Brewers can't complete sweep, lose to Cubs 8-2
Still, taking two out of three games from the Chicago Cubs was a nice turnaround for a struggling Brewers team that had lost its last four series.
An error by shortstop Edwin Maysonet allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh inning and the bullpen fell apart from there as the Brewers lost to the Cubs 8-2 on Sunday. The Brewers had beaten Chicago 10 straight games at home, a streak that dated back to last April.
"We're all upbeat," Brewers starter Marco Estrada said. "Obviously taking two out of three from anybody, it's a boost."
But now that the Brewers' starting rotation has been performing closer to expectations lately, manager Ron Roenicke wants to see the same from his bullpen.
"I still have confidence those guys can do the job," Roenicke said. "But they've got to get confident, too."
Maysonet is getting playing time in the wake of a significant knee injury to starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez and had a grand slam on Saturday. Roenicke didn't seem particularly bothered by the error, saying the Brewers still were in the game at that point.
"We just can't let it get away from us like it did," the manager said.
The Cubs won despite a relatively short outing from starter Jeff Samardzija, who threw 91 pitches in five innings despite giving up only one run on three hits and two walks. The converted reliever had won two straight coming into Sunday.
"You've got to give their lineup some kudos," Samardzija said. "They batted and made me throw a lot of pitches and kept fouling balls off. I felt all right. It was just one of those outings, we had to make some pitches and we had to work."
Struggling reliever Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless eighth, stranding Ryan Braun on third. Michael Bowden finished the ninth and Shawn Camp (1-1) earned the win.
Estrada went six innings, giving up five hits and two runs, both on solo homers. He didn't allow a baserunner in the first three innings.
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, when Braun reached on a walk, went to second on a single by Aramis Ramirez, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Corey Hart and scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Green. Ramirez went to third on a wild pitch, but Samardzija struck out Brooks Conrad to end the inning.
Ian Stewart's homer tied the game in the fifth, and the Cubs took the lead on Reed Johnson's pinch-hit homer in the sixth.
Hart made a diving catch of a deep line drive by Starlin Castro later in the sixth, preventing an extra-base hit and possibly saving Milwaukee a run with speedy Tony Campana on first.
Ramirez walked with two outs in the sixth and Hart doubled to put runners on second and third. Green then hit a grounder to shortstop and slid into first to beat the throw for an infield hit while Ramirez scored to tie the game.
But the Cubs regained the lead in the seventh when Stewart doubled, then scored when Maysonet threw high to first on a grounder by Darwin Barney. Stewart took third, then was awarded home plate on the error for a 3-2 lead.
A pair of Cubs errors — one by Stewart at third and the other by first baseman Bryan LaHair, who failed to catch a pickoff throw — put Cesar Izturis on third base with one out. But Barney threw out Izturis at the plate on a grounder to second by Norichika Aoki, and Jonathan Lucroy flied out to end the inning.
The Cubs added a pair of runs in the eighth when Campana walked, went to second on a fielder's choice and stole third. Brewers reliever Manny Parra walked LaHair, then unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Campana to score.
Alfonso Soriano doubled to score LaHair, and Soriano took third on another wild pitch, but Stewart grounded out to end the inning.
The Cubs added three runs in the ninth on an RBI double by Barney and RBI singles by Campana and Castro.
Kameron Loe (2-1) took the loss.
NOTES: Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, will go on a minor league rehab assignment this week. ... Aoki hit his first career triple in the third. ... Lucroy's nine-game hitting streak was snapped.
Last updated: 8:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012