MILWAUKEE (AP) - Yovani Gallardo struggled with his control, and second baseman Rickie Weeks made a crucial error. Then a rally in the ninth inning came up just short.
This was one rough night for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Gallardo lasted just four innings and the Brewers went on to a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Chicago was leading 3-2 when Valbuena reached on a one-out error by Weeks in the fourth. He eventually came around to score on Anthony Rizzo's two-run single, helping the Cubs take control.
``I have to do my job first,' Gallardo said. ``It's kind of tough for the defense to be ready when I'm out there struggling with my command. I just have to make pitches and whatever happens after that, it's out of my hands. The guys behind me, they don't want to make mistakes. It's not like they're doing it on purpose.'
Scott Feldman pitched six solid innings for Chicago, which is tied with Milwaukee for last place in the NL Central. Valbuena, Starlin Castro and Brian Bogusevic had two hits apiece.
Feldman (7-6) gave up three runs and six hits in his first victory this season against an NL Central opponent. He retired 11 of his last 14 batters.
``He'll manage an inning when things start to go a little haywire,' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ``He ends up giving up one run a lot of times instead of a crooked number. He manages the inning as well as anybody on this team.'
Gallardo (6-7) was charged with five runs, three earned, and eight hits. He walked four and struck out five.
``Tough outing for him,' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``His command was just off. He made some good pitches, but he didn't have the consistency. Usually even when he gets high pitch counts and he's a little off on his command, he still keeps us in the ballgame better than he did tonight. But we also didn't play very good behind him.'
Gallardo came into the game with a 21-inning streak of not allowing an earned run. After escaping a first-inning jam, his streak was snapped when he gave up two runs in the second.
``The ball was up,' Gallardo said. ``I was leaving it up in the zone and that's what led to the big hits they got. I felt good but that was the main thing, leaving the ball up in the zone.'
The Brewers managed to rally against Kevin Gregg in the ninth. Juan Francisco started the inning with a homer and Rickie Weeks followed with a double. Weeks advanced to third on Logan Schafer's sacrifice and then was thrown at home when he tried to score on Yuniesky Betancourt's bouncer to third baseman Valbuena.
``That's what he's supposed to do, go on contact,' Roenicke said. ``We've been hitting balls right at people, so when we hit a ground ball right at them and we don't have a chance to score. I don't know if it's luck or what, but we're hitting ground balls right at people. We're trying to get the ball in the air. The big thing is you should try to get it in the air.'
Pinch hitter Scooter Gennett then hit a drive that Nate Schierholtz hauled in at the wall in right.
``The bottom line is if we win by one, great,' said Gregg, who earned his 12th save in 12 chances. ``You don't want to give up any runs but you want to win, that is the first and foremost thing as you go out there.'
Brewers slugger Aramis Ramirez got his 2,000th career hit with a solo home run in the second inning. Ramirez, who ranks 15th in hits among active players, added an RBI single in the sixth inning.
NOTES: The Brewers optioned Gennett to Triple-A Nashville after the game and selected the contract of first baseman Sean Halton from their top minor league club. ... Brewers OF Carlos Gomez missed his second straight game with a left shoulder sprain. Gomez was injured Sunday when he crashed into the outfield wall while making a diving catch. ... Bogusevic made his Cubs debut after his contract was selected Tuesday from Triple-A Iowa after reliever Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment. ... Weeks extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the fourth. ... The Cubs snapped a nine-game losing streak at Miller Park.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved