Tuesday night was almost… really special, as Milwaukee Brewers starter Chase Anderson was going all “Don Larsen” on the Cubs. “Don Larsen?”…You know, as in throwing a perfect game. Larsen is probably the most recognized name of the 23 MLB pitchers to accomplish the feat (21 in modern era from 1900). Larsen threw his perfect game on the ultimate stage, game 6 of the 1956 World Series.
The last “perfecto” was the one “King” Felix Hernandez threw against Tampa Bay in the Mariners 1-0 win on 8-15-12… four seasons ago.
Back to Tuesday night. Whether watching a game on t.v. or in person there are just certain plays that give the viewer, attendee, or members of the press thoughts of pitching grandeur. Take for example first few innings last night when the Brewers defense made plays that usually coincide with games that end historically. The Crew’s defensive highlight reel began with Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ leaping grab of a Kris Bryant bomb to center field that may or may not have made it out of the park, the spectacular catch ended the Cubs first. Then in the third there was the 5-6-3 put out of Javier Baez for the first out of the inning. Baez’ sharply hit ball to third base deflected off of Aaron Hills leather into Jonathan Villar’s glove where he quickly dispensed of it throwing to Chris Carter on first for the out.
Anderson stayed perfect for 5 & 1/3 innings before walking Miguel Montero, and was un-hittable until giving up a towering double to Ben Zobrist on the first pitch of the 8th that got behind Nieuwenhuis in center. The Brewers still had 4 – 0 lead, and Anderson was positioning himself to become the 8th player in the Brewer franchise to pitch a one hitter, which would also result in the first complete game of his career.
It’s evident, even in the small sample size of the 2016 season so far, that Cubs are not going down without a fight. Back to back homers by Jason Heyword and Kris Bryant after two were out in the ninth proved that fact, and resulted in Anderson’s exit from his masterpiece.
The Crew still beat the north-siders 4-2 behind Johnathon Lucroy’s third home run in three consecutive games in the 4th, and RBIs by Ryan Braun and Chris Carter in the 6th. John Jefferess notched his 11th save in 11 attempts this season as he came in to retire Anthony Rizzo for the final out.
Anderson’s final line: 110 pitches, which was the most he had ever thrown in a game (109 previous) 70 went for strikes, he struck out 6, walked 1, and gave up 3 hits resulting 2 runs.
Both teams will go at it again Wednesday night at Miller Park.
(photos courtesy of: Yvonne Kemp, Morry Gash AP, UPI, sportsmockery, getty, grantland)