First Time For Everything: Cubs Swept

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - How quickly things can change. Just three days after polishing off a sweep of the cross-town rival White Sox, Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs were swept out of Miller Park Wednesday night by Doug Davis and the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-0. It marks the first time the Cubs have ever been swept in a three-game series under manager Dusty Baker.

Davis (9-6), who allowed six runs in just four innings of work against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his last outing, stymied the Cubs' hitters, striking out a career-high nine and allowing only four hits in eight dominant innings. He allowed multiple Cubs to reach base only once, giving up consecutive 2-out singles to Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett in the fourth inning. Davis got Ramon Martinez to ground into a force out, ending what was essentially the Cubs' only scoring threat of the game.

Wes Helms gave the Brewers their first lead of the night in the bottom of the second, singling to right and scoring Lyle Overbay. Milwaukee could have potentially increased their lead in the second were it not for the impressive 1-6-3 double play turned by the Cubs, and started by Zambrano's bare-handed grab of a ground ball off the bat of Chad Moeller.

Geoff Jenkins increased Milwaukee's lead to 3-0 in the fourth with a towering 2-run HR to right, just beyond the out-stretched glove of a leaping Sammy Sosa. Ben Grieve's RBI single in the fifth then made it 4-0.

Corey Patterson added two hits, and Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett each had one apiece for a Cub offense that disappeared since leaving the Windy City, scoring just two runs in the three games at Miller Park.

Zambrano (9-4) took the loss, allowing four runs and eight hits while walking four in 5 2/3 innings. He fell to a game below .500 on the road, at 3-4.

NOTES: Up until this week, the last time a Cubs team had been swept was back on September 24-26 of 2002 at Wrigley Field against the Cincinnati Reds. The shutout on Wednesday night was the Cubs' second of the series and ninth of the season. Almost as alarming as the lack of runs, however, is the high number of strikeouts for the Cub offense. With 10 more on Wednesday, Cub hitters struck out a total of 31 times in the three-game series while walking only six times. The Cubs now limp on a plane and head down to St. Louis where they will look to regroup with an off-day on Thursday before starting a vital three-game series with the Cardinals beginning Friday night. The Cubs begin the series a full six games behind the Redbirds, who are winners of six straight games and are fresh off a three-game series sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium. Greg Maddux will look to get the Cubs back on track in game one of the series when he takes the mound against Cardinals right-hander Jason Marquis. Matt Clement faces Jeff Suppan on Saturday afternoon, with Kerry Wood likely making his much-anticipated return to the rotation on Sunday night. If so, he would face the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter.

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