In what has been a wacky season so far for the Chicago Cubs (34-18), Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers (25-27) may just have been the wackiest. The Cubs fell behind big but came storming back in the 9th as Ian Happ picked up the victory in a 13-10 win at Miller Park, via MLB The Show 20.
Christian Yelich got the Brewers on the board against Yu Darvish, who didn’t have his best day. Yelich hit a two-run homer in the 1st inning to put Milwaukee ahead, then hit his second home run of the day off Darvish in the 3rd inning for a 4-0 lead. That is all Darvish would allow, but he’d only make it through five innings of work, giving up four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Freddy Peralta started for Milwaukee and could only go four innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and four walks, notching six strikeouts. The Cubs got their runs off Peralta via a Victor Caratini RBI single and sacrifice fly. The latter made the score 4-2, where it would stay heading into the 6th inning.
The Brewers jumped all over the Cubs bullpen, scoring two runs off Dillon Maples and then four runs off a combination of Rowan Wick and Jeremy Jeffress, giving them a 10-2 lead. Jeffress was unable to record any outs in the 8th after Wick got the first two, and Cubs manager David Ross had seen enough. He pulled Jeffress and went to Happ on the mound in the blowout, having burned through his bullpen in the last 10 days.
Happ was able to finish off the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Ben Gamel, sending the game to the 9th inning. And that is where things got truly crazy. Kris Bryant started the inning with a single, followed by a double by Nico Hoerner to make the score 10-3. Anthony Rizzo hit another single, sending Hoerner to third, and Happ hit a three-run homer to bring the Cubs to within 10-6. Brewers manager Craig Counsell went to left-hander Alex Claudio out of the ‘pen, but it only got worse for Milwaukee.
Kyle Schwarber laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a hit and Caratini clubbed a home run to left field that brought the score to 10-8. After Claudio got Steven Souza Jr. to ground out for the first out of the inning, Counsell went to his closer, Josh Hader. David Bote greeted Hader with a double into the gap in left-center, then a pinch-hit single by Albert Almora Jr. sent Bote to third.
Next up was Kris Bryant, who represented the go-ahead run. Bryant didn’t wait long, jumping all over the first slider he saw from Hader and sending it into the seats in left for a three-run homer and a miraculous 11-10 lead. That ended Hader’s outing, with an exasperated Counsell bringing in Corey Knebel to try to stop the bleeding. Knebel promptly gave up a single to Hoerner and then a two-run homer to Rizzo, capping the scoring at 11 runs in the inning and a 13-10 lead.
Craig Kimbrel came into the game for the bottom of the 9th and did allow two hits, but he worked around them and closed out the unexpected Cubs victory for his 20th save of the season.
Notes: Ross told the media after the game that major changes were coming in the Cubs’ shaky bullpen. Wick and Maples were sent to Triple-A Iowa, with right-handers Dan Winkler and Adbert Alzolay recalled. Winkler had thrown 17 1/3 innings since being sent down by the Cubs earlier in the season, striking out 22 batters with only four walks and a 3.12 ERA. Alzolay had thrown 46 2/3 innings as a starter, striking out 62 with a 1.74 ERA.
Rizzo – 4-for-4, 2 BB, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
Bryant – 2-for-2, HR, 3 RBI
Caratini – 2-for-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
Happ – 2-for-6, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 0.1 IP, K
Yelich – 4-for-5, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Cain – 2-for-4, BB, 3 R
Narváez – 1-for-5, HR, RBI
Winning Pitcher – Happ (1-0)
Losing Pitcher – Hader (0-1)
Save – Kimbrel (20)
Home Runs – Bryant (17), Happ (13), Rizzo (12), Caratini (5), Yelich 2 (18), Narváez (8)