Logan Schafer was not surprised when he got the squeeze sign with the bases loaded in a tie game in the ninth inning.
Schafer dropped a pinch-hit suicide squeeze bunt with the bases loaded to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 4-3 walkoff victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
”I am never surprised to get the squeeze sign,” Schafer said. ”When you are in my role that is what you are expected to do. As a bench player that is kind of my job, so I am never surprised with suicide squeeze especially if it wins the game.”
Aramis Ramirez walked to open the inning off Justin Grimm (0-2), who came on to start the ninth.
Jeff Bianchi pinch-ran for Ramirez and advanced on Carlos Gomez’s single to center. Grimm then mishandled Scooter Gennett’s sacrifice bunt for an error to load the bases.
After Caleb Gindl popped out, Schafer put down a slow roller toward the mound, scoring Bianchi.
”It was just a well-executed bunt. The guy was going to be safe either way,” Grimm said. ”But, obviously I got myself in that situation with the leadoff walk, then not fielding my position when the guy hit it to me. I was thinking three, get the lead out and bobbled it.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted the squeeze play was a bit of a risk.
”Bases loaded, it’s not ideal. I have to think about it when we have the bases loaded because it’s a flip and a force play at home,” Roenicke said. ”It’s so much easier than having to tag at home so most guys won’t do it there.”
Jim Henderson (5-5) allowed a leadoff double in the top of the ninth, but retired three straight for the win.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings, giving him 203 strikeouts in 201 2-3 innings this season. He’s the first Cubs pitcher to reach both 200 strikeouts and 200 innings in a season since Ryan Dempster in 2010.
Gomez drove in three runs for Milwaukee with a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada had allowed just two singles before the Cubs scored three runs in the seventh inning.
Junior Lake doubled to open the inning and moved to third on Anthony Rizzo’s groundout.
After Nate Schierholtz walked with one out, Lake scored on Ryan Sweeney’s sacrifice fly to right. Welington Castillo followed with his eighth home run.
Gomez tied it at 3-all in the seventh, following a leadoff walk to Ramirez with his 20th home run.
”A hanging split floated in there and he put a good swing on it,” Samardzija said. ”Kept it fair and snuck it in the corner. As a whole, I battled and got out of a couple situations, which was nice, which was an improvement on previous outings.”
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the second when Ramirez doubled to the wall and continued to third when center fielder Sweeney bobbled the ball for an error. Gomez followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Brewers ran themselves out of a scoring opportunity in the sixth when
Norichika Aoki tripled into the right-field corner to open the inning.
Aoki attempted to score on Jonathan Lucroy’s one-out bouncer to third, but was tagged out in a rundown and Lucroy was thrown trying to reach second.
NOTES: ”200 strikeouts, 200 innings is a huge feat for anybody to get done,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before the game. ”The players know it and it is always fun playing behind a guy who gets the ball and has that mentality to go after people.” … Dioner Navarro’s eighth-inning pinch-hit double was his 100th career double. … Aoki’s triple gave the Brewers 42 for the season, their most since 1995 and tops in the major leagues this year.