Jul 23, 11:50 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey gives up two home runs, including a two-run shot to Jonathan Lucroy in the first, in a 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night


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AP Photo/Benny Sieu

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A key first-inning matchup turned out to be costly for Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey when he surrendered a two-run homer to Jonathan Lucroy during a lengthy at-bat.

"Lucroy put a good at-bat on me," Lackey said. "I made a lot of good pitches in that at-bat and he finally got into one."

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit two home runs, Zach Davies took a shutout into the seventh inning and the Brewers beat the Cubs 6-1 on Saturday night.

Lucroy's homer in the first off Lackey (7-7) staked the Brewers to an early lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

"He let one come back over the middle a little bit, and I was able to square it up," Lucroy said. "It was a tough at bat, and I think I tired him out and he finally let one leak back out a little bit."

Nieuwenhuis led off the fourth with a homer to center field, extending Milwaukee's lead to 3-0.

"They hit a couple of home runs but I thought (Lackey) threw the ball really well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Lackey, who has surrendered at least one home run in seven straight starts, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings.

"He challenges with his fastball and sometimes they'll hit it out," Maddon said. "The ball Lucroy hit was really well struck. Johnny's just an aggressive sort, that's really what it comes down to."

Nieuwenhuis' added a three-run homer to left in the eighth.

Davies (7-4) gave up one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Davies retired 10 consecutive batters before yielding a single to Ben Zobrist leading off the seventh. Zobrist scored on Addison Russell's single off Will Smith, who relieved Davies with one out in the inning.

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs in the third but Lackey escaped by striking out Chris Carter.

Milwaukee threatened again in the seventh, putting runners on second and third with one out. Cubs reliever Adam Warren then fired a pitch over catcher Willson Contreras' glove. With Hernan Perez racing down the third-base line attempting to score, Contreras retrieved the ball off of a carom and fired to Warren covering the plate, who tagged out a sliding Perez. The call was upheld after a review.

PITCHING A FIT

There was still buzz in Milwaukee on Saturday about newly retired Chicago Bears safety Charles Tillman, who said he was a guest of Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., throwing out a ceremonial pitch at Miller Park on Friday. Tillman tweeted: "Northwestern Mutual had a suite and the 1st pitch and they asked me to do it #relaxeveryone."

OPEN AND SHUT

The game began with the retractable roof closed. It was opened after the first inning only to be closed again with the Brewers batting in the third. Miller Park ground rules only allow the roof to be opened once if it is closed to begin a game.

BY LAND

In the midst of a five-game trip against the Brewers and then the Chicago White Sox, the Cubs won't board a plane until jetting to Oakland for a series against the A's beginning Aug. 3.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Reliever Joe Nathan, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join the club Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said. The 41-year-old Nathan has been on a 30-day rehab assignment in the Cubs minor-league system but hasn't appear in a major league game since April 6, 2015, with Detroit.

Brewers: OF Domingo Santana, on the DL since June 10 with right elbow soreness, started a rehab assignment Saturday with Class-A Wisconsin.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Jon Lester (10-4, 2.89) will start against the Brewers for the first time this season and first time ever at Miller Park. In five career starts versus Milwaukee he is 2-2 with a 2.22 ERA.

Brewers: Junior Guerra (6-2, 3.06) will make his second start of the season against the Cubs. Guerra earned the victory in a May 15 start at Miller Park, giving up five hits and three runs over seven innings. He struck out a career-high 11 against Chicago.

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