Brewers fall victim to Cubs' offense

Brewers fall victim to Cubs' offense

CHICAGO -- Entering Wednesday, 21 of the Brewers' 26 games had been decided by three or fewer runs including 13 straight, their longest such streak in three years.

So much for that.

Starter Jeff Suppan missed his spots through one of the poorest starts of his career, and Derrick Turnbow struggled just as mightily in mop-up duty, surrendering 14 earned runs between them in the Brewers' 19-5 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Left fielder Ryan Braun drove in three runs before he and first baseman Prince Fielder were lifted in the fifth with the game "out of hand," as Braun put it. The Cubs scored mostly in bunches, getting six runs off Suppan (1-1) in the first inning, five more in the fourth against Suppan and reliever Brian Shouse and six more in the eighth against Turnbow.

In a quiet clubhouse after the game, the Brewers tried to forget about it.

"That's all you can do," Braun said. "It does no good to dwell on it or focus on it or make it anything more than what it is."

Said Jason Kendall, who caught all 217 Brewers pitches in a three hour, 33 minute game: "What's done is done. We'll just try to win the series."

It was a rout reminiscent of last Aug. 8, when Brewers pitchers surrendered 19 Rockies runs on 23 hits at Coors Field, 11 of the runs and 12 of the hits off starter Yovani Gallardo, who hopes for better luck against the Cubs in Thursday's series finale.

On Wednesday, the Cubs scored their 19 runs on 17 hits. They jumped to a 6-0 lead before Suppan recorded his second out, and extended the lead to 12-1 with five more runs in the fourth. Rookie catcher Geovany Soto hit a three-run home run in both innings and set a career high with six RBIs.

Suppan was charged with a career-high 11 runs, though three were unearned because of a fourth-inning error by third baseman Bill Hall. Eight of Chicago's nine starting players had a hit off Suppan, including Cubs starter and winning pitcher Ryan Dempster (4-0), who allowed three Brewers runs on four hits in six innings and worked around five walks. "It definitely was a tough one," Suppan said. "They were on the attack and I kept missing down the middle. It's my job to keep us in the game and I really didn't do that from the get-go. It comes down to location, and the more time you give a team, especially one like the Cubs, opportunities to swing at balls that are belt-high, then they can do a lot of damage."

Suppan surrendered hits to the first four Cubs batters he faced, falling into a 3-0 hole on consecutive doubles by Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. Kosuke Fukudome made the first out when he hit a line drive to left field. Braun nearly misplayed it, but made a leaping catch. Mark DeRosa then drew a walk, and Soto followed with his fourth home run of the season for a 6-0 Cubs lead.

The Brewers scored in the third on the first of Braun's run-scoring hits, but the Cubs answered right back in the bottom of the inning when Fukodome doubled off Suppan's right foot -- the baseball caromed past Fielder at first base -- and DeRosa followed with an RBI single. In the fourth, DeRosa hit another RBI single to knock Suppan out of the game, and Soto greeted Shouse with another three-run homer.

"Games like that can get away because, like they say, hitting is contagious," said reliever Seth McClung, who followed Shouse in the game and walked four batters, but limited the damage to one run on one hit. "It's almost like a phenomenon in baseball. Teams get going and it's hard to knock them off."

As McClung entered the game, manager Ned Yost sent up a symbolic white flag when he lifted his best two hitters. Mike Rivera, who later hit a two-run homer, replaced Fielder at first base, and pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn, Jr. remained in the game as a left-field replacement for Braun, who had just lined a two-run double.

The Brewers trailed, 13-5, when Yost handed the ball to Turnbow for an inning of mop-up in the eighth. He couldn't close the door, issuing four walks and allowing four hits and six Cubs runs, forcing Yost to use left-hander Mitch Stetter for the final out. Turnbow has issued at least one walk in each of his nine appearances, and his ERA is up to 15.63.

"I didn't want to use Shouse or Stetter, but they were for 'short looks,' a third of an [inning] apiece," Yost said. "It was just the way the night went. I don't think we ever got settled in as a pitching staff."

What did Yost say to Turnbow?

"I don't say anything to him," Yost said. "He had a rough night. He knows he had a rough night. He wasn't the only one."

"He'll be fine," Kendall said. "It was just that kind of night. He still throws the [heck] out of the ball."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.