This win certainly didn’t come easy, but, as you’d expect, the Brewers found a way to pull this one out.
The Brewers defeated the Cubs today, 3-2, and completed a three-game sweep of them at Miller Park. It appeared that the Cubs were going to go easily from the start, as Zack Greinke didn’t even give up his first hit until the fifth inning. But, it turned out that the Brewers would have to get around some late drama to win this one.
But, before I get into any of that, let me say that Greinke had a great start, and definitely rebounded from his awful start in Pittsburgh his last time out. Greinke went 7 2/3 innings while giving up a run on four hits. He walked two and struck out seven. The 7 2/3 innings also tied Greinke’s longest start of the year.
Ryan Braun hit a RBI double in the first inning to get the Brewers on the board first (how many times have I said that over the past week?), which followed a Corey Hart single. That would be it until the fifth inning, when Hart stayed hot and hit a two-run home run to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
But, things got interesting in the eighth inning. Greinke gave up a one-out double to Blake DeWitt, and after retiring one more batter, Ron Roenicke pulled him in favor of Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod came in and promptly gave up a RBI double to Darwin Barney to cut the Cubs’ deficit to 3-1, but he retired Aramis Ramirez to get out of the inning.
John Axford came on to close it out in the ninth, but made it a shaky save. Carlos Pena nearly hit a homer leading off the inning, but it lost carry at the warning track. Then, Tyler Colvin didn’t miss his homer and took Axford deep to cut the deficit to 3-2. Axford then lost his command for a batter and walked Marlon Byrd, and the next batter, Alfonso Soriano, practically hit a go-ahead two-run homer that, like Pena’s, died down at the warning track.
But it didn’t stop there. With two outs and Byrd still on first, Casey McGehee made an error at third base that I thought for sure was going to blow the Brewers the game. But, Geovany Soto grounded out to end the game. (McGehee actually bobbled that ball too, but still made the out.)
Anyway, now that I’m done talking about how shaky Axford’s save was, let me give some positives about- it was his 40th save of the year. He now becomes the second closer in Brewers history to notch 40 saves, the first being Francisco Cordero (44 saves in 2007). It was also Axford’s 37th consecutive save, which continues to add on to a franchise record.
McGehee’s defense in the ninth inning today was just awful, as I mentioned earlier. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taylor Green get his first Major League start the day after tomorrow just because of McGehee’s performance in the ninth. I don’t know if Green is as good defensively as he is offensively, but I don’t think anyone could be as bad as McGehee was in the ninth today.
The Brewers have an off-day tomorrow, but, after that, they’ll face the Cardinals, who they currently have a 10.5 over in the NL Central. So, with a few wins in this series, the Brewers can pretty much knock them out. Here are the probables for the series:
Edwin Jackson (10-9, 3.95 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (11-4, 3.38 ERA)
??? vs. Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37 ERA)
??? vs. Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37 ERA)
MLB has yet to announced the starters for the last two games of the series, but I do know that the Brewers won’t have to face Jaime Garcia or Chris Carpenter, the best pitchers in the Cardinals’ rotation. So I guess that means that we’ll be facing Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, but I don’t know in which order.