Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cubs vs. Brewers

TIME: 02:20 P.M. EST
VENUE: Wrigley Field

The Milwaukee Brewers have already secured their first winning road trip in four months. Now, they'll try to accomplish something else that's eluded them for some time.

The Brewers look to win two in a row at Wrigley Field for the first time in more than a year while trying to split their four-game set with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

Rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar went 4 for 5 with three RBIs in Milwaukee's 9-5 victory over Chicago on Wednesday.

Hoping to salvage something positive at the end of a disappointing season, the Brewers (70-75) are 4-2 on this seven-game road trip that started with a sweep at Arizona. It's Milwaukee's first winning road swing since going 5-4 at St. Louis, Houston and Minnesota from May 16-24.

Milwaukee is 2-5 at Wrigley in 2009, and hasn't won two in a row at Chicago since opening the 2008 season with consecutive victories.

The Brewers pounded out 13 hits Wednesday and were paced by Escobar, who set career highs for hits and RBIs. He's 8 for 16 on the road trip, and batting .312 with 11 RBIs in 25 games since being called up from Triple-A Nashville.

"I'm getting better and better every day," said Escobar, who doesn't turn 23 until December. "I'm trying to work on my offense every day, trying to put the ball in play and make some contact. I'm looking for line drives in every at-bat."

After Braden Looper recorded his career-high 13th win Wednesday, Milwaukee hopes Dave Bush (4-7, 5.85 ERA) can build off his first victory in almost four months when he takes the ball in this contest.

Bush allowed one run and struck out a season-high 11 in a 9-2 win at Arizona for his first victory since beating Houston on May 19.

"It was mostly throwing strikes and being unpredictable. That's what I have to do," said Bush, who went 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA in nine starts between victories and also spent more than two months on the disabled list due to arm fatigue.

The right-hander is 1-7 with a 4.78 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cubs, and has a 3.38 ERA with no record in two outings versus Chicago this season.

Three of Aramis Ramirez's eight hits against Bush have been home runs. The veteran third baseman hit a two-run homer Wednesday for the Cubs (75-69), who lost for the second time in nine games.

Chicago's playoff chances are remote, as it's 8 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central and 6 1/2 behind wild-card leader Colorado.

"Right now, we're still trying to win as many games and finish as strong as we can," manager Lou Piniella told the Cubs' official Web site.

Ramirez is batting .419 with nine RBIs in his last eight contests.

Randy Wells (10-8, 2.96) takes the ball for the Cubs. The right-hander allowed three earned runs in 3 2-3 innings Saturday, but didn't receive a decision in a 7-5 loss to Cincinnati.

The right-hander's first career start - and season debut - came against the Brewers on May 8, when he allowed five hits over five scoreless innings of a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee.

Copyright 2009 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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