Brewers making most of the least
Gomez raced all the way from first to third on Craig Counsell’s sacrifice, then kept heading home on a wild throw to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings Thursday.
The unorthodox win wasn’t anything new to Counsell, who said he has seen it happen before.
“I saw it in the movie ‘Major League,’” Counsell joked.
The Brewers took two out of three games from their NL Central rivals, a tough finish to a trying road trip for the Cubs.
After 10 games on the road, including a pair of trips to Pittsburgh because of a rainout, the Cubs now return to Wrigley Field to face the White Sox in a three-game series beginning Friday.
“We won one game in each town,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We hope to do better.”
Milwaukee’s Corey Hart hit his NL-leading 16th homer in the second inning—ignoring the roar of the Navy Blue Angels, who are in the area for a weekend air show and were flying over Miller Park.
Hart admitted he was distracted by the noise on a pitch just before he homered. “It’s entertaining watching them go over—when you weren’t hitting,” he said.
Xavier Nady, filling in on a day off for Derrek Lee, hit a two-run homer.
John Axford (3-1) pitched the 10th for the win.
Gomez pinch-hit and drew a leadoff walk from Bob Howry (1-1). Counsell followed with the bunt and the speedy Gomez rounded second base and just kept going as Nady caught the ball at first base.
“I said, ‘Why not?’” Gomez said. “I took my chance and (went) to third.”
Nady’s frantic throw to third sailed wild, allowing Gomez to score.
“It was great baserunning,” Counsell said. “He had the green light, he went, and he had in his head before he got to second he was going to keep going. He never slowed down. Even if they make a good throw, he’s still safe.”
In hindsight, Nady said he should have held the ball.
“Tried to just react and throw, but obviously it didn’t turn out like it was supposed to,” Nady said.
The walk to Gomez proved costly, one of nine walks issued by Cubs pitchers.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster turned in his shortest outing of the season, allowing three runs and walking five in 5 1-3 innings. He came into Thursday’s game with 13 career wins over the Brewers, including four straight.
“I just walked too many guys, especially with nobody out,” Dempster said. “Every time I do that I put us in a position that we had to try make every play.”
Brewers starter Dave Bush went six innings, giving up four runs and six hits. He added an RBI single in the fourth.
With the Cubs leading 4-3 and two outs in the sixth, rookie shortstop Starlin Castro made a costly throwing error on Jim Edmonds’ fairly routine ground ball. Reliever Tom Gorzelanny walked Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder, and manager Lou Piniella brought in Jeff Stevens to face Ryan Braun.
Braun, who was 0 for 10 in the series to that point, briefly called time as the Blue Angels jets once again roared overhead. Stevens then walked him, scoring a run and tying it at 4.
Was it the Cubs’ sloppiest game of the year?
“It wasn’t good,” Piniella said. “It wasn’t good.”
Marlon Byrd, who was 3 for 4, said the errors are a byproduct of aggressive play.
“We’re doing everything we can,” Byrd said, “but it can’t be like this all year.”