Zach Greinke set a personal best as a Brewer with 12 strikeouts, helping the Crew shut out the lowly Cubs 8-0 Wednesday night at Miller Park. Greinke (7-2, 3.13) worked seven sparkling innings, allowing just two hits, two walks and no runs to pick up the win. Chicago’s Paul Maholm (4-5, 5.10) took the loss, and exited after working just four innings. Maholm had faced the minimum through three innings but imploded in the Brewers’ half of the fourth, allowing four runs.
The only minor hiccup of Greinke’s evening came in the top of the second. Alfonso Soriano led off with a sharp ground ball past Brooks Conrad at third for a double. Bryan LaHair grounded out to short with Soriano moving to third. Catcher Steve Clevenger grounded out to short. Second baseman Darwin Barney walked. Ian Stewart then walked on four pitches to load the bases. Pitcher Paul Maholm struck out looking to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the fourth Norichika Aoki led off with a double over the head of center fielder Tony Campana. Carlos Gomez then flied out to center, advancing Aoki to third. Braun belted a RBI double to left to open the scoring and give the Brewers a 1-0 advantage. Corey Hart ripped a shot down the third base line that was gloved by Ian Stewart. Stewart could not make a clean transfer and Hart reached on an infield single with Braun remaining at second. With two outs, Cody Ransom smacked a double down the left field line. Braun scored and Hart moved to third. Brooks Conrad broke his bat on a flare to left, scoring Hart and Ransom, and giving Milwaukee a 4-0 lead.
The top half of the fifth inning was an unusual three-batter sequence for Greinke. Ian Stewart struck out swinging but reached after Maldonado was unable to secure the out. The Brewers turned a double play when pinch hitter Adrian Cardenas struck out swinging and Martin Maldonado gunned down Stewart attempting to steal second. Tony Campana then struck out swinging.
Randy Wells took over for Maholm in the fifth. Aoki led off with a double and advanced to third on an error by David DeJesus. Carlos Gomez grounded out to short, with Aoki wisely choosing to remain at third. Ryan Braun drew a walk. Corey Hart hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Aoki.
In the eighth inning with a couple of ducks on the pond, Taylor Green sent 2-2 offering from Carlos Marmol over the wall in right field for his first career home run.
Jose Veras and Juan Perez worked the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to complete the shut out. Greinke is unbeaten as a Brewer at Miller Park, winning 15 games in 21 starts in front of the home fans. The Brewers have won 20 of the 21 Greinke starts at Miller Park.
Notes: Cubs leadoff hitter Tony Campana picked up the golden sombrero, striking out four times. Aoki went 3-4, with two doubles, a walk and two runs scored. Martin Maldonado collected his first multi-hit game, going 2-3 with a walk and a run scored.