MILWAUKEE — Scoring runs was an issue for the Milwaukee Brewers even before trade deadline deals left them turning to backups to fill huge holes in the lineup.
The offense is only getting worse.
The Brewers managed just five hits and one run off spot starter Clayton Richard before a ninth-inning rally fell short in a 4-3 loss on Sunday to Chicago. The Cubs swept a four-game road series and handed Milwaukee its fifth straight loss overall.
"The guys that are here are the guys that are going to be out there. Like I said, nobody's feeling sorry for us," manager Craig Counsell said. "When you're out there, you've got to produce."
Ryan Braun went 3 for 4 with two doubles, while fellow holdover Adam Lind had two hits.
Hernan Perez, who is replacing the traded Aramis Ramirez at third, drove in two runs, including an RBI single in the ninth with two outs off closer Hector Rondon to draw within a run.
Rondon then got pinch-hitter Logan Schafer to line out sharply to center for his 16th save.
More punch at the plate in the middle of the game would have helped the Brewers.
Instead, Richard and the bullpen retired 16 in a row until Braun led off the ninth with a single.
Ramirez was traded to Pittsburgh. Carlos Gomez was traded to Houston, while fellow outfielder Gerardo Parra was traded to Baltimore.
Some lesser-known names will need to step up.
"We weren't having a lot of success when we had all those guys. You take away three of our best five or six hitters, it's going to make it more challenging," Braun said. "But I think for all of us you have to embrace the challenge."
The surging Cubs had a better day against Kyle Lohse (5-13), though they got a scare when All-Star rookie Kris Bryant got hurt.
He left in the fifth after sliding headfirst into second and appearing to get tagged on the helmet by shortstop Jean Segura.
Bryant's neck or upper back also appeared to bump into Segura's leg. Bryant, who reached on an RBI single, was running after a throw to the plate was cut off.
Maddon said Bryant was a little dizzy and was lifted as a precaution.
Bryant had tests and was to be reevaluated on Monday in Pittsburgh, where the Cubs open an important three-game series against the Pirates.
"I was going as hard as I can," Bryant said. "I'm feeling better. We'll see what it feels like tomorrow."
Lohse lasted 4 1-3 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs, including Addison Russell's solo shot in the second. It was another tough outing in what has been a frustrating season for Lohse.
Asked he would stay in the rotation, Counsell said, "We have to discuss that in the next couple days."
Maddon was ejected in the third for arguing a safe call on Lind's infield single confirmed on another replay review. It was his fourth ejection of the season.
"I thought the call was made purely on the fact they thought that Lind beat the throw to first base," Maddon said. "So, it's my fault. It's always my fault."
Cubs: Maddon expects C Miguel Montero, who has been on the disabled list since July 12 with a sprained left thumb, to return soon. "I don't think it's going take very long for him to be OK," Maddon said.
Brewers: Counsell said that young LF Khris Davis should get regular plate appearances following the trades of outfielders Gomez and Parra. Davis was hitting .196 with two homers and seven RBIs in 46 at-bats since coming off the disabled list on July 7. He missed about five weeks with a right knee injury.
Cubs: Ace LHP Jon Lester (6-8) opens the Pirates series for the Cubs. Lester is coming off a 14-strikeout performance in last game, a 3-2 win on July 29 against Colorado.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (2-5) makes his second start since coming off the DL for a left oblique injury when the San Diego Padres open a four-game series at Miller Park.
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