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Hit-by-pitch issue bubbles over in loss

August 4, 2010

CHICAGO — Ken Macha finally reached a tipping point on the Brewers’ hit-by-pitch issue in Wednesday’s 15-3 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With his team trailing 10-3 in the bottom of the seventh, veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins was ejected for hitting Alfonso Soriano after giving up a three-run homer to catcher Geovany Soto.

After seeing the pitch barely graze Soriano about waist high, Macha was irate over the call, prompting a heated discussion between the Brewers manager and home-plate umpire and crew chief Tom Hallion.

Once Hallion had heard enough, he sent Macha to join Hawkins in the visitors’ clubhouse.

Macha has had several discussions with Major League Baseball officials over the past month as the hit-by-pitch rate of his batters continues to rise. In this Cubs series alone, the Brewers have been hit four times, including one to the head of Carlos Gomez.

Before those seventh-inning fireworks, sixth-inning struggles proved costly once again for Manny Parra and the Brewers.

In each of his 13 starts this season, Parra (3-9) has been unable to pitch beyond the sixth inning. On Wednesday, Parra surrendered five runs on four hits and a walk in the frame, costing the Brewers a chance at a sweep.

After he left, he didn’t get much relief from the bullpen.

Todd Coffey entered for Parra with two on and two out in the sixth and promptly surrendered a pinch-hit three-run homer to Aramis Ramirez, which proved to be the eventual game-winner.

After Coffey was Hawkins, who pitched one-third of an inning, giving up four straight hits, including the three-run home run to Soto before he was ejected for hitting Soriano.

David Riske was then tagged for two runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Offensively, the Brewers got to Cubs starter Ryan Dempster in one big inning, which was bolstered by a throwing error on the part of third baseman Jeff Baker.

A clean throw from Baker would have ended the inning, but instead, Jim Edmonds scored from third on the play and a Corey Hart double one batter later gave Milwaukee a 3-1 lead.

Thanks to the Cubs’ offensive outburst in the sixth, though, Dempster (9-8) got the win.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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