Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Crew blanked, swept by dominant Cubs

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

CHICAGO -- "We sent the bats to chapel," Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced Sunday morning, hoping a little religion might help. He was joking, but the idea sounded as good as any after a 2-0 loss to the Cubs completed Chicago's four-game series sweep.

Tyler Chatwood delivered the tie-breaking single off Brewers starter Zach Davies and pitched seven scoreless innings, combining with Carl Edwards Jr. and Brandon Morrow to blank the Brewers at Wrigley Field in what Counsell called "a carbon copy of the last couple of days."

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- "We sent the bats to chapel," Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced Sunday morning, hoping a little religion might help. He was joking, but the idea sounded as good as any after a 2-0 loss to the Cubs completed Chicago's four-game series sweep.

Tyler Chatwood delivered the tie-breaking single off Brewers starter Zach Davies and pitched seven scoreless innings, combining with Carl Edwards Jr. and Brandon Morrow to blank the Brewers at Wrigley Field in what Counsell called "a carbon copy of the last couple of days."

View Full Game Coverage

Milwaukee fell to 1-7 this season against the Cubs, including five shutout losses. Three of those came in this series, when the Brewers' offense amounted to a pair of would-be home runs on Friday that were knocked back to Earth by a stiff wind for sacrifice flies.

The Cubs were not exactly the 1927 Yankees, either. They scored nine total runs in dealing the Brewers their first four-game losing streak in franchise history in which Milwaukee pitchers surrendered three or fewer runs in each game.

Video: MIL@CHC: Counsell on offensive struggles in the loss

"Going into this series, you knew it was going to be this kind of series," said Counsell. "In these games, you have to somehow scratch across the run. It's stringing a couple of hits together. It's advancing a runner. It's stealing a base. It's taking advantage of a defensive mistake.

"They did it, and we didn't."

The Brewers tallied 14 hits in the four-game series, including two apiece in the final two games, marking the first time since 1974 that they were held to two or fewer hits in consecutive games.

The Cubs, meanwhile, won four straight games with three or fewer runs in each of them for the first time since at least 1908.

Coming into the series with eight straight wins over the last-place Reds, Marlins and Royals, Milwaukee didn't muster a single earned run against Chicago starters Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana and Chatwood, who combined to allow one unearned run on 11 hits in 27 innings. Chatwood walked three batters on Sunday but surrendered only two hits, and he didn't face a runner in scoring position after Lorenzo Cain walked and stole second base in the top of the first inning.

Video: MIL@CHC: Brewers on the loss, tough series with Cubs

Ryan Braun also reached in the inning on an infield single before Shaw hit a bouncer to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for an inning-ending double play.

"Our pitching staff did a tremendous job all weekend. We just couldn't score any runs," said Shaw. "It's tough to score runs here when the wind is blowing in. We're kind of a home run-hitting team, and we need to find other ways to score when the home run's not there."

Brewers hitters' troubles against the Cubs actually go back to Miller Park. Since winning a walk-off against the Cubs in Milwaukee on April 6, the Brewers have scored four runs against Chicago pitching in six games. That's four one-run rallies ... and 50 scoreless innings.

Tweet from @travis_shaw21: I���m not gonna steal @AaronRodgers12 ���relax��� so I���ll just go with.. ���C...H...I...L...L��� 😎

"Our games [against the Cubs] are always tight, they're always going to be competitive," said Davies. "We just have to find that edge. No mistakes. It's that 'A' game throughout the series in order to take games from them. … It requires more focus. It requires an attitude that, 'We're going to go out there, try to score on them early and punch them in the mouth.' Set the tone.

"We struggled in this series, but we have the rest of the season."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The pitch that slipped, Part I: Davies did his job by holding the Cubs to two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, with two walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts. He didn't allow a run until the fifth inning, when Addison Russell led off with a triple into the right-field corner and scored two batters later when Davies hung a breaking ball to Chatwood for a go-ahead single.

"It slipped, and it was a bad pitch," Davies said. "I hung it right over the plate. … For them, that was enough today."

Video: MIL@CHC: Chatwood rips an RBI single up the middle

The pitch that slipped, Part II: After Chatwood buzzed Cain with an inside fastball in the top of the sixth that hit the handle of Cain's bat -- the Brewers challenged, unsuccessfully -- Davies hit Rizzo with a first-pitch fastball with one out and the bases empty in the bottom of the inning. It proved a costly plunking, as Rizzo came around to score the Cubs' second run.

Video: MIL@CHC: Russell extends lead with sacrifice fly

"I know Rizzo was [upset] that I hit him, but it's 1-0 in a tight series," Davies said. "It's not on purpose."

HE SAID IT
"When you can play somebody in your own division eight times and do well, that's always a boon. They came in winning eight in a row. We'll take it. I have a lot of respect for them. We didn't beat up their pitching, either. Don't be deceived here. They pitched really well, too. They played really well, too. We just happened to pitch a little better in the series. They're a very good ballclub, and we just happened to get them this time around. They're never to be taken for granted." -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon

Video: MIL@CHC: Davies strikes out Heyward swinging

OFFENSIVE OUTAGE
Counsell spent part of Sunday morning discussing the Brewers offense with reporters, who noted that players are passing the 100-plate-appearance plateau Counsell sometimes cites when talking about the line between a small sample and meaningful statistics.

"Look, second base, shortstop, catcher, right field, we just haven't got going yet," Counsell said. "We're going to have to get guys going. That's a big part of this. Those have been season-long things, not just the last three days. Certainly, it's important to get some spots in the lineup going."

As they headed for Cincinnati on Sunday night, Brewers catchers ranked 27th of 30 Major League teams with a .242 weighted on-base average, Brewers second basemen were 28th at .232 and Brewers shortstops were last at .206. The players who have primarily manned those positions are Manny Pina, Jett Bandy, Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard and Orlando Arcia.

The right fielders were 18th with a .297 wOBA, but that figure was brought down by Domingo Santana's .275.

Is it fair to start looking at personnel changes to improve production at some of those positions?

"Cases are individual, but yeah, I think that's fair," Counsell said.

UP NEXT
Two weeks after winning three of four games against the Reds at Miller Park, the Brewers will aim for more victories at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park beginning Monday night at 6:10 p.m. CT. Jhoulys Chacin, who has won his past two starts with a 1.54 ERA, starts the opener of the three-game set opposite Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Zach Davies