Mike Fiers lights up Cubs with 12 Ks in 6-1 win


Last August, Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers struck out a career-high 14 batters while pitching the Crew to a win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

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It’s safe to say he likes the place after Fiers fanned 12 Cubs in six innings Saturday to pace the Brewers to a 6-1 victory and quiet talk about his place in the starting rotation—at least for five more days.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, via MLB.com, Fiers is the first visiting pitcher to have back-to-back games with double-digit strikeouts at Wrigley since Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo in 2010 and 2011.

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, meanwhile, is the only other pitcher with 26 or more strikeouts over consecutive starts at the Friendly Confines.

So was it important for Fiers to step up?

“I think so,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “You always start talking about things the longer it goes on. It’s probably not any different as far as us winning and losing. How long do you just sit there and watch? It gets difficult.”

Fiers became the last Brewer in the rotation to log a quality start after going six innings and allowing just a run on three hits with two walks. His only mistake was a solo homer surrendered to Anthony Rizzo with one out in the sixth.

Carlos Gomez, meanwhile, was true to his word about not having any restrictions upon being activated from the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Back in the leadoff spot Saturday, Gomez was 1-for-3 and stole a pair of bases—his first two thefts of the season.

He stole second and third off right-hander Jake Arrieta (3-2) and catcher Miguel Montero in the second inning.

“We know [Jake Arrieta] kicks his leg really high, so every time I see a guy that’s like 1.4 or 1.5 [seconds to home plate], it’s a really good opportunity to go,” Gomez told MLB.com. “I feel fine. I feel 100 percent to play my game, so you see it [Saturday]. I’m going.”

Gomez came out after six innings in favor of Logan Schafer, a move that Roenicke said was planned in advance. It has been a common strategy of Roenicke to not play guys a full nine innings when they are returning from leg injuries.

Schafer, meanwhile, helped contribute to some high comedy at Wrigley Field (and, hey, it’s the Cubs … there’s been plenty of that over the last 100 or so years), scoring on a Little League home run in the top of the ninth.

Schafer hit a harmless—seemingly, anyway—ground ball to shortstop, but Starlin Castro airmailed the throw. Rizzo recovered the ball a bit lackadaisically and Schafer sped toward third base. Rizzo’s throw was approximately four miles off line, allowing Schafer to jog home.

The Brewers got to Arrieta quickly, scoring twice in the first and putting up two more runs in the second.

Jean Segura reached with a one-out single and Ryan Braun followed with a line drive over the ivy in center field, his fifth homer of the season and his fourth in his last four games, to make it a 2-0 game.

May 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura (9) hits an RBI triple during the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

In the second, Martin Maldonado led off with a bloop single to center and, after being sacrificed to second by Fiers with one out, scored on Gomez’s single to right.

Gomez stole second and third and came home on Segura’s single to left.

Rizzo’s homer made it 4-1 in the sixth, but the Brewers added some insurance in the seventh off right-hander Gonzalez Germen.

Gerardo Parra led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Schafer’s sacrifice, then scored when Segura laced a triple to center.

Schafer’s amusing romp around the bases closed the scoring.

Almost lost in the din of Gomez’s running and Fiers’ pitching was Segura’s four-hit day. The former All-Star was 4-for-5 and raised his average to .298 on the season.

It was Segura’s third game of at least four hits, his first since May 28, 2013, when he was 6-for-7 in a 14-inning loss to the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park. His other four-hit effort was on May 11, 2013, when he was 4-for-5 in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

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  • The Brewer bullpen handled the final three innings, with Jeremy Jeffress working around a hit and a walk with two strikeouts in the seventh, Will Smith working a perfect eighth and fanning one and Francisco Rodriguez allowing a hit and striking out the side in a non-save situation in the ninth.

    Maldonado was also 2-for-4 on the day for the Brewers (6-18).

    Milwaukee wraps up the weekend series Sunday at 1:20 p.m., with Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 4.03) getting an opportunity to help the Brewers nail down their first series win of the season.

    Chicago (13-9) counters with right-hander Jason Hammel (2-1, 3.55).

    Nelson is 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA in four appearances, two of them starts, against the Cubs. Hammel, a 10-year veteran, is 5-0 in six career starts against Milwaukee with a 1.85 ERA.

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