Brewers: New-look Crew sputters at plate in loss to Cubs


On Opening Day, less than four months ago, Carlos Gomez led off for the Milwaukee Brewers and Aramis Ramirez was hitting cleanup.

Along the way, Gerardo Parra turned into a top-five hitter in the National League.

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On Friday night, with those three players now elsewhere, the Brewers learned that offense is going to remain a daunting challenge the rest of the way.

Milwaukee (44-60) managed Ryan Braun’s solo homer in the bottom of the first inning Friday night and the Chicago Cubs slowly chipped away at right-hander Taylor Jungmann en route to a 4-1 win at Miller Park.

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Scooter Gennett moved up to the leadoff spot and was 1-for-4. Shane Peterson started in center field and batted sixth, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Elian Herrera, just up from Triple-A Colorado Springs, batted eighth and played third base, going 0-for-3 with a walk.

“Offense, for any team, is a bunch of guys swinging the bat well together,” manager Craig Counsell told “We’ve lost a couple of guys. Up and down the lineup, we’re going to have to collectively get hot.”

Maybe Counsell could think about some more regular playing time for Jungmann, who was 2-for-2 with his first career double. He had two of Milwaukee’s seven hits.

The Cubs (55-47) tied the game in the top of the second, stringing together a walk and two singles, including a liner to left by Starlin Castro that brought in their first run.

Castro added an RBI groundout in the fourth to give Chicago the lead following singles by Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler.

The Cubs chased Jungmann (5-3) in the sixth. Soler reached second on a bad throw by Herrera to start the inning and scored on Addison Russell’s single to center field.

Neal Cotts got a strikeout to limit the damage.

But then Rizzo connected for his second homer in as many games in the series, taking Cotts deep to right field for his 19th of the season. It was Rizzo’s third straight game with a homer overall.

Braun’s home run in the first was also his 19th of the year.

Tyler Thornburg, recalled from Colorado Springs earlier in the day, allowed a hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings, his first major-league work since April 21.

Jason Hammel (6-5) improved to 7-0 lifetime against Milwaukee, scattering six hits in 5.2 innings and allowing just Braun’s homer. He walked two and fanned four.

Hammel is now 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in six career starts at Miller Park.

Jungmann also went 5.2 innings, allowing three runs—two earned—on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Justin Grimm got the final out of the sixth for the Cubs, with Jason Motte and Pedro Strop throwing a scoreless inning each before Hector Rondon finished for his 15th save.

Counsell said the final two months of the season will provide chances for younger players to prove themselves ready for full-time work in the majors.

“There are going to be some guys with opportunities,” Counsell said. “Those opportunities mean something. There’s going to be guys, that what happens going forward, is important. We’re going to have to make decisions on players, so how they perform will be important.”

The series continues Saturday at 6:10 p.m., with right-hander Matt Garza (5-11, 5.20 ERA) scheduled for Milwaukee and the Cubs expected to counter with right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.81).

Garza, who pitched for the North Siders from 2011-13, is 1-2 lifetime in four career starts against the Cubs, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.042 WHIP in 24 innings, fanning 26 batters.

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  • He took a no-decision in his only start against Chicago this season, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in a 3-2 Brewers victory at Miller Park on May 10.

    In his last start, Garza surrendered three runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of a 3-0 loss at Arizona on Sunday.

    Hendricks, in his first full season in the majors, is 2-0 in three career starts against Milwaukee, with a 0.98 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in 18.1 innings while striking out eight.

    He faced off with Garza in that May 10 game at Miller Park, allowing five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless innings.

    He had a no-decision on Monday, when he allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings of a 9-8 Cubs win over the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.

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