LIVE: Baker drives in fourth run, Cubs lead 6-4

440572.jpg

LIVE: Baker drives in fourth run, Cubs lead 6-4

Friday, April 8, 2011
Posted: 11:12 a.m.
Associated Press
The Milwaukee Brewers have turned things around at home after a slow start, but they haven't enjoyed any recent visits from the Chicago Cubs.

Milwaukee will try to win its fourth straight Friday night when it opens a three-game series against the Cubs, who send Carlos Zambrano to the mound looking to win his seventh straight decision at Miller Park.

The Brewers (3-4) were expected to contend in the NL Central, but opened the season with four straight losses.

However, Milwaukee has moved within a game of .500 after closing a four-game set against Atlanta with a 4-2 win Thursday. Nyjer Morgan scored the go-ahead run in the second while Shaun Marcum overcame some early struggles to pitch six effective innings.

"Things can sure change in a hurry and hopefully this gets us rolling," first-year Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

Improved play against Chicago could help the Brewers realize their playoff dreams. The Cubs went 6-3 in Milwaukee last season and have won nine of the last 13 there.

However, it won't be easy for the Brewers against Zambrano (0-0, 4.50 ERA). The right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last seven starts at Miller Park, including a no-hitter in 2008 against the Astros in a game relocated there because of a hurricane in Houston.

"I'm a big believer in history repeating itself," Chicago manager Mike Quade told the Cubs' official website. "I love going to Milwaukee and playing there or playing them here. It's a nice rivalry. ... I'm always excited to play those guys, and hopefully 'Z' will set the tone and it'll be good."

Despite Zambrano's success, the Brewers' Prince Fielder is hitting .341 with five doubles, two home runs and 14 walks in 41 at-bats against him. Fielder went 4 for 7 with four RBIs in the final two games against the Braves, raising his average from .176 to .292.

Zambrano, who's had a history of cramps, said he's feeling fine after leaving with them in the seventh inning against Pittsburgh on Saturday. He gave up three runs in six innings of the 5-3 victory.

A successful and healthy Zambrano is particularly important after news broke Wednesday that starters Randy Wells (right forearm strain) and Andrew Cashner (strain in right rotator cuff) would be headed to the 15-day disabled list.

This contest begins a nine-game road trip for Chicago (3-3), and includes stops in Houston and Colorado. The Cubs lost the finale of a three-game set to Arizona 6-4 Wednesday after dropping two of three to Pittsburgh last week.

"There was a lot of good to take out of what I saw on this homestand," Quade said. "I would have liked to have taken all that good stuff and been 5-1 or 4-2, but that's OK."

Randy Wolf (0-1, 13.50), who opposed Zambrano in the no-hitter, will take the mound for the Brewers.

Making his season debut against the Reds on Sunday, Wolf allowed up six runs and 10 hits - including two home runs - in four innings of a 12-3 loss.

The left-hander lost both starts against the Cubs last season, but pitched well on Sept. 11, giving up one run and four hits in eight innings of a 1-0 defeat.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Definitive proof that Carl Edwards Jr. is one of the filthiest pitchers on the planet

Definitive proof that Carl Edwards Jr. is one of the filthiest pitchers on the planet

Carl Edwards Jr. didn't get a save or a win Monday night, but he was easily the most impressive pitcher on the field for the Cubs.

The 25-year-old right-hander came on in the sixth inning in relief of Eddie Butler and carved through the heart of the Nationals order, needing only 13 pitches to strike out Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

For starters, Joe Maddon deserves plenty of credit for deploying Edwards in an integral spot, even if it was so early in the game. But the Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead at the time and Maddon didn't want Butler to face the Washington order for a third time, so Edwards was the call to keep things close.

And that's exactly what Edwards did in dominant fashion. It was the fourth time this season he struck out three batters in an inning, but in the previous instances, he needed at least 16 pitches to do so.

Here is the complete sequence from Edwards to the three helpless Nats (for one inning, at least):

Harper was also locked in at the plate at the time, as it was his only strikeout in the last two games in which he's collected six hits in eight at-bats.

Edwards has been rolling this season with a 1.72 ERA and sparkling 0.82 WHIP. He has 44 strikeouts in 31.1 innings, ranking 18th in baseball in K/9 (12.64).

Since giving up three runs in an outing June 14 against the Mets, Edwards has not allowed a run in five innings, striking out seven batters and surrendering only two singles and a pair of walks.

Kyle Schwarber has rocky start to Triple-A stint

Kyle Schwarber has rocky start to Triple-A stint

The Cubs gave Kyle Schwarber time to sort things out by sending him down to Triple-A Iowa, and Schwarber's first game back in the minors shows he may need some time.

Schwarber's first game with the Iowa Cubs was a forgettable one. He struck out in his first three plate appearances before singling in his last at-bat. He struck out looking in the first inning before striking out swinging his next two times up.

Schwarber batted third in the lineup and played left field. Iowa won 1-0 against the New Orleans Baby Cakes.

He last played for Iowa in 2015, but only spent 17 games there. He hit .333 with three homers and a 1.036 OPS in that short stint. Before getting sent down Schwarber was hitting .171 with the Cubs with 12 home runs, but also 75 strikeouts in 64 games.