Cubs-Brewers Preview


The Chicago Cubs' abysmal offense finally came to life in a series-opening rout of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Duplicating that outburst Wednesday night seems unlikely with the Brewers sending Zack Greinke to the Miller Park mound.

With a 10-0 victory Tuesday, Chicago (19-36) snapped an 11-game road losing streak, which matched the franchise record set in 1954. Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run home run, Jeff Baker added a two-run shot and Bryan LaHair hit a solo homer for the Cubs, who had totaled 14 runs in their previous nine road games.

The victory - just the fourth in 20 games overall for the Cubs - ended an 18-start winless stretch for Ryan Dempster.

"It feels nice because we're sitting here, we're on a huge road losing streak and everything," Dempster said. "It was nice to go out there and win a game like that, and see everybody, the guys played great on defense and hit the ball and they made all the plays and scored a bunch of runs."

The Cubs had a similar offensive eruption against Greinke (6-2, 3.46 ERA) on April 12, when they knocked him around for a season-worst eight runs in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-0 victory at Wrigley Field.

A rematch at Miller Park, however, doesn't seem to be in their favor.

Since being acquired by Milwaukee prior to last season, Greinke is 14-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 20 regular-season home starts, with the Brewers winning 19 times.

His home winning streak is the longest in franchise history, and he is just the fourth starting pitcher in the modern era to win each of his first 14 home decisions with a team. Two of his victories have come against Chicago, with the right-hander allowing one run and striking out 16 over 14 1-3 innings.

He's 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in five outings in Milwaukee this season, and he's allowed one run or zero in four of his last five starts overall.

Greinke was obviously a big part of the Brewers' success at Miller Park last season, when they were a major league-best 57-24 at home, but this year they're 12-16 in Milwaukee.

The Brewers (24-31) managed just five hits Tuesday in being shut out at home for the first time since Sept. 25, 2010.

"If we're going to get back in this thing, we need to start playing well," manager Ron Roenicke told the Brewers' official website.

They could fare better Wednesday against Paul Maholm.

Maholm (4-4, 4.82) yielded four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 defeat at San Francisco on Friday, and the Cubs have lost each of his last four starts with the left-hander recording a 5.96 ERA in that stretch.

Maholm also is 0-4 with a 5.11 ERA in six starts versus the Brewers since 2010, and his nine career losses to Milwaukee are his most against any club. He made his Cubs debut against the Brewers on April 10, yielding six runs in four innings of a 7-4 loss.

Ryan Braun, who returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after missing two straight starts with hip and Achilles injuries, is 12 for 35 (.343) with a homer and six walks against Maholm.

Aramis Ramirez may return Wednesday to face his former team after dealing with a quad strain.

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