Mike Cameron, Prince Fielder and Bill Hall each drove in two runs to back Ben Sheets and lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 10-7 victory Tuesday night over the Cubs, who lost for the fourth time in the last five games.
"If you had told me 17 runs would be scored tonight, I would have had a nice discussion with you and tried to dissuade you from that," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "They swung the bat and got 17, 18 hits. We battled, but we never could quite get ahead of them."
It was an unseasonably cold 38 degrees at game time. No wonder the ivy isn't green yet.
"I don't think it affected the teams much -- we both swung the bats pretty well," Derrek Lee said of the frigid weather. "They swung the bats well tonight, and we swung the bats decent. They just out-hit us."
Sheets (4-0) won despite issuing a career-high seven walks, although none of them scored. He lasted six innings and gave up three hits, including Lee's eighth home run leading off the Chicago third. Lee now has matched a club record for most homers in April, also accomplished by Sammy Sosa in 2000 and 2002, and Lee Walls in 1958.
"I'm just seeing the ball well, having a good approach, and trying to stay consistent in my approach at the plate," said Lee, who hit six home runs total in the first half of 2007.
This was Sheets' first start since April 18. Was he rusty?
"Are you kidding me?" Sheets said. "Have you ever seen me walk that many batters, throw that many balls? I would say that's as bad as I've pitched, location-wise, probably ever."
It was the first time the Cubs lost this season when they scored more than four runs, and they now are 14-1 in those situations. Jason Marquis (1-1) took the loss, serving up five runs on 10 hits over five innings.
"I just didn't make pitches when I needed to, and it seemed like they jumped on every mistake I made," Marquis said. "I had good movement on my ball, and I wasn't able to keep it down consistently like I wanted to, and I put my team behind the eight ball there in the beginning."
The Cubs bullpen faltered as well, as Kevin Hart, Sean Marshall and Michael Wuertz couldn't keep the Brewers in check in the seventh.
"Our pitching wasn't good tonight," Piniella said. "We've got to do a better job in the middle before we get to our short people. That's been a problem for awhile."
The walks are part of the problem.
"Walks score," Piniella said. "They find a way to mosey around the bases and touch home plate."
Cameron, making his first start after serving a 25-game suspension, doubled in his first at-bat with one out in the Milwaukee first, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Fielder.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the second on back-to-back singles by Mark DeRosa and Geovany Soto, and a walk to Felix Pie. Marquis hit a grounder to second baseman Rickie Weeks, who tagged Pie for the force, and spun the Cubs outfielder around. DeRosa scored on the play, and Reed Johnson's sacrifice fly made it 2-1.
Cameron then singled and eventually scored on another sacrifice fly by Fielder in the third to tie the game, and Corey Hart hit a RBI triple and scored on Hall's single to go ahead 4-2.
Lee's homer made it 4-3, and Chicago loaded the bases again in the third, tying the game on Pie's sacrifice fly. Milwaukee took the lead with two outs in the fifth when Hart doubled and scored on Hall's single. Cameron added a two-run single in the seventh, which proved to be big. Chicago loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh and Mike Fontenot cleared them with a double.
If you're looking for a bright spot, Soto didn't strike out once. The Cubs rookie catcher came into the game having fanned in eight consecutive at-bats.
That's about it.
"We need to turn it around," Lee said. "We don't want this streak to continue. We were playing so well, it's a little disappointing to fall back. You have to dust yourself off and try to get hot again."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.