One night after proving they can win despite striking out a lot, the Chicago Cubs showed why it's not their best formula for success.
Facing a dominant performance from Zack Greinke and not faring any better against the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen, the Cubs struck out 15 times in an 8-0 loss Wednesday night.
"If you're going to strike out that many times on back-to-back nights, you're not going to put many runs up, that's for sure," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Greinke was about as good as he's going to get."
The Cubs got to Yovani Gallardo in a 10-0 victory Tuesday but still struck out 14 times in that game.
"The last two guys are tough guys," said Cubs outfielder Tony Campana, who struck out four times Wednesday night. "It's not really an excuse. You go out there and you have to get good pitches to hit. You can't chase stuff. And that's what we've been doing the last couple days."
Greinke (7-2) had a season-high 12 strikeouts and extended his home winning streak to 15 straight decisions at Miller Park. He gave up two hits in seven innings, with two walks and a wild pitch.
"Tonight, we really didn't put together any good swings or anything," Sveum said. "He kept the ball down and away. His breaking ball was down. We obviously didn't cover the outer half of the plate. But he obviously kept the ball down. That's the key."
Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro each doubled on a quiet offensive night for the Cubs.
Chicago starter Paul Maholm (4-5) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings.
"I've got five days to think about it," Maholm said. "I think I made a good adjustment with a couple of different pitches from the last start to this one. You have to keep going. I have 20-some starts left. Trust me, I'm not happy. I'm not having fun. It's time for me to get deeper into games on a consistent basis."
Brooks Conrad — who came into Wednesday's game batting .059 this season — had a two-run single for the Brewers, while Ryan Braun and Cody Ransom each had RBI doubles. Norichika Aoki had a walk and three hits after being moved to the leadoff spot and Taylor Green hit a three-run homer, the first of his career.
Greinke got off to a somewhat shaky start, including an awkward-looking, 53-mph curveball early on.
Soriano led off the second with a shot down the third-base line, which Conrad unsuccessfully tried to barehand. Soriano went to second on the play, which was ruled a double.
Soriano advanced to third on a groundout, and Greinke got another groundout. But he walked the next two hitters to load the bases, then struck out Maholm to get out of the inning — despite appearing to lose his grip on one offering to Maholm, the pitch registering 53 mph on the stadium speed gun.
After being shut out Tuesday and managing only one hit in the first three innings Wednesday, the Brewers finally got back on the scoreboard in the fourth.
Aoki led off with a double, advanced to third on a flyout by Carlos Gomez and scored on a double by Braun. Corey Hart then reached base on an infield hit when third baseman Ian Stewart bobbled a ball coming out of his glove, giving the Brewers runners on first and second with one out.
Rickie Weeks flew out, but Ransom doubled to score Braun — then Conrad delivered a broken-bat single to score two more, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead.
Milwaukee added another run in the fifth when Aoki doubled and took third on an error by right fielder David DeJesus. Aoki later scored on a sacrifice fly by Hart.
Green added his drive in the eighth.
NOTES: The Cubs placed RHP Blake Parker on the 60-day disabled list with a right elbow stress reaction and called up RHP Manuel Corpas. ... Both teams drafted their respective managers' sons Wednesday. The Brewers took Lance Roenicke, an outfielder from UC Santa Barbara, in the 25th round. The Cubs took Rustin Sveum, an infielder at Desert Mountain High School in Arizona, in the 39th. ... Cubs RHP Matt Garza (2-4, 4.10 ERA) faces Brewers LHP Randy Wolf (2-5, 6.05 ERA) on Thursday.