MILWAUKEE -- For the longest time, the Cubs had Ryan Dempster's magic against the Milwaukee Brewers working for them.
Now that's gone poof.
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For the second straight start at Miller Park, Dempster got beat by the Brewers as he and the Cubs fell 6-4 Saturday night before 44,091.
Dempster entered the game 6-1 with a 2.10 ERA in his last 9 starts against the Brew Crew dating to July 2, 2009.
But Milwaukee batters jumped on him early and often Saturday, getting doubles by Corey Hart and Prince Fielder and a homer by Casey McGehee in the first inning. Hart had an RBI triple in the second, and Fielder hit his 29th homer, a solo shot, in the third.
"Just didn't do a very good job of executing some pitches," said Dempster, who fell to 10-10 with a 4.76 ERA. "Got ahead of some guys and left some pitches out over the middle of the plate. Giving up a home run in the first inning put us down 3-0 against a tough team playing as good as anybody in baseball right now."
The Brewers improved to 80-54 for the season as they continue a remarkable run that began against the Cubs last month, when Milwaukee was 54-49.
The Cubs, on the other hand, have lost three in a row and six of seven to fall to 57-76.
"It's not a lot of fun," Dempster said. "It's not a lot of fun when you're not winning games. Sometimes it looks like you make a couple steps forward when you start playing better, and you take some steps back. You've got to keep plugging away and continue to try and learn. We've got some young guys up here getting a great opportunity to play and pitch. We need to go out there and do the best job we can of just trying to get better every day."
On a streak:
The Brewers' Corey Hart fell a single shy of the cycle with a double, a triple and a homer. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He also walked.
The Cubs' Aramis Ramirez extended his own hitting streak to 16 games. Starlin Castro has an 11-game hitting streak.
Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano drove in a season-high 4 runs, hitting an RBI single in the second and a bases-loaded double to score 3 in the eighth.
The Cubs seemed pleased with Andrew Cashner's rehab start Friday for Class AA Tennessee. Cashner worked a perfect inning, throwing 15 pitches and striking out one.
He'll make one more start for Tennessee before moving up to Class AAA Iowa for 2 appearances. If all goes well, he'll rejoin the Cubs in a relief role in September.
"Good, healthy," said manager Mike Quade of Cashner, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury. "Velocity was OK. He wants to be in my bullpen tonight. He's beautiful. You absolutely love it. If he feels great, he's ready to go, but we're going to stay with the program to make sure when he gets back here, he's as ready as he can be."