Despite Suzuki’s dramatic sprint, Cubs find a way to lose

MILWAUKEE — It’s unclear if Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki watched any Jim Carrey movies while growing up in Japan.

But when asked what he was thinking as he ran around the bases in the ninth inning of a tied game against Milwaukee, he replied: ‘Somebody stop me.’

Third base coach Willie Harris wasn’t about to stop him. Harris was waving his arm at top speed.

Suzuki’s inside-the-park homer was one of the Cubs’ most electrifying plays in recent seasons. But finishing games remains a challenge and the Cubs ended up losing to the Brewers 5-2 in 10 innings on a home run by former teammate Victor Caratini.

Suzuki returned to the lineup Monday for the first time since May 26 after recovering from a sprained left index finger.

With one out, he sent Josh Hader’s 95 mph pitch into deep center field. He bounced off a sloping portion of the wall and brushed past center fielder Jonathan Davis along the warning track.

A triple was clearly in the bag, but speed is one of Suzuki’s many talents and as he approached third base, Harris never considered the stop sign. The play was pretty close, but Suzuki slipped right in front of the tag.

“My legs were getting pretty tired, so I was waiting for someone to tell me to stop,” Suzuki said through a translator. “Obviously my injury prolonged my time away from the team and I was very frustrated. So this game meant a lot to me.”


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

This would have been a nice win for the Cubs with a near full house at American Family Field, but closer David Robertson recorded his fourth blown save.

The bottom of the ninth was tense, with Luis Urias hitting a line drive single that landed right in front of a sliding Suzuki. After Caratini struck out, Keston Hiura hit a double that bounced off the wall in left center, keeping him from scoring the tying run.

Robertson struck out Jace Peterson on three pitches but then hit pinch hitter Kolten Wong to load the bases before Christian Yelich walked on four pitches to force the tying run. Robertson struck out Willy Adames on three pitches to extend the game.

“I had a chance to get out of it, I just couldn’t find the strike zone and let a win slip away,” Robertson said. “We had a chance to win that game and I just went in there and blew it.

“I felt like I was throwing the ball right, then I missed the strike zone for a second. It just happens. I threw a lot of curveballs in a row, then I couldn’t get a fastball into the zone. I needed to give Yelich a tough at-bat. In Instead, I just gave him a free pass to first and it cost us a loss.

The Cubs produced a lot of action in the top of the 10th, but no runs. Andrelton Simmons was sent in as a pinch runner, but was stopped at third on Rafael Ortega’s single. Then Alfonso Rivas’ fly ball to center didn’t go deep enough to score the run.

After a bases-loading walk to Christopher Morel, Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger made a changeup, changeup and fastball to strike out Willson Contreras. Then, after falling behind 3-1 to Ian Happ, Boxberger froze him with a 3-2 turnaround to end the inning.

Contreras was replaced in the 10th with a sore hamstring, manager David Ross said. Caratini connected with two outs off Scott Effross.

“Typical fight in this group that keeps coming up,” Ross said. “Losses are never easy.”

Outfielder Nelson Velázquez hit his first career home run in the third inning. The score remained 1-0 in the seventh until starter Justin Steele allowed just his second hit of the night, a game-tying double to catcher Pedro Severino.

“I felt like my four-seam slider combo was working pretty well today,” Steele said. “It felt good to move the four-seam to right-handers, put it in his hands and then play with the slider, that combination worked really well today.”

According to STATS, this was the first game in Major League history to include a player’s first home run, an inside-the-park home run, and a walk-off home run.

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