun and the scoring was capped by a Manny Pina double to score Shaw.
Just when we all started recovering from that debacle, the Brewers scored two more in the 3rd inning. Again, it was Thames who doubled to lead off the inning, Braun who singled, and Shaw who brought them home with a double. Just like that, the Cubs found themselves in a 5-0 hole. And with how quiet their offense has been lately, coming back would pretty much require a miracle from the baseball heavens.
Said miracle started slowly creeping in during the bottom of the 3rd, when the Cubs scored two after a Jon Jay single and a SchwarBOMB! At the end of three innings, the Cubs trailed the Brewers by three.
The Brewers, who just would not go away, got one of those runs right back in the top of the 4th inning on Orland Arcia’s first homer of the season. So, heading in to the bottom of the 4th innings, the Cubs trailed 6-2.
They made it a 6-4 ballgame shortly. Jason Heyward led off the Cubs’ 4th with a solid single to left. Next came Miguel Montero, who hit the ball in to the basket in right center for a two-run home run.
Yet again, the Brewers took one of those runs right back in the 5th on a Travis Shaw home run that made it 7-4. Shaw was red hot and ended up with three hits, three RBI, and two runs scored.
Justin Grimm set Orlando Arcia, Jimmy Nelson and Jonathan Villar down in order in the top of the 6th inning. But for the Cubs, the frame was a full-blown scoring party as Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson served up three consecutive hits. Montero came up with one out and the bases empty and hit a liner to center for a single. Javier Baez then hit a ball towards Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia that turned into a double.
The Cubs were in business and had their best scoring chance of the day when Joe Maddon decided to bring in pinch hitter Albert Almora. He ripped a single to left, scoring both Montero and Baez and making it a one-run game. Jon Jay was coming up for the Cubs, which led the Brewers to bring Jared Hughes in from their bullpen. Jay gave Hughes a hearty Wrigley welcome by scorching a triple down the right field line, scoring Almora and tying the game at seven. The Cubs took the lead on a wild pitch by Hughes that allowed Jay to score and put the Cubs up 8-7.
Carl Edwards Jr. worked over the toughest part of the Brewers lineup, setting Eric Thames, Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw down in order in the top of the 7th. Hector Rondon took over in the 8th and retired the first two men he faced before giving up a two-out walk to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. After a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio, Rondon struck out Arcia on three pitches to escape the 8th unscathed.
The Cubs however, did not go down quietly in their half of the 8th. Willson Contreras led off the inning with a single and scored three batters later on a double by Kris Bryant. At the end of eight, Cubs lead 9-7.
Cubs closer Wade Davis came in for the 9th and secured his third save in as many chances to split this series at one game a piece.
Stats that mattered:
- Miguel Montero, who has been playing in limited duty this season, picked up three more hits in four at-bats, including a two-run homer. Montero is 5 for his last 7 which is pretty darn impressive for a part-time guy.
- The Brewers 2, 3, and 4 hitters went a combined 8-for-13 with 3 RBI and 6 runs scored. Throughout this series, Eric Thames and Ryan Braun have been torturing the Cubs and adding Travis Shaw into the mix led to more of that. Luckily, the Cubs were able to outplay the Brewers and hold them off.
- Teamwork made the dream work as four different Cubs players contributed to the scoring in the 6th. Their timely hitting, which they have struggled with early this season, made them look like the team that won the World Series last season.
The Cubs finally seem like themselves again. From a 5-0 deficit to a 9-7 victory, the North Siders showed that they were down, but never out. Despite the early season struggles, it wasn’t time to press the panic button just yet. As we saw Tuesday night, once the Cubs get started, they can’t be stopped.
The Cubs will look to win the series as Kyle Hendricks takes on Tommy Milone Wednesday at 1:20 pm CT. You can catch the game on WGN and 670 The Score.