Brewers hit three home runs in rout of Cubs
|Saturday, July 23, 2016, 10:44 PM- -|
MILWAUKEE -- Entering Saturday night’s clash at Miller Park with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago Cubs’ starting pitchers were first in the Major Leagues with a 2.98 ERA. However, Cubs right-hander John Lackey, who has struggled early in games as of late, did not exemplify that impressive statistic with his performance in tonight’s game. Lackey gave up two costly home runs, and the Cubs (58-38) fell to the Brewers (41-54) by a final score of 6-1.
The Brewers struck first, as catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run homer in the bottom half of the first that scored left fielder Ryan Braun and provided the Brew Crew with a 2-0 lead. The home run, Lucroy’s only hit of the night, was the All-Star backstop’s 13th long ball of the season.
Lackey escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third after striking out Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter, who was hitless in the game, with two outs. An inning that featured an error by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, as well as a double steal, saw the Brewers come away empty-handed.
Brewers center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the star of the game, took Lackey deep in the first at-bat of the bottom of the fourth to put Milwaukee up 3-0. Nieuwenhuis was an outstanding 3-3 with four RBI and two runs scored on Saturday.
Lackey was pulled from the game after six innings. Only giving up five hits and walking only two batters, Lackey’s outing perfectly epitomized how several of his recent starts have gone, with little run support and too many big hits from the opposition contributing heavily to his troubles. Earning the loss for Saturday’s matchup, Lackey dropped to 7-7 overall, and he currently sports a 3.79 ERA.
Cubs left fielder Ben Zobrist, who garnered two hits on the evening, led off the top of the seventh with a single to the outfield, and, later in the inning, Chicago shortstop Addison Russell drove Zobrist home with a single of his own. Bringing the Cubs to within two runs of the Brewers, Russell’s RBI single proved to be the last offensive excitement that the Cubs would produce in the game.
Nieuwenhuis trumped his home run from earlier in the game with a three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth. Coming off of Cubs newcomer Mike Montgomery, Nieuwenhuis’ second moonshot of the game increased the Brewers’ lead to 6-1 and virtually assured Milwaukee of a victory. Montgomery, a reliever recently acquired from the Seattle Mariners, is definitely not off to a promising start as with his new squad, as Nieuwenhuis was the very first batter whom he faced as a member of the Cubs.
All six of the Brewers’ runs came via the home run in their 6-1 victory over the Cubs, making for an assuredly frustrating night for Chicago’s pitchers. Milwaukee only collected two more hits than Chicago on Saturday, but the Brewers came up far larger than the Cubs in the power-hitting department. Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies earned the win for his efforts, moving to 7-4 overall. With each team winning one of the two games played thus far in the three-game series, tomorrow afternoon’s affair will serve as a rubber match. Jon Lester will take the hill for the Cubs and battle Junior Guerra of the Brewers.