Cubs take down first-place Brewers again behind stellar pitching

Cubs take down first-place Brewers again behind stellar pitching
August 13, 2014, 9:45 pm
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Tony Andracki

Seven up, seven down for the Cubs starters.

The Cubs rotation has rattled off seven quality starts in a row and beat the first-place Milwaukee Brewers behind a rookie pitcher for the second straight night Wednesday in a 4-2 win in front of 31,191 at Wrigley Field.

Tsuyoshi Wada, the 33-year-old rookie southpaw from Japan, threw 6 2/3 shutout innings before allowing back-to-back homers to Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado in the seventh.

Wada — whose night was done after the longballs, allowing the two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five — picked up his second career victory.

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"He's throwing strikes. He's commanding the zone," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He's got a sneaky life to his fastball. He's able to elevate it when he wants. He uses his offspeed pitches very well. He's keeping the ball down.

"He's not missing like he was in the spring. Everything he's doing right now looks like everything he was doing in Triple-A, which is attacking the zone and mixing pitches."

Wada only throws 89-91 mph at his highest, but induced several late swings from a very solid Brewers lineup. Renteria and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer credit Wada's deception for his ability to throw the ball by the big-league hitters, using a two-seam fastball to change speeds and relying less on his four-seam fastball.

"He's been very good," Hoyer said before Wednesday's game. "He obviously has deception. There's no doubt about that. He throws a lot of pitches that might catch a lot of the plate, but he throws the ball by guys at 90 mph, which is impressive."

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At 33, Wada is already on the downslope of his prime years, but the Cubs will need guys who can give them quality innings, both for the rest of this year and moving forward.

Wada allowed five earned runs in his second big-league start on July 23, but in the other five starts, he's allowed only seven earned runs in 30.1 innings, good for a 2.08 ERA.

Does he think about trying to carve out a future in the Cubs' rotation?

"Right now, one game at a time is very important for me," Wada said. "I'm just doing my best for the Cubs to say, 'We want you for next season.'"