Cubs Continue Recent Skid

Blown saves, walk-off walks, a lack of clutch hitting ... for all the changes 2005 was supposed to bring to the Cubs, it has left fans and other observers with an all-too-familiar bitter taste from 2004 through the team's first 26 games this season. The Cubs allowed two of Milwaukee's four runs on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk in a 4-3 Brewers win at Miller Park on Wednesday night.

Milwaukee handed the Cubs their fourth straight loss when they drew three walks (two intentionally) in the ninth inning to win their sixth in a row.

Damian Miller, who conveniently chose the Cubs to host the worst year of his playing career two seasons ago, took ball four from losing pitcher Roberto Novoa (0-1) on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded for the win. The Brewers recorded just one hit in the inning; they let the Cubs (and Dusty Baker) take care of the rest.

Any Cub lead throughout the night was short-lived. Struggling left fielder Todd Hollandsworth scored the game's first run in the fourth inning with a two-out single that drove in Aramis Ramirez, the only Cub player to record two hits.

Carlos Lee then doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, and after Lyle Overbay drew one of four walks (two intentional) and Miller hit into a groundball double play, Lee scored on a wild pitch from Cub starter Ryan Dempster.

Jeromy Burnitz added an RBI single in the sixth to temporarily put the Cubs back in the lead at 2-1, but Lee again would prove too much to handle when he doubled home the pesky Bill Hall, who led off the inning with a single--one of three hits by the second baseman in the game and six total in the series.

Lee, batting just .234 through his first 26 games this season, is 7-for-22 against Cub pitching with five doubles and four RBI. He also put Todd Walker on the disabled list with a hard take-out slide at second base in early April.

Dempster allowed three runs and six hits in 6.2 innings, striking out six in spite of five walks. He left the game one out after surrendering a seventh-inning go-ahead home run to Brady Clark.

Michael Barrett's RBI single in the eighth scored Derrek Lee to take Dempster off the hook. Earlier in the inning, Lee extended his hitting streak to 15 games; Barrett made it three straight with a hit and is batting .277 in road games this season with only a .188 clip at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs (12-14) left eight on base. The series finale is scheduled for Thursday at 12:05 CDT.


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