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Ninth-inning errors doom Cubs in home loss to Brewers

CHICAGO (AP) -- Gabe Gross got the bunt down and hustled to
first. Halfway there, he saw the Brewers' fortunes change in a
hurry.

Ryan Dempster's costly throwing error on Gross' bunt opened the
doors for Milwaukee's four-run ninth in an 8-5 victory over the
Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

"Luck finds you every once in a while, I guess," Gross said.

The Brewers went into the top of the ninth with just two wins in
36 games when trailing after the eighth. The Cubs were gracious
hosts, committing two errors in the final inning to earn their
fifth straight loss. All four runs were unearned.

The Cubs have lost nine straight at Wrigley Field, and 12 of 14
overall to fall a season-high 20 games under .500.

"This is rock bottom," Dempster said. "I guess we hit it. It
seems like we've been saying that forever."

Dempster entered the ninth with a 5-4 lead. Corey Koskie
ricocheted a hit off of Dempster and Damian Miller walked with no
outs. Dempster then fielded Gross' sacrifice bunt and tried to get
the lead runner at third. His throw sailed into left field,
allowing Koskie to score to tie it.

Corey Hart then hit a hard grounder through Ronny Cedeno's legs
at shortstop and Miller came around to score. Rickie Weeks hit a
sacrifice fly and Bill Hall singled before Dempster (1-4) was taken
out of the game. He has converted just four of his last eight save
opportunities.

"Tonight was as bad as I've ever felt for the guys on the
team," Dempster said. "There's no one else on the team that can
take any of the blame but me. I've never in my entire career thrown
that ball away. It really breaks my heart."

Geoff Jenkins' sacrifice fly off Scott Eyre scored Hart to make
it 8-5.

Derrick Turnbow pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 26
chances.

"We played good defense all night long and we took advantage of
opportunities when they were presented to us," Brewers manager Ned
Yost said.

Gross singled, laid down two sacrifice bunts and scored three
runs, the first coming after another Cubs' mistake.

Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in third after Cedeno missed a tag on
Gross during a rundown between second and third. The Cubs argued
the call with third base umpire Jim Joyce, who said Cedeno's
chest-high swipe missed Gross, who stayed at third. Gross then
scored on Hall's RBI groundout.

"I thought he was out of the baseline, number one," Cubs
manager Dusty Baker said. "Ronny said he tagged him. That was a
run that haunted us early."

The Brewers led 3-0 and 4-3 but the Cubs rallied to tie it
twice. Todd Walker's pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth gave the
Cubs the lead.

Aramis Ramirez hit a solo homer off Jose Capellan to lead off
the bottom of the eighth and tie it at 4. Phil Nevin walked and was
replaced by Matt Murton. Cedeno moved Murton to second with a
sacrifice bunt and Capellan intentionally walked Jacque Jones, who
hit an RBI double in the sixth to tie it at 3.

Capellan got Henry Blanco to fly out to center before being
replaced by Brian Shouse (1-0). Walker then singled past Koskie at
third to drive in Murton.

Carlos Zambrano got a no-decision, giving up four runs and six
hits with two walks in eight innings. He struck out eight. He also
hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, his second, and singled in the
seventh but was stranded at third with one out.

"I think it is not the time to blame anybody or point at
anybody," Zambrano said. "This is a time to stay together and
support each other."

Carlos Lee hit his 25th homer in the fourth for the Brewers.

Dempster hasn't earned a save since June 10 and his last four
appearances before Tuesday were in non-save opportunities. Dempster
had given up five earned runs in his previous two appearances and
Baker said it might be time for a change at closer.

"I've got to discuss it with [pitching coach] Larry
(Rothschild)," Baker said. "We'll talk about it. We might have to
do matchups until he gets his stuff back together."

Game Notes
With 1B Derrek Lee back in the lineup, Cubs general manager
Jim Hendry reiterated his support for embattled manager Dusty Baker
for the second time in two months on Tuesday, saying, "I want to
give Dusty every opportunity to manage the club and help get us out
of this hole when we get healthier." ... The Cubs optioned INF
Tony Womack and RHP David Aardsma to Triple-A Iowa, activating RHP
Scott Williamson and recalling catcher Geovany Soto. ... Carlos Lee
has hit at least 25 homers in five straight seasons. ... The
Brewers have won 600 games since joining the National League in
1998. ... The Cubs' home losing streak is their longest since
dropping 12 straight from April 4-May 3, 1994.