Jeff Samardzija’s first inning of work against the Brewers was one of those where nothing seemed to bounce the Cubs way. The pesky Norichika Aoki reached on an error by Anthony Rizzo and things went down hill from there. Aoki made his way to third on a textbook hit and run knock, and the lone mistake The Shark made (a hanging breaking ball), was deposited over the left field wall by Ryan Braun to make it 3-0.
But the tough luck didn’t end there. Rickie Weeks followed that up with a bloop double that Darwin Barney could not haul in while running with his back to the infield. It was certainly a tough play, but one the Gold Glover would have told you he should have made. Jonathan Lucroy then slipped one down the right field line for a triple, driving in Weeks to make it 4-0.
The good news is that Samardzija was able to grind through the frustrating frame and strand Lucroy at third despite no outs. The Cubs ace proceeded to build on that through the rest of the game, keeping the home team off the scoreboard until the seventh, when he allowed a solo home run.
Mean while the Cubs offense tried to pick up their starter early in the game. In an offensive ballpark like Miller Park, the Brewers lead was certainly not safe yet. Luis Valbuena led off the third with a solo shot to right, getting the Cubs on the board. The Cubs third baseman is certainly doing his part over the last couple of days as the return of Ian Stewart looms.
The visitors from Chicago were not done after that either. David DeJesus hit a homer of his own, with Samardzija, who had walked, being along for the ride. At the time it was suddenly a 4-3 ballgame, advantage Brewers. Unfortunately the Cubs offense could not cash in a lead off double by Alfonso Soriano in the top of the fourth and a Barney lead off single in the seventh.
Rizzo made it a 5-4 ballgame by starting the eighth with a solo job, his fifth of the season. Kevin Gregg made a shaky return to the Cubs debut, starting the Brewers half of the eighth with a hit and a walk before being replaced in favor of Shawn Camp. The veteran Camp was able to get out of the jam and keep it a one run ballgame.
In the top of the ninth, Dioner Navarro kept the Cubs alive with a two out single, but pinch runner and fresh off the waiver wire pick up Julio Borbon ended the game by getting caught stealing second, trying to put himself into scoring position with DeJesus at the plate.
Yes, you may be getting sick of the silver linings, but it was another fight to the death effort by the Cubs that fell just short. The North Siders will look to bounce back Saturday night by sending Edwin Jackson to the mound.