MILWAUKEE — Junior Guerra relied on a split-finger fastball to strike out a career-high 11, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Chris Carter homered and the Brewers beat the Cubs 5-3 Thursday.
Guerra, who mixed in other pitches to keep the Cubs guessing, said the speed variance between his splitter and fastball is just enough. "You can't really tell the difference from the fastball," he said after posting a season-high in strikeouts by a Brewers pitcher. "It's hard and late movement. I've got a lot more confidence in it. I can throw it any count."
Losing pitcher Jason Hammel had been 8-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 11 career starts against the Brewers. "I felt pretty good," the former Ray said. "Home runs on hanging sliders; hanging sliders leave the yard. That's about it."
Chicago has lost three times in a four-game span for the first time this season. The Cubs had seven runs in the three-game series.
Tyler Thornburg got his first big-league save, walking his first two batters then striking out Javier Baez, retiring Dexter Fowler on a flyout and striking out Jason Heyward.
"They just beat us," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We had opportunities, but we could not cash in."