Cubs squander seven-run lead, get swept by Brewers
|Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 7:20 PM- -|
MILWAUKEE — In a day that will live in infamy throughout the annals of Chicago Cubs (42-39) lore, the Lovable Losers let a seven-run lead slip away against the Milwaukee Brewers (48-33) and ultimately lost fairly handily. For the first time in MLB's modern era, the Cubs lost by seven or more runs after leading by seven or more runs earlier in the game, with the Brew Crew coming away with a 15-7 victory at American Family Field. The Brewers outscored the Cubs 31-12 in the three-game set and earned a series sweep.
Making matters more frustrating for the Cubs was the fact that all seven of their runs came in the first inning. With the second-highest single-inning run total of the season for the North Siders, the Cubs jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Aaron Ashby made his big league debut on the mound for the Brewers, starting in place of Corbin Burnes, who received an extra day of rest. The Cubs' hitters had success against Ashby from the start, and the newcomer failed to make it through the opening frame.
Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom hit consecutive singles to begin the action, and Joc Pederson walked to load the bases. Javy Baez then smacked a two-run single, and Willy Adames let a ground ball hit to shortstop by Jake Marisnick roll under his glove, with Pederson scoring from third on the play. Adames was charged with a fielding error, but Marisnick was credited with an RBI. Ian Happ then lined out, and former Brewer Eric Sogard proceeded to record an RBI bunt single, which brought Baez home.
After Marisnick and Sogard pulled off a double steal, Marisnick scored on a wild pitch. Sogard was thrown out attempting to score on a grounder hit by Sergio Alcantara, but Jake Arrieta and Contreras were then walked in back-to-back plate appearances. Miguel Sanchez relieved Ashby at that point, and Wisdom hit a broken-bat single off him, driving in Alcantara and Arrieta. Pederson struck out after that, thus ending the lengthy half-inning, which featured seven runs scored on on five hits, three walks and one error.
Despite having a sizable lead to work with, Arrieta did not fare well on the afternoon. He forced in a run by walking Jace Peterson with the bases loaded in the first. The two-out walk plated Christian Yelich. Arrieta then escaped the jam by tallying a strikeout but was racked in the ensuing inning. A 427-foot two-run blast by Luis Urias soared out to left-center in the bottom of the second, scoring Sanchez.
With two away, Arrieta blew a chance to end the inning by making an errant throw that resulted in Wisdom getting knocked out of the game due to injury. Tyrone Taylor hit a dribbler that Arrieta fielded and threw to first. However, the throw was off the mark, causing Wisdom to collide with Taylor. The ball sailed past Wisdom, and Adames and Omar Narvaez scored because of the throwing error. After lying on the ground in pain, Wisdom was taken out with what was later described as a left eye contusion and right neck tightness. He was replaced at first base by Taylor Gushue, a catcher-by-trade who was just called up prior to the game.
Keegan Thompson relieved Arrieta following the aforementioned disastrous sequence of events. Later in the second, Keston Hiura hit an infield single, which Eric Sogard dived toward and knocked down at the hot corner, and Taylor scored as a result, pulling the Brewers within one run of the Cubs. In the fourth, Trevor Richards walked Baez with two outs and nobody on base. Baez scurried to second on a wild pitch, and Marisnick then drew a base on balls. Richards forced Happ to fly out, leaving both runners stranded.
Rex Brothers pitched a scoreless third but faltered his next time out. Peterson hit a go-ahead single off him, scoring Adames and Taylor to place the Brewers up 8-7. Tommy Nance then entered to pitch and, after hitting the first batter he faced, was taken for an RBI single, which scored Peterson, off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. With the bases loaded, Nance plunked Urias, thus forcing home Hiura, whom Nance beaned earlier in the frame. Not long after that, Adames provided his squad with a commanding 14-7 advantage by slugging a grand slam out to right-center, scoring Bradley, Richards and Urias.
The Brewers took control of the series opener via a 10-run inning and garnered all of the momentum in the series finale with an eight-run inning. Urias rounded out the scoring with a solo shot hit to center off Adam Morgan with two outs in the sixth. Brad Wieck tossed a scoreless seventh, but in the eighth, Sogard was called upon to pitch for the second time in the series. Although Urias doubled off him, Sogard prevented the Brewers from adding to their substantial run total, which was already larger than any previous run total given up by the Cubs this season.
With their 15-7 loss to the Brewers in the books, the Cubs have now lost six in a row, their longest losing streak of the year. Wednesday's collapse served as just the third instance since 1998 in which the Cubs lost after leading by at least seven runs during the course of the game. The Cubs went 11-17 in the month of June, and, with both teams having reached the midway point by playing 81 games, they trail the Brewers by six games in the National League Central.