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Chicago at Milwaukee

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Chi. Cubs (65-44) «0014000421190
Milwaukee (60-49)0000001034101

Edmonds, Harden help Cubs nail down four-game sweep of Brewers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Two months ago, Jim Edmonds was released by one of the worst offensive teams in baseball. On Thursday, he slugged his new team to a commanding lead in the NL Central.

Edmonds hit two homers, including a grand slam, and the Chicago Cubs finished off a four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with an 11-4 rout to extend their lead in the division.

"I just got it started," Edmonds said. "Nice to win, nice series."

Just five days ago, the Cubs and Brewers were tied atop the division after Milwaukee made up five games in nine days. After the sweep, the Brewers have lost five straight and are five games back again.

The Cardinals began the day four games behind Chicago.

Rich Harden (1-1) picked up his first NL win, giving up a run and six hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts. He has yet to allow more than one run in any of his four starts since being traded to the Cubs.

"I felt as strong as I've been," Harden said.

Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome also homered for the Cubs, who swept four games from the Brewers for the first time since 2003.

"No one is happy after a game like this," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We don't like the fact that we allowed their fans to come into our park and have a four-day party. But that's our fault."

Edmonds provided all the offense needed after missing the previous three games because of a sore left knee. He led off the third with a homer to right to give the Cubs the lead. Chicago scored first in each game of the series, and outscored Milwaukee 31-11 in the series, all while stranding 35 runners on base.

The Cubs improved to 8-2 at Milwaukee in the last two seasons.

Brewers starter Dave Bush (5-9) retired the first two batters in the fourth, but Aramis Ramirez walked, Fukudome doubled and Bush hit Mark DeRosa with an 0-2 pitch to bring up Edmonds.

The 38-year-old center fielder, who joined Chicago in May, hit an opposite-field grand slam to left to make it 5-0. It was the seventh grand slam of his career and the 27th time he's hit two homers in a game.

Edmonds started the year with the San Diego Padres, hitting .178 in 26 games with one homer. He was released on May 9. After he cleared waivers, the Cubs signed him as a free agent on May 15.

Since then, Edmonds is hitting .277 with 12 homers in 155 at-bats.

Soriano added a solo homer and Fukudome hit a two-out, two-run shot in the eighth sandwiched around Ramirez's RBI double to make it 9-1.

The game nearly turned ugly in the ninth when Gagne threw behind Edmonds on a 3-0 pitch and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Doug Eddings.

"The umpire told me I can't go inside," Gagne said.

Edmonds took his base instead of escalating the situation.

"I really believe that you go out there, set that kind of example day in and day out and keep it together," he said. "Not to say that they were wrong or anything, it's just that that's the way the game is, you can't ride the ups and downs with this game or it will kill you."

Did Edmonds think it was intentional?

"I don't make anything of it, I know where it came from," Edmonds said. "I've played this game a long time, I know what's going on."

The Cubs trailed just once in the series, and that was for one inning on Monday.

The Brewers have downplayed the much-hyped July series after initially calling it a dress rehearsal and a test for September and the playoffs.

"This is not a death sentence by any means," Yost said. "If this was September, it would be different. We have plenty of time to recover from this and get back on track."

Reigning AL Cy Young winner CC Sabathia and NL All-Star starter Ben Sheets couldn't beat Ted Lilly or Carlos Zambrano. Ryan Dempster pushed the Brewers to the brink of being swept Wednesday night with another strong effort, setting the stage for Harden, who compared their performances to when he was younger with Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito in Oakland.

"You kind of feed off each other. You see every starter going out there and doing really well, and you want to match them," Harden said. "I think it is contagious. ... It's a pretty amazing staff here."

The two teams will meet six times in the final 12 games, including the final three games of the regular season at Miller Park.

"There's baseball to be played in August, September," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "But certainly, coming in here and beating a good opponent at their home ballpark four times is something to feel good about."

Notes

  • Neither team made a deadline deal after being active earlier this season.
  • Prince Fielder hit a solo homer off Harden in the seventh and was ejected in the ninth for arguing with Eddings.
  • Soriano finished the series 7-for-16 with two homers, three RBI and three steals.
  • The Brewers snapped an 0-for-20 streak with runners in scoring position with Mike Cameron's one-out RBI single in the ninth.
  • Milwaukee's home sellout streak reached 11 straight after 180,697 fans came during the series.
 
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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Jim Edmonds rounds third and heads for home, to the delight of Cubs fans who make the trip to Milwaukee.
 
Jim Edmonds rounds third and heads for home, to the delight of Cubs fans who make the trip to Milwaukee. (Getty Images)
 

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Edmonds
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 5
Chicago

R. Harden
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 9
 
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF4111011 .291
Ryan Theriot, SS5100002 .319
Derrek Lee, 1B5000002 .291
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3211100 .274
    Ronny Cedeno, 3B0000000 .283
Kosuke Fukudome, RF4222010 .282
Mark DeRosa, 2B3100020 .271
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .500
Jim Edmonds, CF3325100 .241
Geovany Soto, C4120010 .278
Rich Harden, P2000001 .083
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1000000 .246
    Mike Fontenot, 2B1012000 .287
Totals351191125  
a-grounded out for Harden in the 8th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (28, Riske), Kosuke Fukudome (21, Bush), Geovany Soto (26, McClung), Mike Fontenot (16, McClung)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (18, Bush), Kosuke Fukudome (8, Riske), Jim Edmonds 2 (13, Bush, Bush)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (47), Aramis Ramirez (73), Kosuke Fukudome 2 (40), Jim Edmonds 5 (42), Mike Fontenot 2 (30)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez (24), Kosuke Fukudome 2 (14), Jim Edmonds 4 (14)
Team LOB - 1
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alfonso Soriano 1
DP - Soriano-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Rich Harden (W,6-2) 7611091 2.04
Bob Howry 1000110 5.19
Scott Eyre 0.1333000 7.15
Sean Marshall 0.2100010 4.13
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 105-71, Bob Howry 23-13, Scott Eyre 25-16, Sean Marshall 7-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 2-9, Bob Howry 1-1, Sean Marshall 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 26, Bob Howry 4, Scott Eyre 4, Sean Marshall 3
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B4010132 .223
Craig Counsell, 3B4000012 .231
J.J. Hardy, SS4000021 .288
Prince Fielder, 1B4111000 .278
Ryan Braun, LF4120010 .302
Gabe Kapler, RF4030001 .303
Mike Cameron, CF4111022 .227
Jason Kendall, C4100013 .246
Dave Bush, P2010010 .105
    David Riske, P0000000 .000
   a- Ray Durham, PH1000000 .288
    Eric Gagne, P0000000 .000
    Seth McClung, P0000000 .294
   b- Bill Hall, PH1012000 .230
Totals364104111  
a-fouled out for Riske in the 8th
b-doubled for McClung in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Braun (27, Harden), Gabe Kapler 2 (13, Harden, Harden), Bill Hall (18, Marshall)
HR - Prince Fielder (22, Harden)
RBI - Prince Fielder (61), Mike Cameron (42), Bill Hall 2 (44)
2-OUT RBI - Bill Hall 2 (20)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Hardy-Weeks-Fielder, Counsell-Hardy-Weeks
E - Craig Counsell (3, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
Dave Bush (L,5-9) 7.1576133 4.69
David Riske 0.2222011 4.46
Eric Gagne0011100 6.59
Seth McClung 1211010 4.41
HBP - Soriano (by Dave Bush), DeRosa (by Dave Bush)
Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 106-66, David Riske 23-14, Eric Gagne 4-0, Seth McClung 20-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 8-10, Seth McClung 2-0
Batters Faced - Dave Bush 29, David Riske 4, Eric Gagne 1, Seth McClung 5
Game Information
Attendance - 45346
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Lance Barksdale