When things are going bad, even the ball does not seem to bounce your way. The Cubs woes that began in Atlanta followed the team back home to Wrigley. A couple of ground ball singles made their way past Cub infielders in the first before a passed ball and a walk set the stage for the unraveling of starter Edwin Jackson.
E Jax walked in a run on a 3-2 count with the home crowd trying to will a strikeout with a standing ovation, and then he served up a bases clearing double to Martin Maldonado. 4-0 Brewers. Ryan Bruan added another run with a RBI double in the second inning.
Things were looking bleak for Cubs fans, especially with the sweep in Atlanta fresh on their minds. But with the wind blowing out to right field at a brisk pace, a 5-0 lead for the Brewers was not necessarily safe. Catcher Welington Castillo got the Cubs back in the game with a two run bomb in the bottom of the second, his first of the season.
To Jackson’s credit, he was able to grind through six innings of work despite the rough start, a stretch that included escaping another bases loaded jam in the fourth frame. With five walks to six strikeouts, in hindsight Jackson spent too much time nibbling at the corners with concern over the wind blowing out rather than seizing control of the strike zone and setting the tone for the Brewers hitters.
Shawn Camp, who was reliable in 2012, came in to relieve Jackson. Unforunately the veteran righty gave the visitors the two runs back that Castillo had earned with his homer. With the bases loaded yet again for a Cubs pitcher, Camp was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout. Carlos Marmol made his first appearance of 2013 as a set up man in the eighth and got the boo birds going with another shakey outing before ending the inning with a strikeout and a foul pop.
Down 7-2 through the middle of the seventh was plenty of reason for Cubs fans to leave Wrigley early or shut off the tv. But the Cubs offense set the stage for a comeback attempt for the faithful that stuck around. Alfonso Soriano led of the final half inning with a single on an 0-2 count. He would take second on defensive indifference before coming around to score on a Nate Schierholtz single down the left field line. Luis Valbuena added a line drive single just off the Brewers third baseman’s glove to bring in the Cubs right fielder and make it 7-4 with no outs.
Scott Hairston reached on an error to load the bases, but Dave Sappelt recorded the second out. That brought All Star Starlin Castro to the plate. The Cubs shortstop phenom had already collected a triple and a double high off of the right field wall earlier in the game and the stage was set for a walk off grand slam and a thrilling Cubs win. Castro battled through an eight pitch at bat before putting a charge into a fastball deep into right field, only to be caught for the final out.
The wind that had aided both offenses early in the game had now been blowing in, being enough to cut the Cubs comeback attempt short. Again, when things are going bad, even the ball doesn’t seem to bounce your way and on this afternoon in Chicago, even the wind was not providing the Cubs home field advantage.