Cubs have no answers for Greinke, Brewers

Cubs have no answers for Greinke, Brewers

Cubs have no answers for Greinke, Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs might have had a chance if they faced Zack Greinke on the moon and not Miller Park.

The Brewers right-hander struck out 12 and gave up two hits over seven innings in Milwaukee's 8-0 win Wednesday night. Ryan Braun and Cody Ransom each hit RBI doubles in a four-run fourth inning and Taylor Green smacked a three-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth, the first of his Major League career, as the Brewers handed the Cubs their 12th loss in the last 13 games.

Greinke (7-2) improved to 15-0 in 21 starts at Miller Park and is the fourth starter since 1900 to win each of his first 15 home decisions with a team, joining Johnny Allen (Yankees, 1932-33), LaMarr Hoyt (White Sox, 1980-82) and Kenny Rogers (Athletics, 1998-99).

"He threw me something different every at-bat I went up there," said Chicago's Tony Campana, who struck out three times against Greinke and once more in the eighth. "He challenged me my first at-bat, the next at-bat he started me off slow, and the last at-bat he did something totally different again. He was on today, and I wasn't."

Greinke, who said he likes being home, in part because the coffee is better than in hotels, gave up a double to Alfonso Soriano leading off the second and another by Starlin Castro with one out in the third. He showed he was human by walking two.

The Cubs set a season high Tuesday by striking out 14 times, but topped that Wednesday, when they fanned 15 times.

"If you're going to strike out that many times in back-to-back nights, you're not going to put many runs up, that's for sure," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Greinke, that's about as good as he's going to get down in the zone. He had command of all his pitches. That was pretty dominant, obviously.

"We didn't put together any good swings or anything. He kept the ball down and away, he kept his breaking ball down."

Paul Maholm (4-5) is now winless in his last five starts. He served up four runs on six hits and was pulled after throwing 81 pitches over four innings. He has pitched past the sixth once in his last five games.

"I've got 20-something starts left, and trust me, I'm not happy, I'm not having fun," Maholm said. "It's time for me to get deeper in the games on a consistent basis."

The lefty may need to work on his hitting. The Cubs' best chance against Greinke came in the second, when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Maholm struck out to end the inning.

"That was really bad pitching on my part," Greinke said of the inning. "I was mad about it, probably for a couple of innings."

He didn't like walking Darwin Barney and was even more mad that he walked Ian Stewart. He then almost balked in a run when he crossed signals with catcher Martin Maldonado with Maholm at the plate. It took three more pitches after the misfire for Greinke to catch Maholm looking at a 94-mph fastball for his third strikeout of the game.

"I ended up wasting about 20 pitches in the process," Greinke said.

He was just getting warmed up.

"It's no fun to go up against him," Maholm said. "Obviously, we played well [Tuesday] night and weren't able to carry it over to today. [Greinke] pitched a good game with a bunch of punchouts and a couple hits. You tip your cap to him, and I've got five days to think about it."

Maholm cruised through the first three innings. Norichika Aoki doubled to lead off the Brewers' fourth and scored one out later on Braun's double. Corey Hart was safe on a single that third baseman Stewart knocked down, and one out later Ransom hit an RBI double. Brooks Conrad followed with a two-run single for a four-run lead.

"He couldn't get the ball down that inning, and he gave it up," Sveum said of Maholm.

"The pitch to Aoki was up," Maholm said. "Braun, I went in there one too many times, and he hit a double. The pitch to Ransom was just a changeup that was over the middle. It was a broken-bat hit. You go from cruising to battling in the inning and missing some pitches, and they put the ball in play."

He understood why Sveum lifted him after four innings. The Cubs, who have scuffled offensively on the road, needed to find some weakness in Greinke. This time, there was none.

"The first three innings were good, and I had a hiccup [in the fourth], and it cost us," Maholm said. "Whenever you're pitching against Greinke here, you've got to be perfect, and they put some runs on the board."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.