CHICAGO (AP) — It usually isn’t good when a position player finishes a game on the mound. That’s where Joe Mather found himself on Monday night.
Aramris Ramirez hit two of Milwaukee’s five homers to lead the Brewers to a 15-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
It got so bad that when the Brewers scored nine runs in the ninth, Cubs manager Dale Sveum was forced to summon Mather in to finish the inning on the mound, the first position player to pitch for the Cubs since Gary Gaetti on July 3, 1999.
“Fastball and a hanging curve, apparently,” Mather joked when asked to describe his repertoire.
Mather pitched for St. Louis on April 17, 2010, when he gave up two runs in two innings and was the losing pitcher in a 2-1, 20-inning defeat.
“It just kind goes back to your childhood and you want to be competitive,” Mather said. “You want to get your team out of the situation they were in. You want to get those guys out.”
Ramirez, who played for the Cubs from 2003-11, hit a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo homer in the ninth as Milwaukee beat Chicago for the sixth straight time. Ramirez is enjoying the view from the visitor’s dugout.
“(Cubs fans) also have to understand that it’s a process and that the new front office came in with a plan and they’re going to execute it,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to be painful. Right now they don’t have a good product on the field. I’m pretty sure they’re smart people. They have a good game plan going.”
Ramirez’s second homer followed a three-run shot by Ryan Braun that landed on Waveland Avenue, his NL-leading 35th of the season. Braun had four hits and five RBIs.
Corey Hart followed Ramirez with another shot that reached Waveland, giving Milwaukee back-to-back-to-back homers for the first time since Sept. 9, 2007 at Cincinnati.
The Brewers sent 14 batters to the plate and had eight hits in the ninth, finishing with a season-high 21 hits.
“We need those guys to pitch when we’re losing,” Sveum said of his young relievers. “Can’t just keep throwing (Shawn) Camp and (Manny) Corpas and (James) Russell and those guys into games. Those guys have to somehow get through those innings.”
Justin Germano (2-4) gave up five runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings and has lost to Milwaukee in two straight outings.
“I made three mistakes that led to four runs,” Germano said. “It’s just hard to be perfect but I have to work on the mistakes that I make, or at least who I make them to.”
Germano gave up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings against the Brewers in his last outing on Aug. 20.
“Kind of the same thing happened a week ago,” Sveum said. “Same result, pitching pretty good but couldn’t get through the middle of that lineup for the third time.”
All three ninth-inning homers came off Alex Hinshaw, who was pitching for the second time since being claimed off waivers from San Diego on Aug. 19.
Brett Jackson hit his third homer in four games and walked twice for Chicago. Alfonso Soriano added two doubles and drove in a run.
The Brewers improved to 18-5 against the Cubs since the 2011 All-Star break, while Chicago has dropped 19 of 25 overall since the July 31 trade deadline.
Milwaukee erased a two-run deficit on consecutive pitches in the fifth. Braun rolled a double just past the third base to score Rickie Weeks. Ramirez then clubbed Germano’s first pitch into the bleachers in left to give the Brewers the lead.
Ramirez hit 239 homers in nine seasons during his time with the Cubs, but went 1 for 11 in his first series against his former team at Wrigley Field on April 9-11.
Jackson, Chicago’s rookie center fielder, hit his fourth homer leading off the sixth off Kameron Loe to cut the lead to 5-4.
NOTES: Cubs 3B Josh Vitters went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts, falling to 5 for 53 with 19 strikeouts since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa. … The Cubs acquired C Anthony Recker from Oakland for C/1B Blake Lalli and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa. Chicago also designated LHP Scott Maine for assignment. … The Cubs were looking to win consecutive games for the first time since winning three straight July 28-30.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)