Chicago Cubs starter Justin Germano believed he pitched well enough Monday night to deserve a better fate despite being responsible six of the eight runs the Milwaukee Brewers scored in the fifth inning en route to a 9-5 win.
Germano (2-3) gave up eight hits and seven earned runs in 4 2-3 innings in his fifth start for Chicago after being acquired from Boston on July 19 for cash. He walked one and struck out three.
"People might think I'm crazy, but I feel like I pitched a lot better than the line shows," Germano said. "I got ground balls that last inning. They just hit them where our guys weren't. It's part of the game. A couple inches to the left, a couple inches to the right, I could get out of that inning with just a couple runs. I definitely battled that last inning just trying to get that third out."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Carlos Gomez's first of two at-bats in the fifth inning — he singled and homered — turned out to be key.
"The big hit of the game I think was when he had Gomez two strikes and let him off the hook with a hanging changeup," Sveum said. "Otherwise, it was pretty well set up to finish that inning, and then we were going to be able to go from there. But it just didn't happen. He kind of lost it and couldn't get through it."
Jonathan Lucroy hit two home runs for the Brewers, who sent 11 batters to the plate and had seven hits in the game-turning inning. Six runs scored after there were two outs. The eight runs were the most in an inning for Milwaukee since the Brewers scored nine runs in the second inning of an 11-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 5, 2010.
The rally gave Mark Rogers (1-1) his first major league victory in seven career starts, including five this season. Rogers pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs while recording seven strikeouts. He walked three.
"It's been a long time coming," Rogers said. "Tonight wasn't my best effort of the year. But the offense was excellent. They picked me up today and the bullpen came in and really shut them down. It was a good win."
The Brewers trailed 3-1 when Rogers left the game after the top of the fifth.
"It's a crazy game. Coming out behind, I wasn't expecting to get the win," he said. "The way our offense played in the fifth inning was incredible."
The Cubs scored in the first inning when David DeJesus led off with a double, stole third and scored on a ground-rule double by Anthony Rizzo. Chicago added a run in the second when Wellington Castillo hit a lead-off double and, after walks to Brett Jackson and Darwin Barney, scored on a sacrifice fly by DeJesus.
The Brewers cut into the lead in the second when Lucroy hit a solo homer that glanced off the top of the left field wall.
Josh Vitters, the Cubs' 22-year-old third baseman, hit his first career home run in the fifth, extending the Cubs lead to 3-1. Vitters, a first-round draft pick of the Cubs and third selection overall in 2007 draft, entered Monday's game hitting .091. He made his major league debut on Aug. 5.
"It's good to feel that confidence right now, and hopefully I'm just going to work on seeing balls and hitting more balls like I did tonight," Vitters said.
The Brewers' outburst in the fifth started when Gomez singled and moved to second on Jean Segura's groundout. Gomez scored on a single by Travis Ishikawa, who pinch-hit for Rogers. Ishikawa advanced to third as the throw got away from catcher Wellington Castillo and scored on Norichika Aoki's sacrifice fly.
Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun followed with consecutive singles and Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Corey Hart blooped a single into right field, driving in Weeks and Braun and chasing Germano. Lucroy then hit a three-run home run off reliever Jeff Beliveau. Two pitches later, Gomez followed with a solo shot off Beliveau. Segura then had his second groundout of the inning.
"I'm just trying to be consistent and have good at bats and hit the ball hard somewhere," Lucroy said. "Sometimes these things happen and sometimes you go 0 for 4. It's just the way it is. Hopefully, I can keep getting better."
The Cubs added a run in the seventh when Barney led off with a double and scored on a groundout and added another in the ninth when Castillo scored on a wild pitch.
Notes: After being given the day off Sunday, Brewers regulars Ramirez, Hart and Aoki returned to the starting lineup Monday night. ... Although there was no sign of rain at the start of Monday night's game at Miller Park, the retractable roof and panels were closed. A 7-minute in-game rain delay occurred on Sunday when an unexpected shower popped up with the roof open. ... Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano is the only major league left fielder to have handled at least 150 chances without an error this season. ... LHP Chris Rusin, a fourth-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2009, will make his major league debut on Tuesday against the Brewers, the team said. A corresponding roster move will be announced then. RHP Alex Hinshaw, claimed off waivers from San Diego, is also expected to join the Cubs on Tuesday.