Cubs comeback stories can't prevent 10-inning loss to Brewers
The Cubs produced a double redemption story Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Pitcher Colin Rea took the mound for his first major-league start since July 30, 2016. Steven Souza Jr. belted a dramatic tying home run in the eighth inning, his first homer since missing all of last season with a devastating knee injury.
None of it was enough for the Cubs, though. They lost 6-5 in 10 innings to the Milwaukee Brewers and suffered their first two-game losing streak of the season.
"Especially with such a short season, you can't dwell on any wins or losses," Souza said after the game. "We're just trying to turn the page and move on, good, bad or indifferent."
This game was similar to Friday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers in terms of how it played out. The Cubs (13-5) jumped to an early lead, fell behind, and were kept quiet by the Milwaukee bullpen.
Quiet, that is, until Souza stepped to the plate in the eighth inning. Brewers reliever Brent Suter had kept the Cubs scoreless for 2⅔ innings, then manager Craig Counsell brought in Corey Knebel with 2 outs in the eighth and Milwaukee clinging to a 4-3 lead.
Souza jumped on Knebel's first pitch and lined it into the left-field basket for the tying home run. Souza had a strong reaction as he approached first base and the Cubs' dugout brought its usual loud dose of cheers.
"It was awesome. It's been that way since I got here," Souza said. "It's cool to have the support like that from your teammates. It just feels like a band of brothers having a bunch of fun right now and it's really cool to be around."
Extra innings didn't pan out for the Cubs. Jeremy Jeffress, a former Brewer who has been the Cubs' best reliever, got through the ninth inning. But in the 10th he gave up his first hit all season, a double by Avisail Garcia that scored bonus runner Christian Yelich. Milwaukee added another run on an infield single by Luis Urias.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs brought around bonus runner Albert Almora Jr. on a deep fly out by Willson Contreras and ground out from Ian Happ, but that's where it ended.
Rea, 30, needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after that 2016 start. He missed all of 2017, spent 2018 in the minors with the Padres, then pitched for the Iowa Cubs last summer. Rea made his official return to the majors in a relief appearance for the Cubs on Aug. 5.
"I was happy to get that call and just kind of willing to fill in wherever I need to," Rea said. "Maybe when I'm done this year or done playing I'll kind of look back on it. For me, it's just another opportunity. I just kind of take it one step, one day at a time."
Rea started out well, but couldn't get out of the fourth inning. Rea left after giving up a 2-run, game-tying double by Justin Smoak with one out in the fourth. He threw a total of 49 pitches.
"I thought Colin threw the ball well," manager David Ross said. "The big double by Smoak, that was probably on the back end of his pitch count, trying to get as much as we could out of him. We were trying to get 50."
The Cubs got off to a fast start, beginning with Anthony Rizzo's opposite field home run in the first. Later in the inning, Ian Happ doubled home Kyle Schwarber, then Rizzo's RBI double in the second made it 3-0.
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