Wada solid in final start, but Cubs fall to Crew
Rookie left-hander allows two runs; Rizzo hits RBI double
MILWAUKEE -- For Tsuyoshi Wada, Saturday was a chance to make one last pitch for the Cubs to bring him back in 2015. For Edwin Jackson, it was one last inning of the year to show he could still pitch effectively.
The Cubs were overwhelmed by Wily Peralta, who struck out a career-high 13 batters, in a 2-1 loss to the Brewers on Saturday. Carlos Gomez hit a solo homer and scored the tie-breaking run on Jonathan Lucroy's record-setting double to spark Milwaukee in front of 41,440 at Miller Park.
Peralta topped his previous strikeout high of nine set Aug. 7 against the Giants. The Cubs struck out 16 times in the game, the sixth time this year they've totaled 16 or more. Chicago began the day leading the National League in strikeouts.
"[Peralta] was determined, he competed his butt off, and I tell you what, that guy, he's going to throw a couple of no-hitters before his career is over with, for sure, if not a perfect game. Because he's got the best nasty stuff around," Lucroy said. "If he continues to get better as he has, year to year, man, he's going to be really, really, really good. We're fortunate to have him."
"His fastball was explosive, his secondary pitches had some bite," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Peralta. "He used them to get out of some innings. He had good stuff. ... We weren't able to string together a whole lot of offense today. Tip your cap to Peralta. He did a nice job."
Wada, 33, took the loss in his last start, giving up two runs over five-plus innings. The lefty thought his season was over after his outing on Sept. 18 against the Dodgers, but the Cubs opted to have Wada start and moved Jackson to the bullpen.
Jackson did enter in the seventh, his first regular-season relief appearance since Sept. 27, 2011, when he pitched the ninth for the Cardinals. He also appeared in one game in relief in the NL Division Series in 2012.
On Saturday, the right-hander faced four batters and escaped without any damage.
"He looked very good," Renteria said of Jackson, who was 6-15 with a 6.38 ERA in 27 starts. "His fastball had good life. It seemed like he got it in there on a couple guys. It's a good inning to have and reflect on. I think, obviously, we put him in that situation here as of late, but it was a perfect situation and I thought he did a nice job."
Jackson tried to downplay the outing.
"There's still a lot to take from this year," the right-hander said. "[Saturday's outing] doesn't necessarily erase what happened this year. It'll be a busy offseason and I'll go work on what I need to work on. I'll definitely come in and be ready to bounce back and be the pitcher I know I can be and get back in form to where I was before I joined the Cubs."
Jackson has struggled in two seasons with the Cubs, losing a NL-leading 18 games in 2013. He will prepare this offseason to be a starter next year.
"After that, we'll take whatever happens in stride and go from there," he said.
Wada, who signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs last December, bounced back after a tough spring, and the Cubs have to decide whether to pick up his option for 2015. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Friday they told Wada they'd like to have him back.
"Since he's joined us, every outing, he's gone and given us a chance and kept us in the ballgame," Renteria said of the lefty. "Today we weren't able to respond for him."
The Cubs tallied in the third on Anthony Rizzo's RBI double. But Gomez tied the game with a leadoff home run in the Milwaukee half of the inning, his 23rd homer of the season.
Gomez then doubled to open the fifth, advanced on Ryan Braun's fly ball to center, and scored on Lucroy's double, his 53rd overall and 46th as a catcher, which set a single-season mark for backstops.
Arismendy Alcantara tripled with one out in the Cubs seventh, but Peralta struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Renteria said he talked with his coaching staff about what they need to do next season to try to have a more effective offense.
"I think all of our situational hitting, all of our two-strike approaches, we've gathered enough information now with the time we've had with these young men to know we're going to attack a lot of different aspects of the offensive game to help us improve," Renteria said, emphasizing the need to do the little things, have productive outs.
"I think the focus will be on the broader picture and the totality of what we have to do as an offense as a team," he said.