MILWAUKEE (AP) - Darwin Barney knows the Chicago Cubs must get better defensively to win more consistently. And he knows that includes him.
Barney committed two errors in the fifth inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of the miscues with three runs en route to a 5-2 victory Friday night.
``You don't win championships without pitching and defense,' the second baseman said. ``There is no doubt about that. We're going to get better. We're going to be more fundamentally sound. As our defense gets better, our pitching will get better because we'll pick them up.
``There's a lot of room for improvement, that's for sure.'
Rodrigo Lopez (4-5) pitched well and gave up just two earned runs, four total, and five hits in six innings. He walked four and struck out five.
His defense let him down, however, as Barney failed to touch first base on a sacrifice bunt by Nyjer Morgan, and then his throw over the head of third baseman Aramis Ramirez allowed Morgan and Ryan Braun to score on Braun's RBI double that had already plated Corey Hart.
Starlin Castro homered to start a game for the first time in his career and Chicago went ahead 2-0 on Jeff Baker's double in the third after an error by Wolf, but backup Brewers catcher George Kottaras answered with a towering solo shot in the fourth.
In the fifth, Hart singled to extend his hitting streak to nine and Morgan laid down a bunt that Lopez fielded. Lopez's throw was just a little low and Barney, who moved from second base to cover first on the play, appeared to pull his left foot off the bag to field it, allowing Morgan to reach.
After a double steal, Braun followed with his double that hit the top of the wall, landing just below the yellow line. As Braun hustled to second, Barney took right fielder Reed Johnson's relay throw and fired over Ramirez's head into the Cubs dugout. Third base umpire James Hoye awarded both Morgan and Braun home to give Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.
``The first one was tough,' Barney said. ``I looked at the replay. I thought I was on there. I made a mistake of going back for (the base). Whether you're on there or not, when the play is moving quick, sometimes the umpire takes information from all different places. He's not in the wrong at all. That's just baseball. That's how the play has been called for a long time.'
``The second was a lack of judgment,' he said. ``I saw Nyjer kind of doing his thing over there, and I thought I could make something happen, and unfortunately I didn't and put us in a little hole.'
Cubs manager Mike Quade said Barney ``was trying to do too much.'
``You make mistakes, and you've got to try and play around them,' Quade said. ``He doesn't make many, but every so often those things happen. For Braun's extra-base hit and all the rest of it, if we make the bunt play we're in a lot better shape.'
The Cubs lead the majors with 110 errors. They are also second-to-last in the league in team ERA (4.53 entering play), so Lopez's outing was a good sign.
``I was trying to go deep in the game,' Lopez said. ``That's my thing. I'm throwing more innings. It's been a while. I feel good about it, but I need to keep working and hopefully my next start, go deeper than that and help my team to get a win and save the bullpen.'
``He threw well,' he said. ``He was keeping the ball down in the zone. He gave us a great opportunity to win that game. I am very happy about the way he pitched. ... I didn't get the job done out there behind him, didn't help him out. Unfortunately, along with me he has to wear that too.'
NOTES: Brewers starter Randy Wolf (11-8) won his fifth straight. ... The Cubs have lost six straight in Milwaukee. ... Ramirez doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. ... Saturday's matchup features Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA) against Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60).
The Associated Press News Service
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