Brews drop heartbreaker in 12
After Wednesday's 6-2 win, the Brewers had a chance to take their 3rd series from the Cubs at Wrigley this year...but the Gods wouldn't have it.
Cubs' starter Rich Harden was off early, throwing 38 pitches in the first inning, and only last 5...still, Harden left with a 2-1 lead...and handed the ball over to Jeff Samardzija. Thanks to Mark DeRosa bobbling a routine Jason Kendall grounder that advanced Craig Counsell to second base, the Crew took momentum, eventually plating 4 runs to take a 5-1 lead.
New Brewers' manager, Dale Sveum, establishing an MO of playing either veterans or newly acquired players, repeated what worked well in Wednesday's game--first, Todd Coffey pitched an inning of relief (this time the 6th inning), Eric Gagné came in and pitched a scoreless 7th again, and Guillermo Mota pitched a scoreless 8th for the second straight day.
After plating an insurance run in the top of the 9th, victory seemed imminent...but Salomon Torres could not repeat his performance from Wednesday. After getting Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee out, Aramis Ramirez "doubled" to left in what could easily have been charged as an error to Ryan Braun; then Jim Edmonds singled home Ramirez, followed by a Mark DeRosa single. On the first pitch, Geovanny Soto crushed a fastball into the left field seats to tie the game.
Then, in the most surprising move of the day by Sveum, he called upon Seth McClung to pitch the 10th and 11th--surprising, in that Sveum had name McClung to the starting rotation to replace Manny Parra...and even had McClung penciled in to start the following day in Cincinnati. But McClung was phenomenal, hitting 95+ mph to strike out the side in the 10th, and get through the 11th (side note: McClung should be given serious consideration to be the closer...if not for this year, then for 2009). But Sveum pinch hit for McClung, then went to Carlos Villanueva for the 12th...Villanueva led off by walking Daryle Ward; Ward was lifted for pinch runner Jason Marquis, and Marquis advanced to second on a sac bunt, then to third on Ryan Theriot fly ball, and eventually home on a Derrek Lee single.
So, in their best imitation of the Cubs of years gone by, the Brewers snatched defeat from the hands of victory. With the Mets 7-2 win over Washington, the Crew now is 1½ games back in the Wild Card race.
Onto Cincinnati, for the final road series of the regular season for Milwaukee; Manny Parra should get the start, but who knows with Sveum at the helm now...McClung might just get it after all.