Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers followed up a solid first start on Saturday with an even better one on Thursday, striking out 14 batters in six scoreless innings as the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 to gain a split of the four-game series.
Fiers (2-1) limited the Cubs to three hits and a walk in six innings and became just the eighth pitcher since 1914 to strike out 14 batters in six innings of fewer. The others include:
- Sept. 18, 1966: Sam McDowell, Cleveland Indians, 6 IP, 14 K vs. Detroit
- July 25, 1989: Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers 6 IP, 14 K vs. Toronto
- April 27, 2001: Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs 6 IP, 14 K vs. San Francisco
- June 3, 2001: Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, 6 IP, 14 K vs. San Diego
- July 6, 2005: A.J. Burnett, Florida Marlins, 6 IP, 14 K vs. Milwaukee
- June 12, 2007: Kelvim Escobar, Los Angeles Angels, 6 IP, 14 K vs. Cincinnati
- May 30, 2010: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers, 5.2 IP, 14 K vs. Oakland
So, yeah, pretty heady stuff, considering Fiers is now on a list that includes a Hall of Famer and two former Cy Young Award winners.
The Brewers (67-55) got to Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (6-13) early and often.
Davis clubbed his 20th homer of the season with two outs in the top of the third to give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs (52-68) got their only two runs in the top of the seventh, both unearned.
Justin Ruggiano singled with two outs and Chicago wound up with runners at second and third after Herrera—starting at shortstop in place of Jean Segura—threw wildly on Welington Castillo’s ground ball. Pinch-hitter Chris Valaika then singled to left off left-hander Zach Duke to drive in both runs.
In his first two starts since 2013, Fiers has now allowed just one run on six hits with 19 strikeouts in 14 innings. The 14 strikeouts on Thursday were a career-high and marked his fourth double-digit strikeouts performance. He had struck out 10 batters three different times, the last against the Houston Astros on Sept. 30, 2012.
Herrera finished with three of Milwaukee’s nine hits, going 3-for-4.
The St. Louis Cardinals kept pace with the Brewers, beating San Diego 4-3 to remain two games out in the National League Central. The Cardinals jumped back into second place ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who lost at Detroit 5-2 and now trail Milwaukee by 2½ games.
The Brewers now head west for the weekend, opening a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Friday at 9:10 p.m. Central. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.00 ERA) gets the call for Milwaukee against right-hander Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.84 ERA).