Sep 26, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay (24) argues with home plate umpire Scott Barry after being called out on strikes in the fifth inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Cubs got three hits from Javier Baez and two hits and three runs from Chris Coghlan as they took an early lead and hung on for a 6-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night before a crowd of 39,888 at Miller Park.
In what has become an increasingly annoying theme recently–and to a lesser extent all season–the Brewers left eleven runners on base, going 4-for-23 with men on base (.174) and 2-for-17 in RISP situations (.118). Interestingly enough, the Brewers have left the fourth fewest runners on base per game this season, according to Team Rankings.com.
The Brewers (81-78) and Cubs (71-88) came into the last weekend in a place where they had hoped they would not be: playing out the season with nothing more than the off-season looming in the near future.
Lefthander Eric Jokisch (0-0, 1.74 ERA) was making his first major league start in his fourth career appearance for the Cubs, while Jimmy Nelson (2-8, 4.57 ERA) was toeing the rubber in his 12th start of the campaign. Matt Garza was slated to take the mound for Milwaukee but was scratched due to shoulder stiffness.
Coghlan wasted no time, golfing the second pitch from Nelson over the fence in right-center field for his ninth homer of the year to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Baez lined a single to left for the second straight safety off the baby-faced Nelson. Baez then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler both struck out before Nelson’s second errant pitch of the frame allowed Baez to move up to third. Luis Valbuena drew a walk to put runners at the corners but Arismendy Alcantara popped up to end the inning and minimize the damage.
The Brewers had two runners on via walks in the bottom of the first but were unable to score.
The home team did not fail in the second, as Jean Segura smashed a two-out blast to left-center to tie the contest at one. The home run was Segura’s fifth of the year, and first since June 20, when he hit two at Colorado.
Coghlan led off the top of the third with a grounder past first baseman Jason Rogers for a two-base hit and scored when Baez sent a splintered bat looper to left.
Baez stole second and moved to third on a ground out and then scored on Soler’s broken-bat roller to short to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.
Ryan Braun skied to left, but Gomez held at third as the throw was wide up the first base line.
Gomez scored to make it 3-2 when Valbuena could not field Jonathan Lucroy‘s slow roller to third. After a few minutes, the official scorer gave ‘Luc’ a hit on the play. Lucroy then moved to third on Khris Davis‘ double down the right field line.
Rogers flied to center to end the inning.
After further review, Lucroy lost his infield single in the third as it was scored as an ‘E5.’
Milwaukee had runners on again in the fourth with a Hector Gomez walk and a Segura single. Nelson dropped down a bunt in front of the plate, but catcher Rafael Lopez gunned down the lead runner at third.
Segura stole third for his 19th of the year but was stranded as Carlos Gomez struck out and Weeks grounded to short.
Logan Watkins pinch-hit for Jokisch to lead off the fifth and lined a double over the head of Gomez in deep left-center. Baez grounded a ball past Segura and after making a move back to second, Watkins scored as the throw from Gomez was up the line as Baez took second on the play.
Marco Estrada came in for Nelson at this point.
Rizzo greeted the new pitcher rudely by smashing a double over Braun’s head for an RBI double to make it 5-2 in favor of the Cubs.
Dan Straily came in to pitch for Chicago in the bottom of the fifth and allowed a Braun double to the wall in left-center.
After two outs, Lyle Overbay pinch-hit for Rogers and was tagged out by Lopez at home on a ball that bounced up after hitting the plate. Manager Ron Roenicke came out to argue, but we all know how that usually ends.
Justin Grimm came on for the Cubs in the bottom of the sixth.
Hector Gomez led off with a double down the third base line, but Segura and pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett both struck out before Carlos Gomez grounded past Valbuena, scoring Hector Gomez to cut the lead to 5-3.
Weeks was hit on the left elbow to put runners at first and second and then Braun was hit on the right forearm to load the sacks, although it took a replay challenge to confirm. Lucroy ended the inning with his forceout at third.
Tom Gorzelanny came in for Milwaukee in the top of the seventh.
Coghlan was hit on the right elbow and one out later Rizzo walked. Soler hit a flare over the head of Weeks to score Coghlan and move Rizzo to third to make the score 6-3.
Valbuena walked to load the bases and end Gorzelanny’s night.
Brandon Kintzler became the Brewers fourth hurler of the evening and made quick work of the Cubs with a line out double play off the bat of Alcantara.
Neil Ramirez entered the game in the bottom of the seventh for Chicago on the mound and retired the side in order.
Kintzler repeated the feat in the top of the eighth.
Pedro Strop came on for Chicago in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a double to Segura. One out later, Carlos Gomez hit a grounder to third, but Valbuena held the ball as Segura coasted into third. Speculation on the TV broadcast was that first baseman Rizzo collided with the umpire, but visual confirmation was not available. Cubs manager Rick Renteria came out to argue and got tossed for his troubles.
Weeks knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice to make it 6-4 before Braun struck out to end the inning.
Later, it was explained that a balk was called and Rizzo did not move to take the throw at first.
Zach Duke came on to face Chicago in the top of the ninth and allowed a walk with no harm done.
Hector Rondon came out to attempt to close the game out for the Cubs and recorded his 28th save by retiring the side in order.
Nelson dropped to 2-9 with the loss while Ramirez improved to 3-3 with the win.
The Cubs send out Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3, 3.22 ERA) to face Wily Peralta (16-11, 3.62 ERA) Saturday evening in the penultimate game of the season for both teams as the Brewers attempt to secure their 82nd win for a winning season.