Alec Mills throws no-hitter as Cubs beat Brewers
David Ross knew how much of a momentum lift Saturday’s come-from-behind win was. But he was well aware that the game was also in the past.
“The old saying, like you’re only as good as your next day’s starter. I think that plays into it as well, right?” Ross said prior to Sunday’s series final against the Brewers. “Alec Mills has gotta go out and set the tone early on. We’re gonna have confidence, we’re gonna have energy coming off last night with the off day the next day.”
Boy, oh boy, did Mills carry the momentum. Alec Mills threw a no-hitter, striking out 5 as the Cubs beat the Brewers 12-0. The last no-hitter by the Cubs was Jake Arrieta’s no-no in 2016 against the Reds. It’s the 16th no-hitter in Cubs’ history.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Mills said. “I think it’s hitting me now. Just very overwhelmed. Obviously a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing and I’ll always remember it.”
Mills was stellar allowing just 3 baserunners – walks to Keston Hiura, Daniel Vogelbach and Ben Gamel. He had attacked the Brewers’ hitters all game, throwing first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 30 hitters he faced. He threw 114 pitches, 74 of them for strikes.
Throughout the season, Mills has tried to keep an even keel when he pitches and not ride the emotional roller coaster of a baseball season. But that task was difficult, especially as the magnitude of the moment grew.
“I can promise you it was not a small heartbeat,” Mills said. “Kinda had to take a seat and calm myself down. Actually went into my locker in between 8th and 9th inning. It was tough. I had to take a lot of deep breaths.
The Cubs offense supported Mills in the 4th with 5 runs, capitalizing on 2 Brewer errors in the inning.
Kyle Schwarber walked with one out, Javy Báez reached on a fielder’s choice that advanced Schwarber to second and Jason Heyward doubled on a looping ball to left field to score Schwarber. Jason Kipnis reached on a grounder that Hiura misplayed at second base, allowing Báez to score and Heyward to advance to third.
Victor Caratini added an RBI-single and two batters later Ian Happ added a 2-run single.
They added 4 more runs in the 5th, including 2 on a Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly.
Báez, who fielded the final out of the game, tagged up from second to third on the fly ball and then darted home to score. It was a strange play, one that Brewers manager Craig Counsell protested and was later ejected for.
“There’s no fans and you can hear everything,” Báez said. “They were just saying, ‘Check second, check second.’ And [Brewers third baseman Eric Sogard] just turned his back on me. I was making sure he was releasing the ball and when I faced towards the catcher, he wasn’t even at the plate, so that’s when I knew I had it.”
Caratini added RBIS in the 7th and 9th. He had an RBI-double in the 7th that scored Heyward and an RBI-groundout in the 9th that scored Heyward. David Bote added a sacrifice fly in the 9th to score Kipnis.