MILWAUKEE – David Stearns expects a thriller every time the Cubs come to town, and that’s exactly what he got.
“The Cubs-Brewers over the past five years have been pretty intense,” said Stearns, President of Baseball Operations for the Brewers, as the teams practiced at bat. “Every Cubs-Brewers game it feels like you look up in the eighth inning and it’s a point game one way or the other.
When he looked up Monday in the eighth inning, it was a draw – at least for now – and one of the most entertaining games of the year at American Family Field. Christian Yelich and Luis Urías combined to create a game-changing defensive gem in the seventh inning and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered the decisive blow in what became Milwaukee’s biggest inning in addition to ‘a decade, a 10-point explosion in the eighth for a 14-4 victory that ensured this series would end with the Brewers atop the Central National League in the mathematical middle of their season.
The Brewers are on a season-high six-game winning streak that has pushed them to a 13-game high of over 0.500. They have won 25 of 35 games since Willy Adames arrived on May 22, the best score in baseball during that time.
“It was probably one of the best wins I’ve ever been to,” said Adames. “And that’s just the regular season. It was like the playoffs.
Adames made his mark again on Monday when he threw a 411-foot, three-run homerun and threw his bat this far towards the Brewers’ dugout. It was one of two three-point blasts in the inning for the Brewers – Keston Hiura hit the other – in their biggest single-inning goal explosion since a 10-point debut against the Nationals in April 2010 .
This was the sixth time the Brewers have scored double-digit runs in an inning, and the first time a Majors team has broken a draw in the eighth inning or later by scoring 10 or more runs since the Tigers scored 13 times in the ninth inning of a 19-6 victory over Texas on August 8, 2001.
“It was an incredible round. It was a decisive set, ”said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who certainly remembers the last time the Brewers scored a 10-point goal since he scored it with a grand slam.
Bradley said: “I think this is the first time I’ve seen your eighth inning guy go to a position player. [pitching] in the same round. It was an amazing race for our team.
Sure enough, the Cubs started the eighth inning with the setup man and May reliever of the month Ryan Tepera on the mound and finished it with infielder Eric Sogard mopping the mop.
“A good game of baseball to the end,” said Cubs manager David Ross.
The Brewers hero on Monday?
Avisaíl García delivered a single with two outs and two runs in the first inning after the Cubs took a 2-0 lead over Freddy Peralta and then hit a home run in third on the way to a 4-2 lead by the seventh.
Ou Peralta, who had surrendered two runs on two hits and three walks after facing 11 batters, then blocked to face minimum until the end of the sixth as the Brewers took the lead.
Or Yelich and Urías, who combined for arguably the Brewers’ defensive game of the year to preserve a 4-4 tie after Patrick Wisdom blew a long two-run homer in the seventh. Joc Pederson was on first base with Happ hitting his left hand when he bounced a hit through the open side of the Brewers’ infielder. As shortstop Adames and left fielder Yelich gave the chase, Pederson and Urías ran for the third base. Yelich made a running throw, Urías made a mobile catch after covering 126 feet of ground from his starting position on the other side of second base, then managed to touch Pederson for a critical out that allowed [Brad] Boxberger to preserve the tie.
“It was a game that changed the game. The sleeve is a totally different sleeve [without it]Said Counsell. “That’s kind of what we want to see in the game – it was really athleticism on the pitch there. ”
Or what about Devin Williams, who blocked Cubs’ solid bases in a heartbreaking 34-pitch eighth inning that preserved the tie score? Or one of 14 hitters who went home for the Brewers in the eighth, in the middle of a rally that started with Jace Peterson coming back from 1-2 and Hiura from 0-2 on the steps at work?
“Then the fun started,” Counsell said.
Bradley was 0-for-3 in the game and 5-for-42 in his last 15 games before hitting a long double over the center field wall to break the tie. Tyrone Taylor, Urías, Adames, Peterson and Hiura all recorded RBIs in the heats, and Peterson and Hiura each scored twice.
For Brewers fans among the divided crowd of 30,251, there was much to celebrate.
“That was crazy, man,” Adames said of his first taste of Brewers-Cubs. “I enjoyed the whole game. I would say to the guys, ‘This is amazing. It is the big leagues. It’s incredible.’ I said to Avi, ‘Brother, I am living the dream. It’s crazy.’
“A normal day, a Monday, to drive the crowd crazy like that?” It’s incredible. I liked it. ”