The Brewers got seven RBI from Jonathan Lucroy and a career-high five hits from Rickie Weeks on Thursday. What they didn’t get was a victory, as Milwaukee pitchers walked 11 batters and blew leads of 9-3 in the sixth and 11-9 in the ninth in a 12-11 loss to the Cubs.
The latest huge letdown from the Milwaukee pen came on a day in which closer John Axford was unavailable. Francisco Rodriguez gave up three runs in the ninth to take his seventh blown save and seventh loss.
Lucroy, incredibly, delivered his second seven-RBI game of the season in a losing cause. He had a grand slam off Cubs starter Brooks Riley and three hits in all. Lucroy is the 24th player since 1918 to amass two seven-RBI games in a season, joining such luminaries as Lou Gehrig (3 times in 1930 and twice in 1934), Babe Ruth (1929), Jimmie Foxx (1933 and ’38) and Ralph Kiner (1950 and ’51). Ben Zobrist was the last to do it in 2011. Before him, it was done by Derrek Lee in 2009 and Cody Ross in 2006.
Lucroy was the fourth player in the last five years to drive in seven runs in a losing cause, joining Kansas City’s Jose Guillen (2008 against NYY), Minnesota’s Justin Morneau (2009 against Oakland) and Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz (2012 against Atlanta). He’s the first player in Brewers history to pull it off.
The Cubs won the game without the benefit of a homer. They did have six doubles, two each from David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson, and a triple from Starlin Castro. Alfonso Soriano delivered the game-winner in the ninth.
Riley was let off the hook after allowing seven runs and 10 hits in four innings. He’s expected to be shut down for the rest of the season, leaving him with an 8.14 ERA in five starts as a rookie. Brewers starter Shaun Marcum returned from the DL only to leave with a calf injury after allowing three runs in four innings.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.