4/10 Brewers 7, Cubs 4

Paul Maholm never had a chance to feel at home at Wrigley Field. Alex Gonzalez belted a three-run homer to highlight a five-run first inning and Jonathan Lucroy added a solo shot to power the Brewers to victory.

“Obviously, it’s cold and windy but the first inning, it is what it is,” Maholm said. “To put it bluntly, I [stunk]. To put the team down 5-0, it’s not what you want to do.”

The Brewers took a 5-0 lead in the first, sending 10 batters to the plate. Maholm walked two, hit two batters, served up a homer and a double and a sacrifice fly. He needed 41 pitches to get through th einning.

“The pitches they hit out were brutal,” Maholm said. “The pitch Gonzalez hit out — obviously, in the first inning, I hit two guys, walk two guys, so it’s a weird inning. The pitch Gonzalez hit out was a bad cutter so it pretty much turns into a [batting practice] fastball. The pitch Lucroy hit out [in the third] was a changeup that cut right back into his bat so it was almost the same, another B.P. fastball. If you make your pitch, I think different results. Bad pitches and they did what they were supposed to.”

Extra bases:

* The Cubs need their starting pitchers to go deep if they’re going to have success this season. Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija each posted quality starts, and Chris Volstad lasted five innings on Monday. Maholm’s was the shortest outing so far and his briefest appearance since 3 2/3 innings last April 19 against the Marlins.

* Alfonso Soriano hit a RBI single, extending his hitting streak to five games. He’s batting .353. Soriano also made a nice catch of Aramis Ramirez’s ball in the second.

* Geovany Soto hit his first home run of the season leading off the ninth. He was busy trying to get Maholm through the game as well as Rafael Dolis and Lendy Castillo.

* The Cubs first five games have been decided by three or fewer runs. Last season, they opened the year with seven straight games decided by three runs or less for the first time since 1950.

* Ryan Dempster, who is 15-5 in his career against the Brewers, will try to get the Cubs on track Wednesday in Game 3 of this four-game series. Milwaukee will counter with Yovani Gallardo.

— Carrie Muskat

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