CHICAGO (AP) - Marco Estrada's struggles and a punchless offense doomed the Brewers.
Travis Wood pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and the Chicago Cubs got home runs from Welington Castillo and Mike Olt in a 4-2 victory over the Brewers on Sunday.
Estrada (3-2) went five innings, giving up four runs and seven hits: five doubles and two homers. In nine games this season, Estrada has served up 12 home runs, second most in the majors.
Estrada said he didn't have a feel for his pitches, especially his changeup, which he left up on Castillo's two-run shot in the second that gave the Cubs an early 2-0 lead.
The Cubs extended their lead to 3-0 in the third after Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena hit back-to-back doubles with two outs.
Olt hit his team-leading ninth homer in the fourth to make it 4-0.
'I was terrible. Plain and simple, terrible,' Estrada said. 'I got to figure things out. My off-speed pitches haven't been there and that's what's letting me down. Plain and simple, it's just a bad pitched game. I didn't even give the guys a chance.'
The Brewers looked ready to pounce on Wood in the first inning, when the left-hander's command was off. Milwaukee loaded the bases with three walks before Khris Davis swung at the first pitch and grounded out to end the threat.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke didn't have a problem with Davis swinging away because Wood was clearly trying to get ahead after three walks and a mound visit from Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. Roenicke was more bothered by his team's inability to capitalize on an early scoring chance.
'The first inning or two, when you have a pitcher in trouble, you need to get to them early,' Roenicke said. 'That's what happened with us (Saturday). They get some people on base, they got some big hits in that first inning, they scored the runs and that's all they needed. So when you get those opportunities early, you need to do something. We didn't get the big hit there.'
Wood (4-4) allowed two runs and struck out seven and the Cubs took two of three from the NL Central leaders to win a series for the second time this season.
'He attacked hitters, but his cutter was probably working well, he was locating down and away from what I could tell,' Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. 'When he locates down into the corners, he's really, really effective.'
The Brewers got their first hit on Logan Schafer's one-out double against Wood in the fifth. Two batters later, Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Brewers had been scoreless for 20 straight innings, since the second inning on Friday, and struck out 39 times in the three-game series.
'I don't like the free swinging, but that's just our personality,' Roenicke said. 'I would much prefer our guys be patient, get a pitch you want to hit, that's ideal. We don't have a lineup like that. Strikeouts go along with that. It's not something we teach and it's not something I like, but that's the personality we have.'
Hector Rondon earned his fifth save in five chances after allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Braun in the ninth for Milwaukee's third hit. The Brewers, who began the day with the NL's best record, have scored 11 runs in five games.
NOTES: Brewers OF Carlos Gomez missed the game due to a stomach ailment. He was scratched from the lineup Saturday due to lower back tightness. Gomez said his back was fine Sunday. ... Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez (left hamstring) said he will do some light jogging Monday or Tuesday. He went on the disabled list Tuesday. ... Brewers RHP Jim Henderson (right shoulder inflammation) threw about 25 pitches in a bullpen session and reported no pain. He said he'll throw a bullpen Tuesday or Wednesday and then possibly go on a rehab assignment. ... Brewers RHP Wily Peralta (4-2, 2.05 ERA) will start against Atlanta on Monday. The Cubs have Monday off before beginning a two-game series at home against the New York Yankees.
The Associated Press News Service
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