HOW IT HAPPENED:In a back-and-forth affair, the Brewers had a little more in the tank against the Cubs. Lendy Castillo, the final pitcher left in the Cubs bullpen, hit the first two batters he faced in the 13th inning and gave up a game-ending single to Corey Hart. David DeJesus didn’t even need to start to make a giant impact. His pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh inning gave the Cubs their first lead and when the bullpen coughed that up, he came up with an RBI triple in the ninth inning to tie it and scored on a wild pitch as Starlin Castro struck out. The Cubs ended the 49-game save streak of Brewers closer John Axford, the fourth-longest streak of its kind in major league history.
WHAT IT MEANS:The Cubs’ bullpen issues keep getting worse, if that’s even possible. Rafael Dolis has been one of the steadiest members, taking partial ownership of the closer role last week. But he blew the save when he gave up a two-run home run to Hart in the ninth inning as the Brewers tied it and sent it into extra innings. Carlos Marmol and Michael Bowden didn’t fare much better in the seventh inning, combining to give up four runs and erase a brief Cubs lead. Then there was Castillo, who didn’t record an out. Kerry Wood stepped up with two scoreless innings.
DECISION TIME:It doesn’t matter where the Cubs try to hide Marmol, the game seems to find him. The right-hander, who lost his closer role last week, actually retired the first two batters he faced in the seventh inning before a walk and an RBI double. The severity of his hamstring injury isn’t known, but a trip to the disabled list would allow the Cubs to bring back left-hander Scott Maine, who was effective before getting caught in a roster numbers game which forced his return to Triple-A Iowa.
NOT LEFT BEHIND:Like Bryan LaHair before him, all it took was one swing for DeJesus to show that he might not need so much rest against left-handers. DeJesus didn’t start Friday with Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf on the mound. But with right-hander Jose Veras pitching in the seventh inning, DeJesus got the call to pinch hit. The Brewers switched to lefty Kameron Loe, but DeJesus sent the first pitch into the seats in right for his first career pinch-hit grand slam.
OUTSIDE THE BOX:It was not only the first home run for DeJesus this season, it was just his second career grand slam. It was also the first career pinch-hit home run for the left-handed hitter. The last time the Cubs had a pinch-hit grand slam was in May of 2010 when Mike Fontenot did it against the Reds.
OFF BEAT:Matt Garza’s throws to first base don’t seem to be getting any better. When the Brewers’ Cesar Izturis bunted for a base hit in the sixth inning, Garza guided his throw to first base and it bounced some 20 feet in front of first baseman LaHair. Wolf followed with a sacrifice bunt and Garza underhanded it to first base from 40 feet instead of making the overhand throw. The right-hander missed out on an April 12 complete game with one out to go when he picked up a comebacker and threw it into the stands behind first base.
UP NEXT:The Cubs will send right-hander Chris Volstad (0-4, 6.55 ERA) to the mound Saturday against Milwaukee in the middle game of the three-game series. The Brewers will counter with Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.41) in the 12:05 p.m. start from Miller Park.