Perhaps it didn’t matter that Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbel gave up a booming 3-run homer to the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich in Sunday’s ninth inning.
Yelich’s blast to center field, his 42nd homer of the year, turned a 1-0 Milwaukee lead into a 4-0 victory at Wrigley Field as the Brewers took the final two games of this three-game series, both by shutout.
“It’s hard to win when you don’t score any runs,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, whose team fell to 73-63 and is backsliding further behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central. “You give them credit. We pitched really well, too. Yelich gets us in the ninth inning, but both sides pitched really well.”
The Cubs came away with multiple injury concerns. Tyler Chatwood was the emergency starting pitcher. Scheduled starter Yu Darvish was scratched because of right-forearm tightness. Chatwood worked 3⅔ innings of 1-run ball
Maddon said he is not overly concerned about Darvish and said he expects the pitcher to start Saturday at Milwaukee.
“We just wanted to back off a little bit right here with that little bit of a concern,” Maddon said. “He should be back his next start. He’s been pretty accurate with all that he’s said. He thinks the same way, that just missing this one start, he should be fine for the next one.”
Darvish battled triceps tendinitis last year and pitched in only 8 games. He underwent an elbow cleanup last September.
Shortstop Javier Baez left the game at the start of the seventh inning with a jammed left thumb. He also jarred his neck while stealing second base in the third.
“During the game, my thumb was getting sore,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to squeeze. Joe told me to let him know. It kept getting worse. I feel good. The X-ray was negative. We’ll take it day by day. Hopefully I’m ready for (Monday). If not, we’ll take a day.”
Cubs honor Lee Smith:
The Cubs honored recently inducted Hall of Famer Lee Smith with a home-plate ceremony before Sunday’s game.
Smith is the team’s all-time leader in saves, with 180. The Cubs put a flag with “SMITH” and “180” on the Wrigley Field roof and presented him with a flag and a piece of artwork.
“Hey, man, it’s awesome,” Smith said. “It’s been a whirlwind since December since I got the call. I can’t lie to you, man. I was asleep when I got the call. But it’s been crazy, really, like a whirlwind, running in and out doing things. I just want to give something back. I’m from a small town. You see so many people who get to the big city and forget about where they came from.”
The Cubs have not yet retired Smith’s uniform No. 46. Smith said he’d like for that to happen.
“Yes, I would,” he said. “You know what, man? Good things happen when you wait.”
Call-ups are here:
In addition to activating Ben Zobrist off the restricted list, which they did Saturday night, the Cubs took advantage of the Sept. 1 roster expansion.
They activated infielder Daniel Descalso off the injured list. The Cubs recalled outfielder Albert Almora, catcher Taylor Davis, infielder Robel Garcia and pitchers Alec Mills, Duane Underwood Jr. and Brad Wieck, all from Iowa.
Wieck made his Cubs debut, striking out the only batter he faced in the fourth. The Cubs obtained him July 31 from the San Diego Padres in a trade for reliever Carl Edwards Jr.