The Cubs bullpen has been a huge problem the last two games as late leads were quickly undone. Kyle Schwarber was apparently sick of it, so he personally made sure the ‘pen had all the support it needed Sunday.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the 2nd inning on singles by Javy Báez and Jason Heyward and a walk to Ian Happ. Then War Bear jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Zach Davies for a long grand slam to right.
Davies hit another jam in the 4th inning, when Báez and Happ drew a pair of free passes to set the stage for Schwarber once again. This time he went to the opposite field and just cleared the fence for a three-run homer.
José Quintana cruised through the first four innings, but fell apart in the 5th when he gave up single and two walks loaded the bases with none out. A Manny Piña single, Lorenzo Cain sacrifice fly, and a Christian Yelich double cut the lead to 7-3. Brad Brach relieved Quintana and got Ryan Braun to ground out to end the inning.
The bottom of the order for the Cubs answered back in the 6th when Happ walked again and Schwarber reached via reviewed infield hit. Pinch-hitter Victor Caratini took Jeremy Jeffress deep to right for his own three-run jack to make it 10-3.
The North Siders added run number 11 on groundout from Willson Contreras in the 9th. Kyle Ryan pitched well in two-plus innings allowing just an unearned run, while Brandon Kintzler and Derek Holland closed out the 11-4 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Basically, Hulk smash ball far. The Cubs launched three homers with men on base, which leads to pretty big number on the scoreboard.
Tension was rising as the Brewers rallied in the bottom of the 5th and Braun had a chance to cut the lead to two or even one. Brach was able to get him out, allowing his teammates to pad the lead the next inning.
Stats That Matter
- Not sure what happened to Quintana in his final inning, he was good up to that point: 4.2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 K, and 2 BB.
- Schwarber reached base all four times up to bat and scored four runs in addition to seven knocked in. With the endless discussion of his struggles with runners on base, this performance had to feel good.
- Happ hasn’t gotten a hit yet, but has four walks the last two games.
The Cubs were able to salvage the final game of the series and now head to St. Louis tied for first with the Cardinals. These games are going to be big and they want to repeat Sunday’s effort a few times over.
That big series begins Tuesday night at 7:15pm CT as Yu Darvish is opposed by Adam Wainwright. NBC Sport Chicago and MLB Network (out of market) provide the broadcast with 670 The Score on the radio call.