MILWAUKEE – Scott Feldman let an error on a routine play rattle him.
Feldman’s fielding error in the fifth inning came a batter before giving up Ryan Braun’s three-run homer that lifted the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 win over the Cubs on Sunday for a three-game sweep.
“It came down to not being able to field a groundball that I’ve fielded thousands of times since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s like a Little League play. It’s terrible, but at the same time, I still have to pitch after that and I had the opportunity to get Braun there. I made a mistake and that’s what he hits.”
Those are the way things have been going lately for the Cubs, who lost despite outhitting the Brewers. The Cubs had six errors in the three-game series.
The Cubs won two of three to open the season, but are now 5-12.
“Once again, we only had five hits and one of them was a two-run homer and we didn’t score in the other eight innings,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “We were O-fer with men in scoring position. It’s just a broken record every day.”
Even without the timely hitting, Sveum said the game was there to be won by the Cubs in the fifth inning, despite the error by Feldman.
“We get two strikes on Braun. and once again we just couldn’t put the game away right there and make a good pitch,” he said.
Feldman (0-3) gave up four runs on three hits in five innings.
Wily Peralta (1-1) pitched 6 2/3 innings for Milwaukee, giving up two runs and five hits. John Axford got the final out of the seventh inning. Tom Gorzelanny pitched a scoreless eighth inning, but walked leadoff hitter Nate Schierholtz in the ninth. Jim Henderson replaced him and got three outs for his fourth save in four chances.
Braun has been struggling at the plate recently. He struck out in his first two at-bats Sunday and is 5 for his last 32, but four of those hits have been home runs. He struck out again in the eighth inning and was thrown out of the game after tossing his bat in the air.
“It is a lot of fun when you hit home runs,” Braun said. “That’s the way the game of baseball is sometimes.”
Braun was smiling even though he got thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi after striking out looking in the eighth inning and tossing his bat in the air. He said the full-count pitch was outside.
“Umpires are human and make mistakes,” he said. “It was tough for me because those are the type of pitches I am trying not to swing at. But you just have to move on.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he knows Braun is struggling a bit, but is not worried because he still is helping the team win games.
“He’s obviously not locked in right now,” Roenicke said. “There are pitches that he usually hits that he’s missing and fouling.”
The seven-game winning streak is the Brewers’ longest since July 2011. Milwaukee improved to 9-8 after losing eight of 10 to start the year.
The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Starlin Castro singled with two outs to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active streak in the major leagues. Anthony Rizzo followed with his sixth home run of the year.
Milwaukee cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning without a base hit. Feldman walked the bases full with one out. Alex Gonzalez knocked in a run on a groundout, but Feldman struck out Carlos Gomez to end the inning.
Notes: Roenicke said he was unsure if rookie pitcher Hiram Burgos would start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday as the team has an off day Thursday. Burgos allowed one hit in five innings in his major league debut on Saturday in the Brewers 5-1 win over the Cubs. ... After starting the season 2-1, the Cubs have now won only three of the team’s last 14 games. ... Gomez’s third inning single was the 500th hit of his major league career.