Brewers' Josh Hader turns in one of the most dominant relief appearances of the season, strikes out all six Cubs he faces
The outing made Hader the first pitcher to strike out six in 2 1/2 IP or shorter three times
Brewers All-Star reliever Josh Hader turned in yet another fantastic performance on Monday, striking out all six Cubs batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings. However, it wasn't just the strikeouts there were impressive. It's who he struck out. Hader waved David Bote, Addison Russell, Daniel Murphy, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez in a one-run game. That's an absolute murderer's row, and Hader just ran through them.
The hold allowed the Brewers to get to Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth. Jeffress held the Cubs for his 11th save of the season -- stranding the tying run on second -- but Hader did a lot of the heavy lifting.
Hader set a few records with his outing. He set the Brewers' record for strikeouts by a reliever in one season with 127, and he became the first pitcher in MLB history to have three separate games in which he struck out at least six batters in 2 2/3 innings pitched or fewer.
Suffice it to say, his stuff was working.
Every Cubs batter struck out on a fastball. The first five went down swinging before Baez struck out looking. Hader started the outing with a three-pitch strikeout of Bote, and he ended it with a three-pitch K of Baez.
The win is huge for the Brewers, who now find themselves just a game back of the Cubs in the NL Central. And, to make matters worse for the Cubs, Hader did it all in 24 pitches -- 19 of which were strikes. The Cubs might not even be done with him in this pivotal series.
Hader now has 20 holds and 11 saves on the season. Alex Colome is the only other pitcher in MLB with at least 20 holds and 11 saves.
This was arguably the best relief performance of the year, especially given the importance of it. Going up against the teeth of a division leader's order up by one run in the seventh is a Herculean task for any pitcher. Now the Brewers have to win again to things up in the division. If the Brewers win the Central, this may be the outing we point back to.
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