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Davies strong again, but Crew drops marathon

Brewers fall one game behind Cubs in NL Central
@AdamMcCalvy
May 11, 2019

CHICAGO -- Hernan Perez had a hunch it would take a home run to settle the Brewers’ second straight Saturday marathon. “Unfortunately, they did it,” Perez said. Zach Davies lowered his ERA to 1.54 through eight starts by pitching into the seventh inning on a cold and rain-drenched afternoon at

CHICAGO -- Hernan Perez had a hunch it would take a home run to settle the Brewers’ second straight Saturday marathon.

“Unfortunately, they did it,” Perez said.

Zach Davies lowered his ERA to 1.54 through eight starts by pitching into the seventh inning on a cold and rain-drenched afternoon at Wrigley Field, and Perez hit a home run in the fifth. But the Cubs hustled in the bottom of that inning for a tie that persisted all the way to the bottom of the 15th, when Willson Contreras went deep for a 2-1 Chicago win that left both teams fatigued and frozen.

Box score

A day after the Brewers claimed a share of first place in the National League Central with a 7-0 win, they were limited to four hits in four hours and 56 minutes of baseball as the Cubs reclaimed sole possession of the top spot heading into the series finale on Sunday Night Baseball.

“At least we’ve got a night game tomorrow,” Christian Yelich said.

The Brewers didn’t have to look far in the rear-view mirror to find a similarly long day. They beat the Mets in 18 innings exactly one week earlier at Miller Park for the second of seven consecutive victories, a streak that was still alive when the teams took the field under a drizzle on Saturday.

“It is deflating,” Davies said. “You want to win every game, but especially when you play that deep into a game. You’re here at the field for 12 hours now or whatever it is. But tomorrow’s another day. Tomorrow’s another chance to win.”

The Brewers are likely to have pitching reinforcements on hand for Sunday’s finale after manager Craig Counsell deployed Davies and six Brewers relievers opposite Cole Hamels and seven Cubs relievers in the longest game by innings between the Brewers and Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The last man to take the mound for Milwaukee was right-hander Burch Smith, who finally yielded to Contreras in a fourth inning of work. The Cubs catcher's walk-off home run was hit into the bleachers in left field.

“The pitching was awesome,” Counsell said. “It was tough to hit. Frankly, the conditions were just miserable for the players out there in the field -- for both sides. Everybody is soaked and freezing. It rained for five hours straight.”

Here are three plays that told the story of a long day:

1. Arcia goes home
Davies was in trouble from the start after Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple. Kris Bryant followed with a bouncer to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who opted to throw home against the advice of catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was pointing to first base. Arcia’s throw was right on target and on time, giving Davies a dramatic opening out. Davies responded by keeping the Cubs off the scoreboard until the fifth inning.

“It was almost like the throw tagged Heyward,” Counsell said. “Just a brilliant play. It kept it at neutral. You knew it was going to be hard to score again. … Keeping it there was a great start.”

Did Arcia see Grandal pointing to first?

“Yeah, I saw it. But at that point I was already going home,” Arcia said. “The pitch before I took a couple steps in. As soon as the ball was hit to me, I was just thinking home right away.”

2. Bote goes home
The Cubs’ run off Davies in the fifth scored by a hair. With the rain falling as hard as it had all day, Arcia drifted into the hole for David Bote’s two-out ground ball and couldn’t field it cleanly. It was an infield hit. Albert Almora Jr. then threw his bat at a changeup low and away, out of the strike zone, and dumped a double into soggy right-center field. Bote chugged from first base all the way home while right fielder Yelich relayed to second baseman Perez to catcher Grandal, who reached out to catch the low throw and tried to clip Bote with a swipe tag.

“As I'm rounding … I see him have the ball and I'm like, 'I've got to just find a way to get safe. Find a way,’” Bote said.

Bote eluded Grandal’s reach with a terrific slide around the back side of the plate, reaching back with his right hand to touch home for the tying run.

“I got it clean, got it in,” Yelich said. “He was out by a lot; just a good slide.”

“I was ready for it in that situation of the game,” Perez said.

3. Double trouble
Pick a double play, from Perez’s 4-6-3 in the second inning to Jesus Aguilar’s 6-4-3 in the 12th. The Brewers and Cubs combined to hit into 10 of them in the game, matching a Major League record last seen in a Mets-Giants game in August 2004. Milwaukee matched a franchise record by grounding into six double plays, something it hadn’t done since a 25-inning loss to the White Sox on May 8, 1984, that took two days to play. That helps explain how the Brewers put the leadoff man on base in seven different innings, six times via a walk, and couldn’t score aside from Perez’s home run.

“Nothing here to complain about,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “We pitched our butts off. They wanted to win. We wanted to win. We did. We've been offensively challenged versus them. Hopefully we get it going against them offensively, but the way we played and how we played and how we hung in there, I'll take it.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.