Cubs fall to Brewers 4-3 in 9th

BY foxsports • September 18, 2013

Jeff Samardzija turned in another quality start and reached a durability milestone in the Chicago Cubs' loss.

The Cubs lost 4-3 to Milwaukee when Logan Schafer dropped a pinch-hit suicide squeeze bunt with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Tuesday night to give the Brewers a walkoff victory.

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.

''At the end of the year you look back on it and evaluate yourself,'' said Samardzija, making his career-high 31st start of the season. ''Obviously it's a goal you set at the beginning of the season. The big thing for me is taking the ball every fifth day and being a guy you can count on to pitch and throw a lot of pitches. Work the other lineup and get deep in the game to save your bullpen.

''If you're throwing 200 innings, the majority of the time you're doing that and I think that's a big positive.''

With the score tied 3-all, the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs against Justin Grim (0-2), who came on to start the ninth.

Aramis Ramirez walked to open the inning. 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.''

Schafer said he was not surprised to get the squeeze sign in that situation.

''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.''

Samardzija allowed three runs and five hits, including a two-run homer to Gomez, which tied the game at 3-all.

''Besides one pitch, he was really good,'' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ''He used his fastball, pitched inside. He did really well pitching inside and had his fastball working really well.''

Jim Henderson (5-5) allowed a leadoff double in the top of the ninth, but retired three straight for the win.

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. ... Estrada is 4-0 with a 3.74 ERA in his career against the Cubs.

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