MILWAUKEE (AP) – Jean Segura had some swelling around his right eye Sunday and a nasty gash on his right cheek closed up by stitches.
Things could have been a lot worse for the Brewers shortstop after getting accidentally hit in the face the night before by Ryan Braun’s bat while his teammate was warming up on the dugout steps.
In hindsight, having to watch from the bench as teammates struggled against Chicago Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel in 4-0 loss wasn’t that bad for Segura. He said he felt fortunate he didn’t suffer fractures or a concussion.
“It was a scary moment for me. I thought it was something worse,” Segura said softly after Sunday’s game.
Milwaukee was also without Braun with the slugger dealing with a chest muscle strain. He could miss three to five days.
The remaining Brewers couldn’t handle Hammel, who had a season-high seven strikeouts and tossed seven scoreless innings. Starlin Castro hit two solo homers, and the Cubs snapped the Brewers’ three-game winning streak.
Brewers starter Wily Peralta (3-1) didn’t have his best command, but still just gave up three runs on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out six.
“If he’s not going to be sharp and that’s what he does, it’s pretty good,” manager Ron Roenicke said.
Peralta, a right-hander with a 96-mph fastball, had trouble spotting pitches in the second. Castro led off with his first shot. Later, Ramirez stepped on third for an out on Darwin Barney’s grounder with the bases loaded but his throw trying to get Nate Schierholtz at home bounced up the first-base line to allow the run to score.
Missing the right-handed hitting Braun and Segura also hurt the Brewers, though Hammel was tough on righties all afternoon. Hammel (4-1) threw a sinker early in counts to try to entice groundball outs against an aggressive lineup and mixed things up with a fastball in the low 90s.
“I mean every time we get shut down by other teams it’s bad,” Segura said. “We’re still together and trying to do our job.”
Hammel didn’t allow a hit until Carlos Gomez doubled with one out in the sixth. He then got into trouble after walking Scooter Gennett and making an errant pickoff throw to put runners at second and third.
But the righty got a strikeout before Aramis Ramirez bounced out to end the threat.
“I featured a pretty good sinker down in the zone early to get a lot of ground balls and just attacked the zone,” Hammel said.
Castro’s second homer in the eighth barely cleared the wall in the left-field corner. It was his second career multi-homer game in nearly three weeks, having going deep twice April 8 against Pittsburgh.
The second-inning homer also just cleared the wall 400 feet away in dead center and evaded the leaping Gomez’s outstretched glove.
On the mound, Peralta pumped his right arm in front of his waist in frustration. He thought the Gold Glove-winning Gomez might have had a shot at robbing the homer.
Gomez said he had perfect timing, “but it’s not even close” when it came to how close he was to the ball. He went 1 for 4 on his bobblehead day.
Hammel allowed three hits and two walks before being lifted after allowing pinch hitter Rickie Weeks’ single to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Two relievers held the Brewers hitless the final two innings.
“Great, great job,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said about Hammel. “Mixed all his pitches well. Stayed down.”
Notes: Despite the win, the Cubs lost the three-game series to the Brewers and extended the team’s string of winless series to 13 dating to last season. Chicago last won a series after taking two of three from Cincinnati in September. … C John Baker went 2 for 4 that ended an 0-for-18 stretch. … Roenicke said the club would hold off on making any roster moves while Braun and Segura continue to be evaluated. … The Brewers travel to St. Louis to start a seven-game road trip, with Yovani Gallardo (2-0) getting the start Monday. Chicago begins a three-game set in Cincinnati and sends Jeff Samardzija (0-2) to the mound.
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