Five-run first costs Wood in opener vs. Crew
Starter's 2 2/3 innings set tone as Cubs produce too little, too late
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs ended their scoreless streak, but they could not muster enough runs to help Travis Wood, who found himself behind before most fans were settled into their seats at Miller Park.
Wood served up five runs in the first inning, and he was lifted after an ugly 2 2/3 innings in the Cubs' 11-5 loss Friday night to the NL Central-leading Brewers at Miller Park.
"That was a rough one," Wood said. "They had a game plan, and they stuck to it and they got me."
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer, and Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado each had three hits and two RBIs to pace Milwaukee's 16-hit attack and back Marco Estrada, who gave up six hits over six innings, including Nate Schierholtz's second homer of the year leading off the sixth.
This was Wood's shortest outing since Sept. 27, his final start of the 2013 season, when he went only one inning, but that was scheduled because the Cubs wanted the lefty to finish with 200 innings. On Friday, the abbreviated start was unexpected.
"They hit everything I threw up there, and it didn't matter what I threw," Wood said. "They were hacking early."
Wood needed 36 pitches to get through the first as the Brewers batted around. Jean Segura led off with an infield single that Wood deflected, and Braun followed off an 0-1 pitch with his eighth home run -- and first at Miller Park this year -- to open a 2-0 lead.
"Three pitches into it, I was two runs down," Wood said. "It's tough to get into a rhythm there. They got to me early and did what they need to do. That's a good team over there."
One out later, Carlos Gomez walked and scored on Khris Davis' double, and Weeks followed with an RBI single. One out later, Maldonado smacked an RBI double to make it 5-0.
"When you come out in the first inning like we did, that's outstanding," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It allows your pitcher to do some different things. Then we added two -- a lot of times we've been scoring in the first inning or second inning, and then we don't do much the rest of the game. I was really happy to see us turn around in the next inning and get another run, and then they just kept adding on. A lot of guys had big days today offensively."
With one out in the Brewers' second, Braun, Jonathan Lucroy and Gomez each singled, with Braun scoring on the latter hit to make it 6-0.
The Cubs were coming off back to back shutout losses to the Giants, and they had a 20-inning scoreless streak entering the game. Mike Olt, starting at first in place of Anthony Rizzo after Rizzo was given the night off, walked to open the Chicago third. Wood then singled, and Emilio Bonifacio followed with an RBI single to end the drought. Junior Lake reached on a fielder's choice as Bonifacio was forced at second while driving in Wood to make it 6-2.
Maldonado added an RBI single with one out in the third, and Wood got Estrada to ground out before he was lifted.
Wood was vying for his fifth win this month, something only three other Cubs pitchers have done in May in the past 20 years.
"He tried to battle back," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Wood. "Tough start for him today. It happens."
Wood gave up 10 hits, one short of his most allowed this year -- the Yankees got 11 against him over 5 2/3 innings on April 16. When things go wrong for the lefty, the problem is location.
"He stayed out over [the plate and] away," Renteria said. "When he's really good, he uses both sides of the plate. He has to be able to move guys off the plate a little bit, because his cutter becomes more effective when he can move it to both sides, especially [against] right-handers."
The most recent time Wood faced the Brewers, on May 18 at Wrigley Field, he held them to two runs on two hits over seven innings. In that game, the lefty said, he was able to command his pitches down and away, and he had success. Not this time.
"I've had two really, really rough starts," Wood said. "The White Sox [May 7] and this one. It kind of messes with you a little, but you know it's only two starts. It's a long season, and we've had plenty of good starts. I'll take the next four days and get back after it and come back the fifth day and give it everything we've got again."