MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun's homer had a familiar feeling.
Braun hit a two-run drive in the eighth and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs, who may be without third baseman Aramis Ramirez for an extended period after he dislocated his left shoulder Friday night.
Braun hit a two-run homer in the eighth against the Cubs in the final game last season that lifted the Brewers to their first postseason appearance in 26 years.
"Not quite as dramatic as the home run last year, but definitely a lot of fun, just the energy, the excitement of the crowd that made it feel a little bit like last year," said Braun, who is hitting .424 with six homers and 20 RBI in his last 16 games.
"That's why you work hard all year is to have an opportunity to be in a situation like that. That's what makes this game fun."
Ramirez, who hurt himself after his diving backhanded stop of a hard grounder by Braun in the third, said he'll return to Chicago for tests on Saturday.
"I felt a pop. I've done it before," said Ramirez, who hurt the same shoulder in 2000 in Pittsburgh and missed six weeks. "It's been nine years since I've been playing, it's just one of those things."
"Walks always hurt you," Heilman said. "I put myself in the hole there and tried to get out of it."
Braun watched his opposite-field drive for a moment, then stuck his tongue out in a Jordan-esque display while slapping hands with first base coach Ed Sedar. Milwaukee has won four of five and 13 of the last 17.
"I'm passionate. My intent is never to show anybody up or embarrass anybody," Braun said. "I think guys should be emotional, you should enjoy it. You don't hit too many home runs in big situations that you get to enjoy, so why not?"
The Cubs certainly aren't enjoying their latest predicament after sending reserve outfielder Joey Gathright to Triple-A and trading him to Baltimore for utility player Ryan Freel before the game because of the lack of infield depth.
That move allowed the Cubs to call-up pitcher Randy Wells, who threw five scoreless innings in his first major league start. Wells is in Carlos Zambrano's spot in the rotation with the ace recovering from a hamstring injury.
But Hardy answered with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 2-1, and the Cubs couldn't scratch across a run with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth.
"We had chances to put the game away in the eighth inning ... and got nothing," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Reliever Mitch Stetter (2-0) earned the win by getting the only batter he faced out, forcing pinch-hitter Geovany Soto to ground out to end the threat, and Trevor Hoffman finished with a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
The Cubs, who came in winning six of seven, now have yet another injury to add to the growing list of stars who've been out so far this year.
Derrek Lee (neck spasms), Bradley (groin), Soto (shoulder) and Zambrano have all missed time with nagging injuries, and Ramirez hurt his left calf earlier this year and sat out six games.
"I've never seen anything quite like this. Every day it seems to be something different," Piniella said. "It just gets frustrating every time you start putting something together, something different happens."
- Piniella came out to check on Bradley's discussion with plate umpire Tom Hallion after he struck out looking in the seventh. Bradley has appealed a two-game suspension from earlier this year for making contact with an umpire. Neither side was pleased with Hallion's calls with Brewers 3B Bill Hall and C Jason Kendall both venting after at-bats.
- Lee missed his third straight game but is expected to return on Saturday.
- Piniella said Zambrano is expected to throw a bullpen at some point this weekend.
- American Idol finalist and Milwaukee native Danny Gokey threw out the first pitch and sang the national anthem. One sign in the crowd said, "Danny, Even Cubs fans love you."