Rizzo robbed of game-tying homer as Cubs fall to Brewers


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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was robbed of the game-tying home run in the top of the ninth.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was robbed of the game-tying home run in the top of the ninth.

MILWAUKEE -- In Wednesday night’s rubber match against the Chicago Cubs (89-50), the Milwaukee Brewers (62-77) only collected five total hits, but two of them, by shortstop Jonathan Villar, provided the Brewers with just enough cushion to eke out a 2-1 victory.

Villar entered the game with a modest 13 home runs on the season, but he departed Miller Park tonight boasting 15 of them. With two solo home runs over the wall in center field, including what proved to be the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth, Villar essentially won the series finale against the Cubs by himself.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo gave it his best shot at replicating Villar’s performance, coming within inches of having a two-homer game, too. Rizzo, who finished 2-4 on the evening, went yard in the top of the sixth for his 29th long ball of the season. Tying the game up at one run apiece, Rizzo’s shot to right reciprocated Villar’s round-tripper in the bottom of the fourth that put the Brewers on the board.

Not long after Villar’s critical eighth-inning home run, Rizzo was robbed of a game-tying homer to center field, when Brewers center field Keon Broxton made a perfectly-timed leaping catch at the wall in the top of the ninth to essentially salvage the win for the Brewers.

Thanks to some small ball success, the Cubs found themselves in a propitious bases-loaded situation during the top of the first. With only one out, the Cubs had Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (formerly of the Cubs) reeling, but two consecutive groundouts prevented the Cubs’ scoring threat from culminating in runs. Aside from that, Rizzo was offered practically the only offensive firepower for the Cubs, as the North Siders only amassed three hits.

Other than the opening inning, Garza pitched very well on the night, only allowing three hits and the one run from the Rizzo homer. Mike Montgomery, who was just recently elevated to starting pitcher status, started the game for the Cubs and went tit for tat with Garza, striking out six and only giving up two hits and one run.

Cubs relief pitcher Joe Smith, who was victimized by Villar in the eighth, took the loss and is now 1-1 with the Cubs this season. Brewers reliever Corey Knebel earned the win, moving him to 1-2 overall. Tyler Thornburg, who went three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth, accrued the save for the Brewers, his ninth of 2016.

Due to Villar’s first career multi-home run game, the Cubs fell to the Brew Crew 2-1 tonight and missed out on the opportunity to reach the 90-win mark in consecutive seasons for the first time since the franchise did it from 1928 to 1930. The Cubs will look to reach that milestone in their upcoming three-game road series against former divisional foes, the Houston Astros (74-65).



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