While the Diamondbacks-Reds game had two top 5 Cy Young finishers squaring off in Aaron Harang and Brandon Webb, the Cubs and Brewers showdown was no slouch, either. And their pitching beat expectations.
Ben Sheets and Carlos Zambrano matched each other’s zeros as both went into the seventh with shutouts. Zambrano’s pitching seemed remarkably free of the meltdowns he’s so famously entertaining for, but he did leave the game for forearm cramps. If it’s not tantrums, it’s cramps. Given that Zambrano admitted to not drinking enough water, perhaps that’s the key to future opponents’ success: secretly slipping Zambrano water. That or just waiting for the Cubs’ bullpen to blow it.
Wood allowed 3 runs in the top of the 9th to give the Brewers the lead. Of course, Eric Gagne, the Brewers’ closer, blew the save, too, giving those 3 runs right back to Kosuke Fukudome, who launched himself into Cubs’ fans good graces with a game-tying 3-run blast. Then Bob Howry, the other reliever previously in the Cubs’ closer sweepstakes, failed to get the job done and allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 10th. David Riske held on for the Brewers in the 9th to pick up the save, with Gagne getting the win.
If the first game is any indication, the top two NL Central teams from last year continue to be evenly matched. The games between these teams should be fun.