Cubs waste Baez's heroics, lose heartbreaker

by - Senior Writer -
Baez's fourth career triple was the play of the evening. (Photo Credit: Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)
Baez's fourth career triple was the play of the evening. (Photo Credit: Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)

MILWAUKEE — Continuing the trend of the Cubs' fairly frustrating 3-4 start to the 2018 season, the North Siders lost yet another grueling game in a sickening fashion, with the divisional foe Milwaukee Brewers earning a walk-off victory at home on Friday night. Winning 5-4 in a game that featured an essentially wasted instance of exemplary base-running from Cubs infielder Javier Baez, the Brewers earned the "W" by way of shortstop Orlando Arcia's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. Outhitting the Cubs 12-7, the Brew Crew was simply the better team when it mattered most on the evening.

Despite the absence of slugger Anthony Rizzo, who missed the contest due to back tightness, the Cubs hit their stride early on the offensive end, tacking on two runs in the opening inning off of Brewers hurler Brandon Woodruff. Producing a two-out rally, Chicago used a walk and three consecutive singles, including RBI one-baggers from shortstop Addison Russell and Victor Caratini, who filled in for Rizzo at first base, to go up 2-0 on Milwaukee.

Chicago proceeded to cool off at the plate thereafter, only producing one additional hit between the second and fifth innings. Woodruff settled down and finished with a four-hit, three-strikeout stat line in 3.2 innings of work. His foe on the hill, righty Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs, was dominant through the first four innings before suffering a disastrous fifth-inning meltdown.

Giving up a pair of two-run homers to notable Cub killer Eric Thames and Luke Shaw, Hendricks allowed the Cubs' 2-0 lead to become a 4-2 deficit in the blink of an eye. Chicago evened the score in the following half inning, however, thanks in large part to an incredible display of speed on behalf of second baseman Javier Baez on a triple that turned into a score because of a Milwaukee error.

Coming through with another two-out surge in the sixth, the Cubs chased reliever Josh Hader from the game after he balked to put Cubs pinch hitter Ian Happ on second. Thereafter, with Jeremy Jeffress then on the mound for the Brewers, Baez drilled a triple to right, which brought home Happ. Baez scored on the play following an egregious throwing error from Brewers second baseman Eric Sogard. Sogard's throw actually hit Baez in the helmet, knocking it off completely, but Baez came in to score, unscathed.

Hendricks, meanwhile, had his start ended after the fifth inning, opening the door for the Cubs' bullpen to make a mark. Chicago reliever Justin Wilson, who is assuredly aiming to earn his keep after a fairly subpar 2017 experience in the Windy City, nearly enabled Milwaukee to retake the lead in the seventh. But, after walking three straight batters to load the bases with two outs, Wilson manned down and struck out Lorenzo Cain to end the scoring threat.

The Cubs were not as lucky in the ninth, though, as reliever Mike Montgomery received the loss by giving up the game-ending hit, Arcia's lone hit of the matchup. Following a one-out walk, Montgomery allowed an infield single that was made worse for the Cubs due to an errant throw from third baseman Kris Bryant that placed runners on the corners. Soon after, Arcia knocked in Brewers catcher Manny Pina to give Milwaukee a hard-fought 5-4 win in the second game of the four-game series with the Cubs. Montgomery earned the loss to fall to 0-1 on the young season, while the Cubs dropped to below .500 overall.

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
Apr 6, 2018 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (3-4) 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 7 2
Milwaukee (5-3) 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 5 12 1
W: Matt Albers (1-0) L: Mike Montgomery (0-1)

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