CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs were on their way to salvaging the second game after dropping the opener, right until the ball popped out of shortstop Starlin Castro’s glove.
Just like that, a split became a sweep. And the Cubs were left shaking their heads after another disappointing loss.
Jeff Bianchi delivered a two-run single off Castro’s glove with two out in the ninth to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs and a day-night doubleheader sweep on Tuesday.
“I saw the ball come off his bat and said, `OK, I’ve got it,” Castro said.
Turns out he didn’t. The tying and go-ahead runs scored on the play, and the Brewers pulled out the nightcap after losing starter Yovani Gallardo to a tight left hamstring in a 6-5 victory earlier in the day.
In the second game, the Brewers got six scoreless innings from Tyler Thornburg and a leadoff homer from Juan Francisco in the fifth. But they had to rally after David DeJesus delivered a two-run double off Burke Badenhop following a pair of errors in the seventh.
Chicago took a 2-1 lead to the ninth, but closer Kevin Gregg (2-3) couldn’t hold it.
He gave up a leadoff single to Francisco and an infield hit to pinch-hitter Jean Segura with two out before walking Logan Schafer on what the Cubs thought was strike three.
Then, Castro decided to dive for Bianchi’s soft liner to deep short when he might not have needed to, and the ball hit off his glove, allowing two runs to score.
DeJesus made a lunging catch in deep center to rob Jonathan Lucroy and end the rally.
Castro said the ball wasn’t hit quite as hard as he thought. Even so, he insisted he made the right call by diving.
“I was running hard,” he said. “I can’t stop. I stretched it out the best I can.”
Bianchi’s hit made a winner of Badenhop (2-3), who gave up two unearned runs in two innings.
Jim Henderson worked the ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances and second of the day. He also survived a wild ninth in the opener.
In his first start this season and seventh appearance, Thornburg allowed just four hits and struck out six while walking three.
Jake Arrieta went six innings in his Cubs debut, allowing one run and two hits. He was acquired in the deal that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore this month, but manager Dale Sveum said he will be sent back to the minors after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa.
In the opener, Segura hit a solo homer and the go-ahead double, Khris Davis added a three-run shot, and the Brewers rallied for a 6-5 victory over Chicago after Yovani Gallardo left with a hamstring problem in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday.
“We’ve been in so many heartbreaking games,” Chicago starter Carlos Villanueva said.
He mentioned the Cubs trading away Alfonso Soriano. They’ve also dealt Matt Garza and Scott Feldman, and Villanueva acknowledged he could be traded before Wednesday’s non-waiver deadline.
“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” he said.
And few outside Milwaukee will probably be shedding any tears for the Brewers, who received another blow while pulling out this victory.
Gallardo’s status is up in the air after he hobbled off the field with tightness in his left hamstring in the fifth inning.
Manager Ron Roenicke said the team will know more after Gallardo is examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch on Wednesday.
“We’re not sure as far as length of time,” Roenicke said.
Davis’ homer in the seventh on the first pitch from reliever James Russell (1-3) wiped out a 5-2 deficit, and Segura capped the four-run rally with an RBI double, giving the Brewers a 6-5 lead.
Milwaukee survived a major scare after Jim Henderson came on in the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro walked with two out and Welington Castillo barely missed a winning homer, driving a 2-0 pitch just foul beyond the left field wall. He wound up walking before pinch-hitter Cody Ransom flied to center, giving Henderson 13 saves in 16 chances.
Segura and Yuniesky Betancourt hit solo homers as Milwaukee built a 2-0 lead, but that unraveled in the fifth.
The Cubs tied season highs with five runs and six hits in the inning, while Gallardo limped off the field with tightness in his left hamstring.
He came up clutching his leg after delivering a 1-2 pitch to Darwin Barney with two out and the bases loaded and immediately left the game.
Barney delivered a tying two-run single off John Axford, and Castillo, Carlos Villanueva and David DeJesus followed with run-scoring singles to make it 5-2.
Gallardo, whose name has come up in trade rumors, allowed three runs and six hits. He first felt pain in the hamstring in the fourth, when he made a diving catch on Villanueva’s bunt.
After Axford got knocked around, Rob Wooten (1-0), Brandon Kintzler and Michael Gonzalez each pitched a scoreless inning before the Cubs threatened against Henderson.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Villanueva said. “It’s a heartbreaking loss. It’s frustrating.”
NOTES: Although Jeff Samardzija’s name has surfaced in trade rumors, Sveum said he thinks it’s “very, very far-fetched” that he gets dealt before Wednesday’s deadline. Samardzija, 6-9 with a 3.75 ERA, is not scheduled to become a free agent until after 2015. … Cubs RHP Scott Baker (Tommy John surgery) continued to struggle in his fourth minor league rehab start on Monday, giving up three hits and two runs in 3 1-3 innings for Class A Daytona. … Roenicke said he didn’t expect any deals before the deadline. … RHP Edwin Jackson (6-11, 4.89 ERA) starts Wednesday for the Cubs, and RHP Wily Peralta (7-10, 4.54) pitches for Milwaukee.