MILWAUKEE -- The problem for the Cubs on Tuesday night wasn't jet lag because they are in the middle of an arduous stretch of playing on 23 consecutive days. The problem was Wade Miley.Miley held the Cubs to three hits over six innings in a sloppy 11-1 Milwaukee win at
MILWAUKEE -- The problem for the Cubs on Tuesday night wasn't jet lag because they are in the middle of an arduous stretch of playing on 23 consecutive days. The problem was Wade Miley.
Miley held the Cubs to three hits over six innings in a sloppy 11-1 Milwaukee win at Miller Park, and the Brewers now are three games back in the National League Central. How strange a game was this? The Brewers had no RBI hits until Christian Yelich's two-run double in the seventh, which opened a 9-1 lead.
"We got our butts kicked. That's basically what happened," Chicago's Albert Almora Jr. said. "You guys can panic. We won't do that. We'll take it day by day. We'll come on and play tomorrow and try to take a win. ... They came out hot today and they beat us."
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The Cubs are 10-5 on this extended stretch of games. This is the Cubs' first series loss since the Cardinals took two of three games, July 27-29.
"No, I honestly don't [think they're tired]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, when asked if the long trip was catching up to the players. "The vibe's good. Miley caught up to us today. He pitched really well. Last night, we had the game and gave it up late. Today, they just beat us and we got out-pitched."
Maddon has been rotating players in and out to give them rest. Daniel Murphy did not play Tuesday but will be back in the leadoff spot on Wednesday in the series finale.
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"We'll get more of the look of the lineup that we like with Murphy back in there, [Benjamin Zobrist] back in there and [Kristopher Bryant] in there simultaneously," Maddon said. "The other guys, I don't think are fatigued. We've been giving guys on and off pretty well. I think we just got beat today."
Chicago starter Mike Montgomery zipped through the first inning but needed 30 pitches to get through the second when the Brewers loaded the bases with two outs and a run scored on a wild pitch by the lefty during Miley's at-bat to tie the game at 1.
In the fourth, Erik Kratz hit a sacrifice fly to give Miley all the support he needed. Montgomery lasted four innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He's aware of how close the Brewers are in the standings.
"We have to play well to beat them," Montgomery said. "They're a good team. They always play well against us, they always have that chip on their shoulder. Tonight was their night. We understand where we're at as a team. We're a pretty confident group. I think we'll bounce back just fine."
In the Brewers' sixth, another run scored on a throwing error by shortstop Addison Russell and they tallied on a passed ball by Willson Contreras. It got worse when the Brewers loaded the bases and Dillon Maples hit Jesus Aguilar with a pitch to force in another run.
"We have to pitch better out of the bullpen," Maddon said. "This is September, you call up extra guys to not overuse anybody, and we didn't get the moments out of the guys. [When the score is] 2-1, 3-1, that's the game you want to keep it there."
Said Aguilar: "They made a couple mistakes and they paid the price. That's how this game goes. We got lucky there, too. We took advantage."
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With the loss, the Cubs are 4-5 at Miller Park this year, although they still lead the season series, 9-6, with four games remaining.
"They're just like us and they have a lot of fun and enjoy playing this game," Almora said of the Brewers. "It'll be an interesting finish. You guys will have a lot to write about, and we'll keep enjoying these games."
David Bote doubled to lead off the second for the Cubs' first hit of the game and moved up on Benjamin Zobrist's sacrifice. Bote then took advantage of a Brewers miscue, scoring on a fielding error by shortstop Orlando Arcia, who bobbled Contreras' grounder, then overthrew first. Contreras ended up on second base but was stranded.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo had to leave the game because of a contusion sustained in the third inning when he fouled a pitch off his right foot. X-rays were negative. Rizzo stayed in the game until the sixth, when he was removed in a double switch.
"He took one off the foot on a foul ball," Maddon said. "He was starting to get tight and definitely wanted to get him off his foot. He said he's good [for Wednesday]."
HE SAID IT
"I feel if we try to press and try to do too much, that's when things go sideways. We can't look at the scoreboard and think, 'Oh man, we need to score seven each inning.' These guys are really good, and not just these guys but everybody in this league. You look at the worst team in our division, Cincinnati, and they give us hard games. This is the big leagues at the end of the day, and it's a lot of fun to be here. As a competitor, I enjoy every minute of it. Right now I was talking to [Murphy] about how can I get better, how can we get better. It's just a process." -- Almora
"We stated at the beginning of this series, with six left against [the Cubs], we've got to win that six-game series pretty convincingly to get back in it. We're off to a good start. We've still got a bunch of games against other teams, too, but this is how we had to start it." -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell
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This key NL Central series wraps up Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT from Miller Park in the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day. Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.21 ERA) will start for the Cubs against Jhoulys Chacin (14-5, 3.53). These two pitchers squared off at Wrigley Field on Aug. 14, and Chacin threw seven innings in a 7-0 Brewers win. Quintana gave up five runs over five innings and took the loss in that outing. He's coming off a no-decision against the Phillies in which he gave up one run over six innings.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.