Cubs open homestand with sloppy loss to Brewers

Cubs open homestand with sloppy loss to Brewers
May 16, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Cubs refused to make excuses before the game about the frigid weather silencing their bats.

But can they blame their defense on the cold?

With temperatures below 40 degrees to start on a rain-soaked afternoon, the Cubs dropped the first game of their homestand 4-3 to the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers in front of 35,771 announced fans at Wrigley field.

The Cubs committed three errors in the first three innings of the game and together with a wild pitch and a passed ball, led to four Brewers runs (two earned).

"In the end, we have to execute," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "You have to give yourself a chance. The only way you can give yourself a chance is to execute."

[MORE: Matt Garza brings the energy to Brewers' clubhouse]

The four runs was enough for Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse. The veteran righty was a little sloppy to start the game, allowing seven hits in the first three innings, including a two-run homer by Darwin Barney and a solo blast from Junior Lake. But catcher Welington Castillo grounded into an inning-ending double play in the third with the tying run on third base.
"We were one hit away from tying it up and continuing that run," Barney said. "[The Brewers have] been playing pretty well. We did a good job of holding them where they were at the rest of the game and unfortunately, we couldn't put another one across for us."

Lohse retired 13 in a row before exiting the game, giving way to a pair of Milwaukee relievers that continued to keep Cubs hitters in check. Starlin Castro collected the only hit after the third — a single to lead off the ninth inning.

"That's baseball, man," Castro said. "You start good sometimes and then you go slow. You start slow sometimes and then you finish good."

Jeff Samardzija remains winless, starting his ninth game of the season and took the hard-luck loss. He wasn't as sharp as previous outings, but battled the weather and some shoddy defense to surrender just the two earned runs on six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out six.

Four Cubs relievers — Brian Schlitter, James Russell, Justin Grimm and Jose Veras — combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out eight.