One day after Lee’s homer helped snap the Cubs’ nine-game home losing streak, Chicago seeks consecutive victories at Wrigley Field for the first time in a month when it concludes its four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
Lee’s two-run shot off Dan Kolb highlighted a five-run eighth inning for Chicago (29-48) in a 6-3 win Wednesday that marked its first home victory since May 30.
The win improved the Cubs to 6-19 at Wrigley since late April and 13-22 overall there. Chicago hasn’t won back-to-back home games since May 29-30 against Cincinnati.
Bill Hall gave the Brewers (39-40) a 3-1 lead in the eighth with a two-run homer off Bob Howry before Lee, who missed 59 games due to a fractured right wrist, hit his first homer since April 8 in his fourth game off the disabled list.
“I don’t feel great, honestly, at the plate,” Lee said. “But you just keep working and you don’t know when good things can happen. I’ll keep fighting until I get that rhythm down and get in a groove.”
Lee, who led the majors last season with a .335 batting average to go along with 46 homers and 107 RBIs, is 4-for-17 (.235) with six strikeouts since his return.
Juan Pierre also homered for Chicago—his first since July 7, a span of 643 at-bats—and Carlos Marmol struck out eight in 6 1-3 innings before he loaded the bases in the seventh and gave way to the bullpen.
Marmol lowered his ERA to 4.18, and Mark Prior (0-2, 9.64) will also be looking to shrink his bloated ERA when he makes his third start Thursday.
Prior’s (0-2, 9.64 ERA) return to the starting rotation has been a struggle, though he did have a better outing his second outing Saturday. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and struck out four in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-0 loss at Minnesota.
His first time out, he gave up seven earned runs—including four homers— in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-3 defeat to Detroit on June 18.
“I felt more comfortable out there,” Prior said after his second start. “I guess that’s a positive thing. I just didn’t put guys away when I had them in situations to do it.”
Prior had been out since mid-March with a right shoulder strain and opened the season on the DL for the third straight year.
He is 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA against the Brewers in eight starts, including a career-high 16-strikeout performance in the Cubs’ 5-3 loss on June 26, 2003.
Milwaukee dropped to 3-3 on its 10-game homestand Wednesday and will send left-hander Doug Davis to the mound in the series finale Thursday.
Davis (4-5, 4.82) has allowed three earned runs or less in five straight starts and seemed to be on his way to just his second win since May 24 in his last outing, but the Brewers surrendered a four-run lead in a 6-5 loss at Kansas City on Saturday.
Leading 5-1 in the fourth, Davis gave up a homer, two walks and a two-run double, and Milwaukee made two errors that led to his exit in that inning and the loss.
“It’s the walks that kill you,” said Davis, who has 52 walks in 97 innings. “We gave them a couple of extra outs in that inning, but maybe if I don’t walk those two, the defenders aren’t on their heels and they make those plays.”
Davis has won his last three starts at Wrigley Field dating to July 2004 and is 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 10 starts against the Cubs. He beat them 16-2 at Wrigley on April 29, allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings.
Milwaukee leads the season series with Chicago 4-2.