Brewers sweep doubleheader at Wrigley Field
Aaron Ashby struck out 12 as Milwaukee won the nightcap of the day/night doubleheader.
CHICAGO — Aaron Ashby allowed one run and struck out a career-high 12 in six innings, while Victor Caratini and Tyrone Taylor each homered, as the visiting Milwaukee Brewers completed a doubleheader sweep of the Chicago Cubs with Monday night's 3-1 victory.
Rowdy Tellez had the only other hit, an RBI double, for the NL Central-leading Brewers, who earned a 7-6 victory in Game 1, and have won three straight. Ashby (1-3) allowed two hits, two walks and only Willson Contreras' homer through six. But, three consecutive Chicago singles — two on the infield — to open the seventh loaded the bases and ended the left-hander's night.
However, Brad Boxberger fanned Nico Hoerner and got Andrelton Simmons to bounce into an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play, preserving Ashby's first win of 2022. His 12 strikeouts are the most versus Chicago since teammate Corbin Burnes fanned 15 on Aug. 11, 2021.
Teammate Josh Hader extended his scoreless stretch to 39 games — dating to July 28, 2021 — by recording a perfect ninth for his 18th save of the season — and second of the day.
Chicago starter Drew Smyly allowed a walk and struck out three over three hitless innings, but didn't come out for the fourth due to right oblique soreness. Anderson Espinoza (0-1) came on in his major league debut for the Cubs, and three batters into the fourth gave up Tellez's run-scoring hit into the right-field corner.
However, Contreras (two hits) tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the fourth with a blast over the left-field bleachers for Chicago's first hit. But, the Brewers went ahead 2-1 when ex-Cub Caratini took Espinoza just over the left-center-field basket in the fifth.
Despite yielding those two runs on the two hits, walking three and hitting two batters, Espinoza struck out six over four innings for the Cubs, who've dropped three straight and five of six while being swept in a doubleheader for the second time this month. Chicago has also lost six of seven at home, where it's a dismal 7-17.
Taylor's second homer of the day led off the eighth.
In game one, Luis Urias' two-out, three-run, tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning helped the Brewers to a 7-6 victory.
After Chicago's Daniel Norris (0-3) induced a double-play ball to Andrew McCutchen, Mike Brosseau singled and Kolten Wong walked. Urias, on a full count, just cleared the left-field fence to break a 4-4 tie. Taylor tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth, and Jace Peterson also went deep for the Brewers, who lead the NL with 67 home runs.
P.J. Higgins and Rafael Ortega hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and Hoerner had three hits with three RBIs for the Cubs, who stranded four combined runners in the eighth and ninth innings to lose for the fourth time in five games. Chicago starter Matt Swarmer allowed four runs — one earned — and five hits while striking out six in his major league debut.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Ethan Small, the 28th overall selection in 2019, yielded two runs, four hits, four walks and fanned four over 2 2/3 innings of his first big-league appearance. According to ESPN, this marked the first time the Brewers were part of a game where both starters made their major league debut. It was the Cubs' first since 1944.
Swarmer retired the first seven batters before Peterson found the right-center-field bleachers in the third. However, Hoerner's two-run single in the bottom of the frame gave Chicago a 2-1 lead.
Swarmer was bitten by left fielder Clint Frazier's misplay of Omar Narvaez's single in the fourth, which allowed the Milwaukee catcher to reach second. He came home on Keston Hiura's single.
Homers by Higgins and Ortega (three hits) in the bottom of the fourth gave Chicago a 4-2 edge. However, Urias reached on third baseman Patrick Wisdom's throwing error in the sixth and scored on Taylor's two-out blast.
Following Urias' homer, Hoerner's run-scoring single and Ian Happ's RBI groundout in the seventh got Chicago within a run. But Milwaukee's Devin Williams overcame a bases-loaded jam in eighth, and Hader remained scoreless this season for his 17th save.
Miguel Sanchez (1-1) earned the win.