Cubs 4, Brewers 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

MILWAUKEE (AP)—Sammy Sosa helped the Chicago Cubs keep pressure on the division-leading Houston Astros.

Sosa hit his 33rd home run and Juan Cruz outdueled Ben Sheets as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Friday night.

Chicago remained a half-game behind Houston, which won 5-4 at San Diego. The Cubs are 1 1/2 games ahead of third-place St. Louis, which lost to Cincinnati 4-2 in 12 innings.

“The whole team is motivated, excited,” Sosa said after Chicago won its fifth straight at Miller Park. “We know the only chance that we got to try to win the division is winning every day, pretty much.”

His 532nd career home run, a two-run shot off Sheets in the first, gave Cruz an early lead.

“We don’t have that much time left,” Sosa said. “So, we got to out there and be ready everyday.”

Cruz (2-5) made his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 31. He allowed two runs and six hits. The Cubs’ defense turned two double plays to support him.

Cruz had two outs in the seventh when Keith Ginter’s RBI double chased him and trimmed the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.

Antonio Alfonseca, appealing a seven-game suspension imposed earlier in the day, relieved and walked Brady Clark. Alfonseca struck out Richie Sexson to end the threat.

Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances.

Sheets (10-12) dropped his fifth straight decision. Last week, the Cubs beat him 4-2 at Wrigley Field.

“Sheets pitched a great game other than that one pitch to Sosa,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

With two outs in the third, it looked like the Brewers might get to Cruz. Ginter, who had three hits, singled. Brady Clark walked, bringing Sexson to the plate.

Cruz drilled Sexson in the upper left side with a pitch in the third. “The pitch got away from him,” Damian Miller said of Cruz’s pitch that knocked Sexson down. “He had a couple of those tonight where it just got away from him.”

Cruz said it was just a matter of pitching close.

“You can’t control that,” he said. “It just happened. We’ve got to pitch in.”

Sheets nicked Alex Gonzalez with the first pitch in the Cubs’ fourth. Gonzalez went right to first base, but he then slid several feet wide of second trying to break up a double play.

Shortstop Bill Hall and Gonzalez exchanged looks and words after the play, prompting the Cubs to charge out of their dugout. The Cubs stopped before crossing the foul line, and second base umpire Kevin Kelley stepped between Hall and Gonzalez.

The Cubs took a 4-2 lead in the eighth. Mark Grudzielanek drew a walk from Luis Vizcaino, stole second and went to third on catcher Keith Osik’s throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.

Fans saw a baseball oddity when Hall came to the plate in the wrong spot in the second.

He took one pitch before Keith Osik stepped in. Since Hall did not complete that wrong turn at-bat, there was nothing illegal. Osik struck out and Halleventually popped up.

Notes

Alfonseca was suspended for seven games and Cubs’ bullpen coach Juan Lopez for one and LF Moises Alou was fined Friday for their run-in with umpire Justin Klemm earlier this week. Alfonseca will play until the appeal process is complete. He was penalized for making contact with Klemm while Alou and Lopez were disciplined for arguing. … Alou was scratched from the Cubs’ lineup with a bruised left knee. Tom Goodwin took his place. Alou was hit on the knee by a foul ball Thursday. His status is day to day. … Brewers LHP Matt Ford had surgery on his left elbow Thursday. He is expected to be ready for spring training. … The Brewers added OF Pete Zoccolillo to their roster. He battedfor Sheets in the seventh and flied out.

Related Articles