A pitcher’s duel through eight ends in a lopsided win for the visitors.
Today’s tilt between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers pitted the home team’s former ace during their World Series run — who has seemingly returned to form after re-signing with Chicago following three disappointing seasons in Philadelphia — against the visiting team’s current ace, right-handed stalwart and workhorse Brandon Woodruff. It looked like the Brewers were going to jump on the former star Arrieta early, as the first four batters he faced reached base, including a bases-loaded walk by Travis Shaw to force home the game’s first run. But Arrieta calmed down after that, inducing a pop out from Keston Hiura, a punchout of Billy McKinney, and a groundout from Jackie Bradley, Jr. to end the first frame and keep the score at 1-0.
That one run of support would be all Woodruff needed in this game. He started the contest by retiring the first nine batters he faced in a row, not allowing anyone to reach base until Ian Happ walked to start the fourth. David Bote followed with a single off a deflection of Travis Shaw, but a punchout of Anthony Rizzo and a strike-him-out-throw-him-out of Kris Bryant at the plate and Happ at third base got him out of the inning. Woodruff allowed one more walk to Nico Hoerner in the fifth then a single to Matt Duffy in the sixth, but his day ended with zero runs allowed across 6.0 complete innings with two hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
Arrieta settled in after his struggles at the outset of this game and mostly matched his counterpart inning for inning during his start. He retired fifteen batters in a row from first through the fifth, then after a walk to Omar Narvaez to begin the sixth and an error by Javier Baez allowing Avisail Garcia to reach, Arrieta struck out the next three batters in a row to finish up his day. He allowed the one earned run on two hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts of his own.
Alec Mills of the Cubs and Wisconsin’s own JP Feyereisen matched zeroes in the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth with Mills still on the mound, Narvaez led off with a single to left. Avi Garcia was the next batter, and he popped a ball up to the keystone. Noticing that Garcia did not run hard out of the box, second baseman Hoerner let the ball drop, fielded it and threw Garcia out at first base, then the Cubs caught Narvaez in a rundown to record the double play. Mills worked around another single, this by Shaw, to post a zero in the eighth. Devin Williams pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half and the score was 1-0 heading to the ninth.
Jason Adam entered for the North Side Nine in the top of the ninth and quickly allowed the game to unravel. McKinney doubled to start, then JBJ drew his first walk of the season. Daniel Robertson, attempting to bunt, was hit by a pitch in the helmet but stayed in the game and took first to load the bases. Luis Urias got the big hit, singling to center to score two and give the Brewers some breathing room at 3-0. Then recently-returned Kolten Wong doubled Robertson home to make it 4-0. Narvaez walked, and that would be all for Adam, who was lifted before recording an out. Dillon Maples entered and punched out Avi, but then plunked Shaw with the bases loaded to force home another run. Pinch-hitter Tyrone Taylor then drew a bases-loaded walk, bringing in Milwaukee’s sixth and final run.
Eric Yardley allowed a double in the bottom of the ninth but posted a zero of his own to complete the shutout, giving the Brewers a 6-0 victory and a series win on the road at Wrigley Field. Now 13-8 with an early two-game lead in the NL Central, the Menomonee Valley Nine returns home to begin a series against the Miami Marlins. Corbin Burnes will get the ball tomorrow and face lefty Taylor Rogers, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 PM central.