Brewers squeeze past Cubs

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Trying to notch a third straight victory, Ron Roenicke was willing to gamble a little bit.
The Milwaukee Brewers manager had the bases loaded in the ninth inning and pinch-hitter Logan Schafer -- an accomplished bunter by the manager's standards -- up with one out against Cubs right-hander Justin Grimm.
Not the ideal time for a squeeze play, but with a 1-1 count, Roenicke took a chance and Schafer put down a nearly perfect bunt, driving home Jeff Bianchi to give the Brewers a 4-3 victory over Chicago Monday night at Miller Park.
"I'm not ever surprised to get the squeeze sign," Schafer said. "I'm never surprised by the suicide squeeze. I had it on my mind going up there, but I was ready to hit too. I was pretty confident I was going to get the job done either way."
Schafer's bunt capped off a late rally by the Brewers, who started the ninth inning with an Aramis Ramirez walk. Jeff Bianchi came on to run for Ramirez before Carlos Gomez followed with a single up the middle and Scooter Gennett reached on a sac bunt that Grimm misplayed, loading the bases for Caleb Gindl, who popped up to short.
With Sean Halton, a right-hander, due up, Roenicke opted to send a third straight lefty up and summoned Schafer but wasn't yet considering the squeeze.
"It's not ideal," Roenicke said. "I have to think about it when we have the bases loaded because it's a flip and a force play at home. It's so much easier than having to tag at home so most guys won't do it there. I really thought Caleb (Gindl) was going to come through with a long fly ball, but I had the perfect situation and the count, 1-1, was a tough count to pitch out in so I liked the matchup there."
The Cubs infield was in on the play but Bianchi was already on his way when Schafer squared up.
"It was just a well-executed bunt," Grimm (0-2) said. "The guy was going to be safe either way 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."
Gomez's second-inning sacrifice fly scored Aramis Ramirez and gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead, but bad base running prevented the Brewers from adding runs in the sixth.
Norichika Aoki led off the sixth with a triple to right, but after Jean Segura popped out to short, Aoki was caught in a run down between third and home on Jonathan Lucroy's fielder's choice.
With Aoki trapped, Lucroy took off for second but was caught, ending the inning.
Chicago tied the score at 1-1 in the seventh. Junior Lake led off with a double and moved to second on Anthony Rizzo's grounder to second. Nate Schierholtz walked and the Cubs went ahead 3-1 on Welington Castillo's eighth home run of the season.
The Brewers got those runs back in the bottom of the inning on Gomez's two-run homer, which gave him a career-high 20 for the season. He finished the day 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Chicago had chances to break the deadlock, stranding runners at the corners in the eighth. Starlin Castro doubled off Jim Henderson (5-5) to open the ninth, but the Cubs went down in order after that.
"We had our opportunities a couple different times," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "Couldn't get them over, couldn't get them in."
Both starters were effective but didn't factor in the decision. Milwaukee's Marco Estrada allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over seven innings. The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija also went seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
NOTES: Cubs manager Dale Sveum said there were no issues between himself and right-hander Edwin Jackson. The two exchanged heated words in the dugout Monday when Sveum pulled Jackson for a pinch-hitter after just four innings of work. Sveum said he planned to touch base with Jackson again Tuesday but didn't anticipate any problems between the two. ... Milwaukee starters have produced 12 quality starts in 15 September games, going 6-4 with a 3.58 ERA during the month. ... Samardzija passed the 200-inning mark for the first time in his career. He finished with eight strikeouts Tuesday, giving him 203 for the season and making him the first Cubs pitcher with at least 200 strikeouts and 200 innings of work in one season since Ryan Dempster did it back in 2010. ... Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke and his coaching staff will meet with members of the team's front office and scouting departments Wednesday to begin evaluating the 2013 season. They also will hold preliminary discussions on crafting a roster for the 2014 season.

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