MILWAUKEE (AP) — Given the chance to finish off a sweep and continue their dominance at home against a division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers watched their bullpen give away what had been a close game.
Still, taking two out of three games from the Chicago Cubs was a nice turnaround for a struggling Brewers team that had lost its last four series.
An error by shortstop Edwin Maysonet allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh inning and the bullpen fell apart from there as the Brewers lost to the Cubs 8-2 on Sunday. The Brewers had beaten Chicago 10 straight games at home, a streak that dated back to last April.
"We're all upbeat," Brewers starter Marco Estrada said. "Obviously taking two out of three from anybody, it's a boost."
But now that the Brewers' starting rotation has been performing closer to expectations lately, manager Ron Roenicke wants to see the same from his bullpen.
"I still have confidence those guys can do the job," Roenicke said. "But they've got to get confident, too."
Maysonet is getting playing time in the wake of a significant knee injury to starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez and had a grand slam on Saturday. Roenicke didn't seem particularly bothered by the error, saying the Brewers still were in the game at that point.
"We just can't let it get away from us like it did," the manager said.
The Cubs won despite a relatively short outing from starter Jeff Samardzija, who threw 91 pitches in five innings despite giving up only one run on three hits and two walks. The converted reliever had won two straight coming into Sunday.
"You've got to give their lineup some kudos," Samardzija said. "They batted and made me throw a lot of pitches and kept fouling balls off. I felt all right. It was just one of those outings, we had to make some pitches and we had to work."
Struggling reliever Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless eighth, stranding Ryan Braun on third. Michael Bowden finished the ninth and Shawn Camp (1-1) earned the win.
Estrada went six innings, giving up five hits and two runs, both on solo homers. He didn't allow a baserunner in the first three innings.
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, when Braun reached on a walk, went to second on a single by Aramis Ramirez, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Corey Hart and scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Green. Ramirez went to third on a wild pitch, but Samardzija struck out Brooks Conrad to end the inning.