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Two homers not enough to engineer comeback

Barney, Lake go deep; Samardzija lasts five frames, still winless in '14

CHICAGO -- As far as Cubs manager Rick Renteria was concerned, Jeff Samardzija didn't need a win to prove how well he's pitched this year. But Samardzija made it clear he wants to end the winless streak, which reached 15 games on Friday.

The Brewers extended Samardzija's bizarre streak, posting a 4-3 victory over the Cubs, who didn't make it easy on the right-hander with a season-high three errors.

"No, I'm not happy about it," Samardzija said of the lack of wins, despite having one of the best ERAs in the game. "It's not like it goes unnoticed. I want to win. Being a starting pitcher, you have a big say in how the game turns out.

"Obviously, if my record isn't what I'd like it to be, I need to do a better job. I'll go back to the film, watch what happened. You can't forget to tip your hat to Milwaukee. They're playing well right now and put together some good at-bats. There's some things we need to improve on, and we'll go to the film and go to the bullpen and work on it and be ready to go next start."

Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer and Junior Lake added a solo shot for Chicago, but it wasn't enough to help Samardzija, who gave up four runs (two earned) over five innings.

"He may not have any victories on his record sheet in wins and losses, but for me, he's won every single time he's gone out there," Renteria said.

Samardzija began the day with the second-best ERA in the NL at 1.45, trailing the Reds' Johnny Cueto, and that rose to 1.62 after Friday's start. Samardzija also had the second-lowest run support average.

"It's too bad," Barney said. "I think when he comes out every fifth day, and pitches and competes ... we want nothing more than to give him some run support."

The Brewers were a tough assignment, entering the series leading the National League Central. The Cubs made it even easier for them with two errors in the first that led to two runs. Jean Segura was at second with two outs when Jonathan Lucroy singled to left after a 12-pitch at-bat. Segura scored, and Lucroy reached second on a fielding error by Lake, who overran the ball in left. Lucroy then scored on a throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro on Lyle Overbay's grounder.

"I just tried to throw the ball right away," Castro said. "It's cold and sometimes you don't grab it pretty good, and you try to catch it and throw right away."

Elian Herrera doubled to open the second inning, and one out later, Logan Schafer walked. Both advanced on a passed ball by catcher Welington Castillo, and then scored on Segura's single. Samardzija threw 50 pitches over the first two innings.

The 4-0 lead was just what Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke hoped for.

"Any time [Samardzija] is pitching, you're thinking your pitcher better be very good and keep them down or you're going to have a tough time winning," Roenicke said.

With one out in the Chicago second against starter Kyle Lohse, Nate Schierholtz singled and Barney followed with his second homer to make it 4-2. Lake led off the third with his fifth homer to make it 4-3.

The Cubs had runners at first and third in the third, but Lohse got Castillo to hit into a double play. Lohse gave up seven hits over seven innings, and he retired the side in order in his last four innings.

"You've got to give yourself a chance," Renteria said. "The only way to give yourself a chance is to execute. It doesn't mean you're going to score a run, but we gave ourselves a chance."

Both teams had to deal with unseasonably cold weather, as the game-time temperature of 38 degrees made it feel more like November than mid-May. Some areas around Chicago had snow.

"We call that lake effect snow, right?" Samardzija said. "I walked out this morning, same ol' day, went and got some breakfast, and just grabbed the clothes further on the right side of my locker that are a little longer sleeved and a little thicker. We're used to that by now."

Samardzija's next start will be Wednesday against the Yankees in an Interleague game at Wrigley Field. He will have broken down film of his start by then.

"We have to pick it up for him," Castro said. "He pitches a great game. We keep grinding, we keep grinding, and we'll see if next start, we do something more."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Junior Lake, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija