- Associated Press - Sunday, May 10, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Cubs had five players around the infield with the bases loaded in the bottom off the 11th inning. The remaining two outfielders were drawn in with hopes of preventing the winning run from scoring.

Martin Maldonado hit the ball from reliever Jason Motte so deep to right that it didn’t matter where Chicago manager Joe Maddon positioned his players.

Maldonado’s single over the drawn-in outfield with one out in the 11th drove home Ryan Braun and lifted the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-2 win Sunday, capping a tough weekend for Maddon’s bullpen.

Motte (1-1) allowed two hits and got just one out. Zac Rosscup gave up back-to-back solo shots to seventh-place hitter Maldonado and Elian Herrera to lead off the bottom of the seventh that squandered a 1-0 lead.

“I really felt strongly about ‘Cup right there. That is one thing I did not see coming, was a couple of homers from the bottom of the batting order,” Maddon said.

Pedro Strop and James Russell were bright spots among Cubs relievers after combining for three scoreless innings before turning it over to Motte in the 11th.

The bullpen allowed four hits and four runs in two innings on Friday, a 7-6 win for Chicago, before allowing six runs and five hits in four innings of a 12-4 loss on Saturday.

“The bullpen overall, we are talking about making that better,” Maddon said.

The loss wasted a solid outing by starter Kyle Hendricks, who went 5 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits.

“I got all the faith in the bullpen,” Hendricks said.

Anthony Rizzo’s RBI double off Will Smith tied the game at 2 in the eight. Miguel Montero had the Cubs’ other run with a solo homer in the sixth.


Maldonado gave his mother, Jeannette, a day to remember. She was watching in the stands at Miller Park.

“I couldn’t be happier that I have my mom here on Mother’s Day, first time,” Maldonado said. “I love you, mom.”

A backup catcher thrust into the starting role last month following a foot injury to All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, Maldonado finished with three hits.


Chicago had a chance in the 10th after David Ross led off with a single. But the inning ended with a 5-4-3 double play when Ross was called for interference on second baseman Scooter Gennett’s relay throw.

Ross argued with second base umpire Bruce Dreckman and Maddon took up the animated discussion.

Ross said he was “very surprised” after being told by the umpire that he was called for obstruction for throwing an elbow.

“Did it look dirty? No,” Ross said. “I told the umpire how I felt, and there is not much I can do after that.”

He appeared to slide into second just after a jumping Gennett released his throw.

“I understand if you grab someone and try to take him down, that is different a story,” Maddon said. “I fail to see the interpretation on that play.”


The win provided a memorable finish to Craig Counsell’s first week as manager since taking over for the fired Ron Roenicke.

The Brewers, who beat the Cubs for the second straight day, are 4-3 under Counsell since a 7-18 start. Milwaukee had also won two straight in Chicago last week before letting go of Roenicke.

Michael Blazek (3-0) pitched a perfect top of the 11th, finishing with strikeouts of Anthony Rizzo and pinch-hitting pitcher Travis Wood.


Brewers: CF Carlos Gomez struck out looking on three pitches to lead off the bottom of the first. It was his first at-bat since missing a couple days with a sore hip. He finished 1 for 5. … 3B Aramis Ramirez will visit the team doctor after missing a third straight game with lower back tightness.


Cubs: Ace Jon Lester (2-2) takes the mound against the New York Mets when Chicago returns to Wrigley Field for a seven-game homestand. Lester is 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA in his two starts in May.

Brewers: Wily Peralta (1-4) opens a three-game interleague series at home against the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander has made three quality starts, though opponents are hitting .307 off him so far this season.


Follow Genaro Armas at https://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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