Brewers Lose Sixth Straight, Cardinals Take over First Place
By Bill Berg
Sep 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena (24) hits a home run in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
The Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals were only tied atop the National League Central division for one day as the Brewers offense was once again stifled on route to a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, while the Cardinals beat the Pirates 5-4 just a few minutes later. The Brewers had been in first place since April 5th.
Today’s game featured Jimmy Nelson (2-6, 4.14 ERA) against Jacob Turner (5-8, 5.54 ERA). Nelson was looking for a bounce back start after failing to go six innings in his last two starts. Turner was looking to show some of the promise that made him the centerpiece of the Anibal Sanchez deal between the Tigers and Marlins two seasons ago.
Nelson was better today, and went six innings, but he gave up nine hits and three runs. He only walked one batter and struck out four. It was a quality start for Nelson, but the Brewers struggling offense couldn’t pick him up.
Turner went 6 1/3 innings and allowed just five hits and one run, making this one of his best starts of the season between both Miami and Chicago.
The Cubs opened the scoring with one out in the second inning. Jorge Soler doubled to the opposite field on a high slider and came around to score on a broken-bat single by Welington Castillo.
The Cubs added on in the fourth when Castillo belted a two-out home run with Starlin Castro on base to make it 3-0 Chicago.
The Brewers answered back in the top of the seventh inning when Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra hit back-to-back home runs to cut the lead to one run. Davis homered off Turner and chased him from the game. Parra homered on the first pitch from reliever Blake Parker.
The Cubs added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Luis Valbuena hit his 16th home run of the season, this time off reliever Jeremy Jeffress. Four runs was more than enough from Chicago as the Brewer offense couldn’t muster a rally for the comeback.
The top and bottom of the order continues to be a problem for the Brewers. Scooter Gennett, Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun combined to go 2-for-11 with four strike outs and a walk in the game at the top, and Mark Reynolds, Jean Segura and the pitcher’s spot (Nelson, Lyle Overbay) went 0-for-9.
Only the middle of the order, Aramis Ramirez, Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra produced today, going 5-for-12 with two runs scored and two RBI. Parra had three hits filling in for Carlos Gomez who is nursing a wrist injury.
The series continues tomorrow when Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 3.26 ERA) takes on Jake Arrieta (7-5 2.88 ERA).