Milwaukee Brewers pitchers surrendered three home runs and Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta pitched seven dominant innings as the Cubs snapped the Crew’s four-game winning streak with a 5-1 win at Miller Park on Thursday afternoon.
Milwaukee’s struggles in the daylight continued, as they fell to just 17-34 in day games this season. That is second only to the Houston Astros (11-33) for the worst daytime winning percentage in the majors this year.
Kyle Lohse (10-10) surrendered two of the long balls on a day when location was difficult. Luis Valbuena got the Cubs on the board quickly, with a one-out homer in the first inning into the second deck in right field.
Lohse threw 100 pitches in five innings of work, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts. That dropped him to 1-2 in four starts against Chicago this year and 5-6 with a 5.15 ERA in 20 career starts.
The Cubs upped their lead to 3-0 in the third on a blast by Nate Schierholtz to right-center. It was Schierholtz’s 21st homer of the season, extending his career high, and it came after Lohse didn’t get a call he wanted on a 2-1 delivery. Both starters appeared bothered at times by the strike zone of home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
The Cubs got some help increasing their lead to 4-0 in the sixth. Junior Lake singled to left with one out and Logan Watkins laid a bunt down the third base line that reliever Burke Badenhop threw wildly to first. The play was scored a hit for Watkins—his third of the day after coming into the game 3-for-25 in the big leagues this year and Lake reached third on Badenhop’s errant throw.
The mistake proved costly when Badenhop misplayed Jake Arrieta’s bunt. Badenhop fielded the ball cleanly and appeared to have plenty of time to get Lake at the plate, but he never looked homeward and instead threw to first to retire Arrieta.
Arrieta, meanwhile, held the Crew without a hit until Aramis Ramirez lined a two-out single into left field in the fourth inning.
The second hit he surrendered turned out to be Milwaukee’s lone run of the day. Arrieta hung a curveball to Carlos Gomez leading off the seventh inning that Gomez hammered over the 400-foot sign in straightaway center field. Jeff Bianchi had the only other hit off Arrieta for the Crew, a ground-rule double to right-center later in the seventh.
Arrieta (3-2) allowed just three hits in seven innings, walking one and fanning five. Pedro Strop worked a scoreless eighth and Kevin Gregg came in to blank the Crew in a non-save situation in the ninth.
The Cubs extended the lead to 5-1 in the top of the ninth when pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic crushed a home run off the center-field scoreboard off reliever Donovan Hand.
Michael Gonzalez and Alfredo Figaro each worked a scoreless inning of relief for the Brewers, who took three of four in the series from Chicago and are 5-2 on their current homestand.
Juan Francisco got the start at first base, but his slump continued. He is now 2-for-21 in September with 11 strikeouts after going 0-for-3 and fanning twice. Since Aug. 15, Francisco is 7-for-57 with 29 whiffs and his average for the season has dropped to .229 with 133 strikeouts in just 336 at-bats. He does have 18 home runs, but none since Aug. 16.
The Brewers close out their final homestand of the season with a trio of night games against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday through Sunday. Friday night’s first pitch is 7:10 p.m. and Saturday’s game gets going at 6:10 p.m., with both games televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin. Sunday’s game was moved to a 7:05 p.m. start and will be televised nationally as ESPN’s Sunday night game of the week.
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