- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' struggles with the Milwaukee Brewers continued in embarrassing fashion as a nine-run ninth inning left them with a 15-4 defeat Monday and dropped them to 3-11 against their division rival.
How it happened: The Brewers blew it open on three consecutive home runs at one stretch of the ninth inning, with position player Joe Mather sent to the mound to get the final out. Reliever Alex Hinshaw gave up the three HRs and five runs without recording an out. The Cubs had been making a comeback but failed to cash in on a second and third opportunity with no outs in the sixth. No. 3 hitter Anthony Rizzo, cleanup man Alfonso Soriano and No. 5 hitter Starlin Castro all had an RBI. Rookie Brett Jackson hit a home run.
What it means: After Jackson was clearly overmatched in his first 10 days in the major leagues, he has shown quick improvement. Jackson’s more confident approach has yielded success in the form of four home runs in a span of nine days. Another sign that he is becoming more comfortable: He has five walks and two strikeouts over the past three games.
Outside the box: The best and worst has come out of Soriano in games this season against the Brewers and old teammate Aramis Ramirez. Soriano delivered his 11th RBI against Milwaukee this season, his most against any one team. But he also has 15 strikeouts against the Brewers, again, his most against any one team. He entered the contest batting .261 (12-for-46) against them.
Off beat: It hasn’t happened often this season, but in the third inning the Cubs found themselves on the right side of a game of inches. The Cubs had two-out hits from both Rizzo and Soriano just avoid landing in the gloves of Brewers fielders. The Cubs not only scored all three of their runs with two outs in the inning, but they put five consecutive batters on base with two outs. That was all well before the roof caved in during the ninth inning.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (4-10, 4.76 ERA) to the mound Tuesday against Milwaukee in the second game of the four-game series. The Brewers will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.62) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.
23hMike Bonzagni, ESPN Stats & Information