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Brewers 9, Cubs 7: The Adrian Sampson question has an answer

It was curious that Sampson was lifted early. But we now have a reason.

Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A lot of things happened in the Cubs’ 9-7 loss to the Brewers Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee, but the thing I wondered about all afternoon was this: What was David Ross’ thought process in lifting Adrian Sampson with one out in the fourth inning, no one on base and a 2-1 lead?

Here’s the explanation:

Unfortunately, four hitters in a row got hits off Sean Newcomb, the big blow a two-run homer by Christian Yelich that gave the Brewers a 5-2 lead.

There were some good things that happened in this game, so let’s look at some of them.

The Cubs took a lead in the top of the first. Seiya Suzuki walked with one out, and one out later Franmil Reyes also walked.

Nico Hoerner’s single scored Suzuki to make it 1-0 Cubs [VIDEO].

In the bottom of the first, Yelich led off with a single that he tried to stretch into a double, but Nelson Velázquez said, “Not today!” [VIDEO]

The Cubs made it 2-0 in the second. Zach McKinstry walked and two outs later, Nick Madrigal also walked. A single by Suzuki scored McKinstry [VIDEO].

The Brewers scored a run off Sampson in the third, but not before Nico made this slick defensive play [VIDEO].

After that, the aforementioned lifting of Sampson and Newcomb’s meltdown happened in the fourth and Milwaukee took a 5-2 lead.

Ian Happ led off the fifth with his 34th double of the year, and one out later Nico lined this ball out of the yard [VIDEO].

It didn’t go very high or very far, but high and far enough:

So the Cubs are back to within one at 5-4, but Newcomb gave up another long ball, this one to Kolten Wong with a runner on base, gave the two runs right back to Milwaukee. It would seem to me that Newcomb isn’t going to be part of this team going forward. It might have been worse in the bottom of the fifth if not for more good defense from Hoerner [VIDEO].

It’s 7-4 heading to the sixth, then, and Luke Farrell, who had relieved Newcomb and finished off the fifth, got hit pretty hard. I’ll spare you the carnage, but it was 9-4 Milwaukee heading to the seventh.

The Cubs did not quit, though. Franmil Reyes doubled leading off the seventh and went to third on a fly to right. He scored on a sac fly by Yan Gomes [VIDEO].

Farrell managed to get out of the seventh 1-2-3, and my friends, that was the first (and only) 1-2-3 inning of the game.

Rowan Wick, who got hit really hard Saturday night, threw a scoreless eighth and then the Cubs did their best to try to make it a game in the ninth. Happ led off with a single and then Reyes put one in orbit [VIDEO].

Love the bat flip! That one DID go a long way:

Nico followed with a single, his third hit of the game, but Gomes was called out on strikes.

Willson Contreras was sent up to bat for McKinstry. Now, if this were one of those “happy ending” stories, I would be telling you that Contreras hit a game-tying home run and the Cubs went on to win.

But he didn’t.

Instead, he hit into a game-ending double play [VIDEO].

As noted above, Sampson (and Justin Steele) won’t accompany the Cubs to Toronto for the series that begins Monday evening. Steele, as a regular rotation starter, likely won’t be able to be replaced on the active roster, but Sampson (apparently) will. When the roster replacement for Sampson is announced Monday, I’ll post here as to who it is.

Javier Assad, who had a nice MLB debut last week at Wrigley against the Cardinals, will start Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays. Toronto will counter with Jose Berrios. Game time Monday is 6:07 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.