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Chicago at Milwaukee

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Chi. Cubs (62-44) «1010002026110
Milwaukee (60-46)000003100481

Cubs rally past Brewers in ninth, take two-game lead in NL Central

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Derrek Lee gave Milwaukee all the momentum. Reed Johnson just made sure Lee got a second chance.

Lee doubled with one out in the ninth to score Alfonso Soriano and the Chicago Cubs rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Monday night to take a two-game lead in the NL Central.

"The way we've been playing, we just needed a win. Period," Lee said. "On the road, it makes it even better."

In the opener of a four-game series between the NL's top two teams, the Cubs prevailed in a back-and-forth contest to improve to 32-26 at Miller Park -- also known by Cubs fans as "Wrigley North" -- since it opened in 2001.

With the game tied at 4, Brewers closer Salomon Torres (5-3) struck out Kosuke Fukudome, but ran into trouble by walking Soriano and pinch hitter Mike Fontenot.

"I wasn't able to execute, bottom line," Torres said.

Lee, who finished 3-for-5 with three RBI, then flared a double to right, scoring Soriano. After an intentional walk to Aramis Ramirez and a strike out of Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa's infield single scored Fontenot to make it 6-4.

"I just got two strikes and I was battling, I was just trying to get a sinker up and get the barrel on it," Lee said. "It worked out. He left one up a little bit and I was able to stay inside it and hit it to right field."

Johnson did his part with a hard slide.

He came through in the seventh after walking to load the bases with one out. Brewers starter CC Sabathia forced Lee to ground weakly to Hardy, the shortstop, but Johnson's hard slide took out second baseman Rickie Weeks and Weeks' errant throw allowed two to score to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead.

"You try to beat the middle infielder to a spot, and I was able to get in there and get a good piece of him," Johnson said.

Said Weeks: "I never got a hold of the ball really good, so I just tried to turn it. It just got away from me."

The Brewers tied the game at 4-4 with a solo homer by pinch hitter Russell Branyan with two outs in the seventh off Bob Howry. But they couldn't mount another comeback in the ninth against reliever Carlos Marmol, who picked up his fifth save after working around a two-out walk. Soriano made a jumping catch near the wall on Gabe Kapler's fly ball to deep left to end the game.

The Cubs took an early lead off Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young winner and the Brewers' prized acquisition picked up in a trade with Cleveland before the All-Star break. Sabathia had started 4-0 in his first four starts with a 1.36 ERA in the NL, but the Cubs chipped away.

"They were patient and I wasn't as pinpoint as I had been in my earlier starts," Sabathia said. "It's the Dave Burba approach, if you don't got it, fake it. Do whatever I can to keep us in the game."

Soriano doubled, stole a base and then scored on Lee's single in the first. The Cubs made it 2-0 when Soriano, who came off the disabled list on Wednesday, homered in the third, his 17th of the season and second in two days.

"I swung the bat very good today, yesterday too. Hopefully it will continue tomorrow," he said.

Down 2-0, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun hit back-to-back homers off Cubs starter Ted Lilly. Milwaukee took the lead moments later when Prince Fielder singled and scored on Corey Hart's double. Lilly had retired 13 of his previous 14 batters before the home runs.

The Brewers are trying to mimic what the Cubs did to them last season.

Chicago overcame an 8½-game deficit last June to win the division by two games over Milwaukee, and this year Chicago's biggest lead has been 8½ games on June 16 only to have the Brewers catch the Cubs in the division Saturday before losing Sunday and again on Monday to fall two games back.

With the four-game series, both teams get to showcase their best pitchers, continuing Tuesday when NL All-Star starter Ben Sheets (10-3, 2.87 ERA) squares off against Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano (11-4, 2.96).

"We won the first game of an important series," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "And tomorrow we've got a nice pitching matchup between Sheets and Zambrano, two All-Star pitchers."

Notes

  • Reliever Chad Gaudin (2-1) earned the win with a scoreless eighth. Gaudin came with starter Rich Harden in a trade with Oakland on July 8 as part of a six-player deal.
  • Braun's homer was his fifth in six days and team-leading 29th this season.
  • It was Milwaukee's eighth straight sellout, setting a Miller Park record, and 24th this season. The Brewers also are expected to sellout the three remaining games in the series.
  • Chicago drew six walks against Milwaukee and lead the majors with 419 walks drawn this season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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An exhausted CC Sabathia huddles with the Brewers during a bases-loaded situation in the seventh.  (AP)
An exhausted CC Sabathia huddles with the Brewers during a bases-loaded situation in the seventh. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

D. Lee
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Milwaukee

R. Braun
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4321110 .285
Reed Johnson, CF3000101 .279
   a- Mike Fontenot, PH-2B0100100 .284
Derrek Lee, 1B5033000 .299
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4000103 .270
Geovany Soto, C4010123 .273
Mark DeRosa, RF-2B^RF4021104 .274
Ryan Theriot, SS5010006 .316
Ronny Cedeno, 2B3110001 .278
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
   b- Daryle Ward, PH1000001 .250
    Chad Gaudin, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Ted Lilly, P2000010 .195
   c- Kosuke Fukudome, PH-RF^CF2110010 .279
Totals37611565  
a-walked for Johnson in the 9th
b-popped out for Howry in the 8th
c-singled for Lilly in the 7th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano (14, Sabathia), Derrek Lee (29, Torres)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (17, Sabathia)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (45), Derrek Lee 3 (66), Mark DeRosa (52)
2-OUT RBI - Mark DeRosa (11)
SB - Alfonso Soriano (8, 3rd base off Sabathia/Kendall), Ronny Cedeno (4, 3rd base off Sabathia/Kendall), Kosuke Fukudome (9, 2nd base off Sabathia/Kendall)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alfonso Soriano 1
Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly 6733142 4.49
Bob Howry (BS,2) 1111021 5.29
Chad Gaudin (W,7-4) 1000130 3.31
Carlos Marmol (S,5) 1000120 3.70
IBB - Fielder by Chad Gaudin
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 93-62, Bob Howry 19-12, Chad Gaudin 16-9, Carlos Marmol 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 5-7
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 24, Bob Howry 4, Chad Gaudin 4, Carlos Marmol 4
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B4000021 .224
J.J. Hardy, SS4111011 .297
Ryan Braun, LF3111111 .303
Prince Fielder, 1B3120110 .275
Corey Hart, RF4011023 .286
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .000
Bill Hall, 3B4010010 .230
Mike Cameron, CF4000021 .224
Jason Kendall, C3000100 .251
CC Sabathia, P2010010 .222
    David Riske, P0000000 .000
   a- Russell Branyan, PH1111000 .256
    Eric Gagne, P0000000 .000
    Gabe Kapler, RF1000001 .292
Totals33484311  
a-homered for Riske in the 7th
Batting
2B - Corey Hart (32, Lilly)
HR - J.J. Hardy (15, Lilly), Ryan Braun (29, Lilly), Russell Branyan (12, Howry)
RBI - J.J. Hardy (48), Ryan Braun (81), Corey Hart (61), Russell Branyan (20)
2-OUT RBI - Russell Branyan (7)
SB - Rickie Weeks (15, 2nd base off Lilly/Soto)
CS - Bill Hall (6, 2nd base by Lilly/Soto)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Mike Cameron 1
E - Rickie Weeks (9, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
CC Sabathia 6.2943231 3.33
David Riske 0.1000000 4.13
Eric Gagne 1000100 6.26
Salomon Torres (L,5-3) 1222320 2.86
IBB - Ramirez by Salomon Torres
Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 124-77, David Riske 5-3, Eric Gagne 15-6, Salomon Torres 39-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 9-7, Salomon Torres 1-0
Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 30, David Riske 1, Eric Gagne 4, Salomon Torres 8
Game Information
Attendance - 45311
Game Time - 3:21
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Doug Eddings