CHICAGO (AP) — Milwaukee sent Zack Greinke to the mound Thursday for what looked like a nice pitching matchup against Matt Garza and the Chicago Cubs.
Garza did his part, but Greinke failed to make it out of the fourth inning.
The Brewers managed just three hits against Garza and Shawn Camp in an 8-0 loss at Wrigley Field, wasting a chance for a four-game series sweep.
Garza (1-0) struck out nine and walked two in 8 2-3 innings as the Cubs improved to 2-5. He induced Cesar Izturis to hit into an inning-ending double play in the second, starting a stretch in which he retired 16 of 17 batters.
“I’ve seen him throw a lot of good games and that’s as good as I’ve seen him,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Great command on the fastball, life, velocity the whole game.
“When you let him get through the first couple innings, he really finds his groove and it’s tough to get to him.”
Greinke (1-1) allowed eight earned runs for the first time since July 26, 2010, against Minnesota. He gave up nine hits and needed 84 pitches to get through 3 2-3 innings, a sharp contrast to his seven shutout innings against St. Louis last weekend in his season debut.
He retired his first six batters, then allowed seven of the first eight batters to reach in a six-run third.
Steve Clevenger led off the third with a flare double down the left-field line that Ryan Braun charged only to have the ball bounce past him.
“If he catches that ball, maybe it’s a different inning,” Roenicke said.
After a Garza strikeout, Reed Johnson, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro had consecutive RBI singles. Alfonso Soriano then drove in two runs with a broken-bat hit to right field and Ian Stewart beat the infield shift with an opposite-field RBI single to left-center.
“I got two strikes in counts and made some bad pitches,” Greinke said. “I felt like I made some decent pitches — maybe not perfect — but I’ve never made perfect pitches all game.”
It was Greinke’s second career start at Wrigley, neither of which has gone well. He was charged with eight runs, six earned, and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 12-7 loss on June 16.
“Last time the wind was blowing straight out like 25 plus miles per hour and I kind of felt like that had a lot to do with it the time before,” the 28-year-old right-hander said. “This time I know some of the balls were up. But besides that there’s not much I thought I could have done different.”
The lone bright spot for the Brewers was the bullpen. Manny Parra pitched 2 1-3 innings and Tim Dillard finished after Greinke’s early exit.
Nori Aoki reached with two outs in the ninth when Garza threw his comebacker over first baseman Bryan LaHair and into the stands for a two-base error. Garza was removed after 119 pitches and Camp needed just four pitches to end it, retiring pinch hitter George Kottaras on a groundout.
“When you’ve got a five-run lead, you have to just go after them. You can’t nitpick or nibble, because they have some guys who can really hurt you,” Garza said.
Chicago tacked on two runs in the fourth on David DeJesus’ run-scoring infield single and an RBI single by Castro.
The Cubs had not scored more than five runs in a game coming in.
NOTES: Clevenger had three hits. … The Brewers have never swept a four-game from the Cubs. … Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez got the day off. … The Cubs open their first road trip of the season Friday at St. Louis. Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (1-0) will face Adam Wainwright (0-1). … The Brewers head to Atlanta, where Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf (0-1) starts against Jair Jurrjens (0-1).
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