MILWAUKEE (AP) - Ryan Dempster has had some of his best success against Milwaukee before one bad pitch put the Cubs in a modest hole. Chicago never recovered.
Dempster threw six solid innings after allowing three early runs and the Cubs failed to score in a bases loaded opportunity with no outs in the sixth in the Brewers 3-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday night.
Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer, but Chicago saw its season-best three-game winning streak snapped.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Dempster (7-8) allowed an RBI double to Ryan Braun before former Cubs prospect Casey McGehee added a two-run triple in the bottom of the inning that proved to be the difference.
``I made some good pitches in the first and had a chance to close the inning out. I left a pitch out over the plate and Casey hit in the corner for a triple. I didn't honestly think that that was going to be the difference in the game. It's unfortunate,' Dempster said. ``They did a good job of pitching we did a good job of pitching. We just couldn't score any runs.'
Dempster struck out seven over six innings, but took a rare loss to the Brewers. Since joining Chicago's rotation in 2008, Dempster is 11-2 with a 2.80 ERA against Milwaukee.
``We're playing good baseball. We played well tonight, we just got out-pitched,' Dempster said.
The offense certainly didn't help.
Chicago put runners in scoring position in the second, fifth, sixth and ninth innings, but finished 0 for 6 in those situations at the plate as Milwaukee's bullpen of Kameron Loe, LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford went four scoreless innings, allowing just two baserunners.
In the sixth, Brewers starter Chris Narveson (7-6) left without getting an out when Geovany Soto singled, Marlon Byrd doubled and Carlos Pena walked, but Loe helped Narveson escape the jam thanks to two plays by McGehee at third.
First, McGehee threw out Soto at home off Alfonso Soriano's sharp grounder, and then started a rally-killing double play when Darwin Barney bounced another ball to the third baseman that the Cubs put on waivers in 2008.
``It boils down to the sixth ... that was the game,' Cubs manager Mike Quade said. ``When you've got bases loaded and nobody out, it's tough to come away empty there. ... Getting the ball out of the infield in that situation would have been huge.'
Chicago came into the series with high hopes for a team now 19 games under .500 with Quade even saying that they could make an unlikely run if they just strung together a bunch of wins on this 10-game road trip.
His team remains positive, too.
``As bad as we've played, people might think I'm crazing for saying we don't believe we're out of it. You're playing everybody in front of you and whether it's 12, 13 games - whatever it is,' Cubs right fielder Jeff Baker said. ``The division plays each other a lot and we've got all those teams in front of us. If we can win a series, that's a big thing. One series can slowly make up ground and come September, see where you're at.'
Notes: Dempster caught a sharp liner from Braun to end the fifth that would've hit him in the head if it wasn't for the pitcher's quick reaction. ... Cubs reliever Kerry Wood (sick) did not make the trip to Milwaukee for the first of this 10-game, three-city road trip. ... Chicago has given up 83 runs in the first inning, most in the majors. ... The Cubs have lost 31 games after leading, tied with Houston for most in the majors.
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