Harden roughed up in loss to Crew

Harden roughed up in loss to Crew

CHICAGO -- By the time the Cubs' new leadoff man came to bat Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers already had a five-run lead, and they were just getting warmed up.

Casey McGehee missed hitting for the cycle by a double and set career highs with four hits and five RBIs while Mike Cameron drove in four runs, including three on his 14th homer, to power the Brewers to an 11-2 victory over the Cubs.

"Well, they jumped us early," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We had our chances in the first and second inning to put some runs on the board and didn't. They added more runs and they beat us up. What can I say?"

The Brewers did all their damage without a single RBI by their main man, Prince Fielder.

"Everybody's motto against us is, 'Don't let the big guy hurt you,' and that's Prince," Cameron said. "That's what [Carlos] Zambrano said [Friday]. If we're able to punch across runs and continue the progress of the lineup, it makes us that more deep and dangerous."

Rich Harden (5-5) found that out quickly, saying his start was more like "batting practice" for the Brewers. He gave up seven runs on eight hits over two-plus innings, the shortest start of his career. Wrigley Field has been anything but kind to the right-hander, who dropped to 2-4 with a 7.65 ERA in eight home starts.

"I was feeling pretty good, but it was getting that offspeed down -- that's the key," Harden said. "Throwing my changeup for strikes, and keeping it down in the zone [was tough]. It was getting up, and they got a few hits off that. It was ugly, and it was embarrassing."

Saturday was Alfonso Soriano's first game in the sixth spot, and he went 0-for-4, stranding three baserunners when he grounded out with the bases loaded in the first. Piniella isn't going to let one game determine whether he continues the switch, which was done to get Soriano back on track.

"Give the young man a chance," Piniella said. "I know he's struggled, but let's give him a chance. He's done it in the past, and there's no reason he can't get it done now. Let's not look at every at-bat, every game. Let's sit back and watch this and see what happens."

One positive was Milton Bradley hit a two-run homer for the Cubs in the third off Braden Looper (7-4), who scattered six hits and walked three over six innings. Bradley, who also walked twice, has been working with Cubs hitting coach Von Joshua.

"It was a meaningless home run in the scheme of things," Bradley said. "It's a hit, but we kind of got blown out."

Milwaukee batted around in the first. Craig Counsell singled to lead off, and one out later, Ryan Braun doubled. The Cubs then intentionally walked Fielder to load the bases for McGehee, who slapped a two-run single to center. Cameron followed with his homer to put the Brewers ahead, 5-0.

J.J. Hardy added a solo homer with one out in the second, and McGehee tripled off the right-field wall to open the third, scoring on Cameron's double to chase Harden. McGehee, who had been in the Cubs' organization until this season, also hit an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth.

There are no good losses, but Saturday was close. Piniella didn't have to call upon his late-inning pitchers Carlos Marmol or Kevin Gregg.

"If we're going to lose a ballgame, lose it like this as opposed to 3-2, where I have my short people working all the time," Piniella said. "Let's go out [Sunday] and win the series."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.