CHICAGO (AP) — This is one unusual spot for this year's Milwaukee Brewers, looking up at St. Louis in the NL Central.
Gerardo Parra had three hits and Jimmy Nelson pitched six innings, but Milwaukee lost 4-2 to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
The Brewers have dropped six in a row to fall behind the Cardinals in the division after they had at least a share of the lead every day since April 5.
"We've had (slumps) before," said manager Ron Roenicke, whose team lost a season-high seven straight from July 6-12. "We're going through a bad week and we need to change it. We have it in us."
The Brewers have scored just 13 runs during the skid. They are one game back of St. Louis after it beat Pittsburgh 5-4 on Sunday. Milwaukee leads Atlanta by 1 1/2 games for the second NL wild card.
"It's a rough stretch," said Khris Davis, who hit his 21st homer.
Welington Castillo homered and drove in three early runs to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead against Nelson (2-6), who was called up from Single-A Brevard County to make the start.
While their offense continued to flounder, the Brewers kept themselves close by turning four double plays. They also got a diving stop from third baseman Aramis Ramirez in the third.
"The defense really picked me up today," said Nelson, who allowed nine hits and walked one.
Jacob Turner (5-8) allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Cubs. He struck out seven and walked one.
Davis hit a drive to left against Turner in the seventh, chasing him from the game. Parra then greeted Blake Parker with his eighth homer.
But that was it for Milwaukee's offense. The Brewers hit into double plays in the first and third innings.
"I didn't feel like we had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position to just get that big knock to get us on the board," Davis said.
Touted rookie Jorge Soler had two doubles in his home debut for the Cubs. Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
"It was a big adventure," Soler said. "It felt like home."
Brewers: OF Carlos Gomez was out of the lineup a day after he felt something pop in his left wrist during a swing in a 15-5 loss at San Francisco. X-rays taken Sunday were negative, but Roenicke said more tests were upcoming. He said the injury had improved overnight and was hopeful that the hard-swinging Gomez would only be out a few days.
Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo missed his seventh straight game with lower back tightness. "He's still day to day, still a little stiff," manager Rick Renteria said. "If it doesn't clear up (soon), maybe we get an MRI."
The second game of the series is Tuesday night, with Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 3.26 ERA) taking on the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.88 ERA).
Before the game, the Brewers reinstated RHP Matt Garza (left rib) and LHP Wei-Chung Wang (shoulder tightness) from the 15-day disabled list, highlighting a number of moves. OF Logan Schafer was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Catcher Matt Pagnozzi had his contract selected from Nashville as Jeff Bianchi was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the roster.