Despite Suzuki's dramatic sprint, Cubs find way to lose
MILWAUKEE -- It's not clear if Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki watched any Jim Carrey movies while growing up in Japan.
But asked what he was thinking as he raced around the bases in the ninth inning of a tie game against Milwaukee, he answered, 'Somebody stop me."
Third base coach Willie Harris wasn't about to stop him. Harris was waving his arm at maximum velocity.
Suzuki's go-ahead, inside-the-park home run was one of the Cubs' most electrifying plays of recent seasons. But finishing games remains a challenge and the Cubs ended up losing to the Brewers 5-2 in 10 innings on a walk-off home run by former teammate Victor Caratini.
Suzuki was back in the lineup Monday for the first time since May 26 after recovering from a sprained left index finger.
With one out, he sent a 95-mile-per-hour pitch from Josh Hader to deep center field. It bounced off an angled part of the wall and rolled 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 fairly close, but Suzuki slid in just in front of the tag.
"My legs were getting pretty tired, so I was waiting for someone to say stop," Suzuki said through a translator. "Obviously, my injury prolonged my time away from the team and I was very frustrated. So this game kind of meant a lot to me."
This would have been a nice win for the Cubs with close to a full house at American Family Field, but closer David Robertson picked up his fourth blown save.
The bottom of the ninth was tense, with Luis Urias reaching on a line single that landed just in front of a sliding Suzuki. After Caratini struck out, Keston Hiura lined a double that bounced over the wall in left-center field, preventing the tying run from scoring.
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 in the tying run. Robertson struck out Willy Adames on three pitches to extend the game.
"Had a chance to get out of it, just couldn't find the strike zone and let a win slip away from us," Robertson said. "We had a chance to win that game and I just went there and blew it.
"I felt I was throwing the ball well, then I just lost the strike zone for a second. It just happens. I threw a lot of curveballs in a row, then couldn't get a fastball in the zone. I needed to give Yelich a tough at-bat. Instead, I just gave him a free pass to first and it cost us a loss."
The Cubs produced plenty of action in the top of the 10th, but no runs. Andrelton Simmons was sent in to pinch-run, but was held up at third on a sharp single by Rafael Ortega. Then Alfonso Rivas' fly to center wasn't deep enough to score the run.
After a walk to Christopher Morel loaded the bases, Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger went changeup, changeup, fastball to strike out Willson Contreras. Then after falling behind 3-1 to Ian Happ, Boxberger froze him with a 3-2 change to end the inning.
Contreras was replaced in the 10th due to hamstring soreness, manager David Ross said. Caratini connected with two outs against Scott Effross.
"Typical fight in this group that continues to show up," Ross said. "The losses never go down easy."
Outfielder Nelson Velazquez launched his first career home run in the third inning. The score was still 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.
"Felt like my four-seam, slider combination was working pretty well today," Steele said. "Felt good moving the four-seam into righties, getting it on their hands, then playing the slider off of it, that combination was working 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 and a walk-off homer.
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