Bullpen shines as Brewers edge Cubs

11:38p A few quick trade rumors surrounding the Brewers: they’ve discussed trades for Clint Barmes (Astros), Coco Crisp (Athletics), and Jerry Hairston Jr. (Nationals). Of those three, I’d say I like Crisp the best.

10:08p That had to be the most stellar performance I’ve seen the Brewers’ bullpen give in quite some time.

Cubs-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cubs today, 3-2, in what turned into a pitcher’s duel after the first inning. Chris Narveson ran into some trouble in the sixth inning, but the bullpen bailed him out instead of adding on to the Brewers’ Major League leading bullpen losses.

The Cubs struck quickly in the first, when Aramis Ramirez crushed a first-pitch fastball from Narveson over the fence for a two-run shot to give the Cubs an early 2-0 lead. But, the Brewers quickly answered in the bottom of the inning, as they solved Cubs starter Ryan Dempster for the first time in over two years. After Corey Hart hit a lead-off double, Ryan Braun hit a broken bat fly ball that dropped into right field for a double. Then, after a Prince Fielder single, Casey McGehee hit a two RBI triple to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. (Yes, McGehee, arguably the slowest man on the team, hit a triple.)

Anyway, it was a pitcher’s duel from there. Narveson and Dempster both settled down, but Narveson ran into trouble in the sixth, as the usual Narveson start goes. Geovany Soto led off with a single, and Marlon Byrd followed with a double. Thankfully, since Soto is painfully slow, he didn’t score and there were runners on second and third with no outs. Narveson would go on to walk Carlos Pena to load the bases, still no outs.

Then, who does Ron Roenicke bring in?

Sure enough, Kameron Loe.

You’d think Roenicke had learned his lesson by now about not bringing Loe into one-run games, but this time, Loe actually did his job. With the bases loaded and no outs, Alfonso Soriano grounded out to McGehee, who got a force out at home. Then, Loe induced an inning-ending double play to cap off an inning in which it was a miracle that the Cubs couldn’t even muster a run.

Anyway, Narveson went just five innings, but took the win, nonetheless. He gave up two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three.

Dempster’s night ended after six innings, as he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out seven.

From there, the Brewers bullpen did their part. After Loe got out of that huge jam, LaTroy Hawkins threw a scoreless seventh inning. Then, in the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez made Cubs hitters look like complete fools (that’s just how elite he is). John Axford worked around a Rickie Weeks error in the ninth to seal the win, giving him his 28th save of the year. It also extended his save streak to 25, which ties a franchise record.

Brewers finally solve Dempster

Coming into today, Dempster was 15-3 with a 2.50 ERA against the Brewers in his career. He was also 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA against them since 2008, and owns the most wins against the Brewers among active pitchers. But, three runs was all the Brewers needed to get past him today, as the Cubs couldn’t offer any support.

And, here’s another strange fact: In his previous 33 innings against the Brewers, he had given up just three runs against them. But, he gave up three runs in just one inning today.

K-Rod makes Miller Park debut

Rodriguez made his debut at Miller Park today (the Brewers haven’t had a home game since acquiring him), and he was greeted by a standing ovation as he came on the field. He responded to it well, as he made the Cubs look foolish at the plate, as I said earlier. He struck out two in a perfect eighth inning.

Gomez enthusiastic about returning this year

Carlos Gomez had successful surgery today on his left clavicle that he fractured last week in Arizona and is optimistic about still returning this year. His timetable says that he should be able to return in about six weeks if he doesn’t encounter any setbacks leading up to that point. Gomez injured the clavicle while making a highlight reel catch against the Diamondbacks to save a run.

Anyway, here’s a quick update on the rest of our players on the DL: Brandon Kintzler and Mitch Stetter are both to undergo surgery, and Manny Parra probably won’t pitch at all this season due to his many setbacks.

Next up for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of this series with Chicago tomorrow. Zack Greinke will go for the Brewers, and he is coming off a solid start against the D-backs, even though he took the loss. Greinke has had one career start against the Cubs, and that was earlier this year. He got shelled for eight runs (six earned), but struck out 10. I should also mention he had awful defense behind him that day.

Carlos Zambrano will go for the Cubs, who, like Dempster, is known as a Brewer-killer. In his career, Zambrano is 13-9 with a 3.85 ERA against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Pirates are currently in extra innings with the Braves, tied 3-3. If the Pirates lose, the Brewers will move ahead of them in the standings.
  • The Reds lost to the Mets, 8-6. They are five games out.
  • The Cardinals beat the Astros, 3-1. They are in first place and 22 games out, respectively.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago Cubs 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 1
Milwaukee Brewers 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 3 8 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 .262
Nyjer Morgan, CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .320
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 3 1 0 0 0 .326
Prince Fielder, 1B 3 1 1 0 1 1 1 .287
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 3 4 .270
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 1 2 1 1 2 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .253
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .280
Chris Narveson, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .162
a-Craig Counsell, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .159
Total 31 3 8 3 2 11 12

a-Struck out for Hawkins in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Hart (13), Braun (23).

3B: McGehee (1).

RBI: Braun (69), McGehee 2 (40).

Team RISP: 3-for-9.

Team LOB: 6.

FIELDING

DP: (McGehee-Weeks-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewer

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chris Narveson (W, 7-6) 5.0 8 2 2 1 3 1 4.41
Kameron Loe (H, 15) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 14) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.08
Francisco Rodriguez (H, 3) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3.21
John Axford (S, 28) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.66

Narveson pitched to 3 batters in the 6th.

Pitches-strikes: Narveson 87-57, Loe 6-4, Hawkins 16-12, Rodriguez 11-8, Axford 19-13.

Groundouts-flyouts: Narveson 5-4, Loe 2-0, Hawkins 1-1, Rodriguez 0-1, Axford 1-0.

Batters faced: Narveson 24, Loe 2, Hawkins 4, Rodriguez 3, Axford 4.

Inherited runners-scored: Loe 3-0.

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