Rapid Reaction: Cubs 8, Brewers 2
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs avoided a sweep to the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers with an 8-2 victory Sunday.
How it happened: Jeff Samardzija gave up one run over five innings and the Cubs got home runs from Ian Stewart and pinch-hitter Reed Johnson. Samardzija was pulled after five innings in a 1-1 tie to leave it to a shaky bullpen. But the move looked good when that pinch hitter, Reed, went deep. It looked even better when the Cubs scored six times over the final three innings.
What it means: Aside from defense, the Cubs got it done from all aspects of their game. There was Samardzija’s solid start, the nice work from the bullpen, a little power and some timely hitting. The power department had really been lacking. The Cubs started the day with 19 home runs, just one ahead of the 18 that the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton had amassed.
Outside the box: Sveum considers it one of the toughest calls as a manager: Deciding on the right time to hit for the pitcher. Jeff Samardzija was cruising through five innings, but Sveum went with pinch hitter Reed Johnson in a 1-1 tie which essentially meant the bullpen would have to hold things down the rest of the day. Johnson made the move look good, though, with his home run.
Off beat: Stewart couldn’t have been more pink when he hit his home run. Not only was he using a hot pink bat, he also was wearing pink batting gloves, pink wrist bands and a pink wrist sleeve. He also wrote “Mom,” as well as the names of his wife and mother in law on the wrist sleeve. Pink accessories are a major league tradition on Mother’s Day in an effort to heighten breast cancer awareness.
Up next: The Cubs open a brief two-game series at St. Louis on Monday with right-hander Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.02 ERA) taking the mound in the opener. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Jake Westbrook (4-2, 1.76) in the 6:05 p.m. start from Busch Stadium.