Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (5/28/24): Cubs 6, Brewers 3 – Brown Nearly Perfect, Late Rally Seals W

This one had all the feeling of a game the Cubs were going to piss away, and they did their level best to do exactly that until the offense woke up. Ben Brown became just the third Cubs pitcher since 1901 to throw at least seven no-hit innings with 10 or more strikeouts — Carlos Zambrano on September 14, 2008 “at” Astros in Milwaukee; Jake Arrieta on August 30, 2015 at Dodgers — and the first to do so without remaining in the game. I get the reasoning, but modern baseball is still really weird sometimes.

Brown’s excellent effort meant the Brewers have still not scored against a Cubs starter this season, an active streak that stands at 32.1 innings. Both that and the no-hit bid were nearly lost in the bottom of the 7th when Willy Adames sent one over the wall in right-center only to have Cody Bellinger pull it back. The Cub-killer would not remain silent for long, however.

The Cubs got on the board first with a Michael Busch solo shot to dead center against Freddy Peralta in the top of the 3rd, and the score remained the same for six innings. After Hayden Wesneski and Mark Leiter Jr. retired the Brewers with little drama in the 8th, Héctor Neris came in for the save and things nearly went off the rails. Pitching for the first time in a week, the closer by default got two harmless grounders before issuing a two-out walk to Christian Yelich.

That free pass was the 15th of the year for Neris, who now has as many of those as he does strikeouts on the season. Jim Deshaies noted on the broadcast that Neris looked a little antsy and could be at risk for a balk, which happened while he faced Adames. Freakin’ Adames. The shortstop hooked an outside splitter into left for a game-tying single and was just barely cut down advancing to second on a play that many thought could have been overturned by challenge.

Why they even gave Adames anything to hit with two outs and first base open is beyond me.

Luckily, the Cubs made it to extras and took immediate advantage of the Manfred Man. Luis Vázquez, who still has just one plate appearance over the course of his week with the big club, came on to pinch-run for Miguel Amaya and scored from second on an infield single by Mike Tauchman. Facing an 0-2 count against former Cub Trevor Megill, Tauchman turned a 98 mph fastball around at just over 99 mph and struck the reliever just below the right elbow with a comebacker.

The stunned Megill was in too much pain to retrieve the ball and the rest of the infield stood by impotently as Vázquez scored the go-ahead run. Seiya Suzuki and Cody Bellinger singled to increase the lead to 3-1, then a Nick Madrigal sac bunt set up a two-run Ian Happ double. Busch capped the scoring with a single and the Cubs had what felt like a comfortable lead.

Luke Little and Tyson Miller didn’t make it look easy, but they managed to escape the 10th with two runs scored on a hit and a walk. Thus ended the five-game losing streak. (Box score)

Key Moment

It would have been Bellinger stealing the homer had the Cubs managed to hold onto the 1-0 lead, then the Tauchman single off Megill’s arm if that was all the extra scoring they needed. So while it’s not a moment, per se, I’m going with Brown putting up the best performance of his young career to keep his team in it despite so little offense over the first nine frames.

Why the Cubs Won

See above. Brown was awesome over seven innings and the bullpen did just enough to allow the bats to be in position to win it late.

Stats That Matter

  • Brown looks more like a dude every time out: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K
  • Busch hit his first homer and first multihit game in three weeks
  • Miguel Amaya’s two hits tied his total for the last nine games
  • Despite the win, the Cubs struck out 16 times

Bottom Line

Wins are good, wins against the Brewers are better, and wins against the Brewers that stop losing streaks are among the best. By going from a game you felt sure they were going to fumble to one they effectively ran away with, you feel like this could be a turning point. Oh, I agree, Patrick.

On Deck

Game three of this four-game set pits Shōta Imanaga and his 0.84 ERA against Bryse Wilson, a dude who looks like he’s cosplaying Brandon Woodruff. First pitch is once again at 6:40pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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