Murton, Soriano hit back-to-back homers to lead Cubs past Brewers 5-4

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CHICAGO (AP)—Matt Murton’s just glad to play any role for the Chicago Cubs as they go after a playoff berth, especially since he spent time in the minors this season.

And Alfonso Soriano is relieved to be back from the disabled list, even if he’s not completely healthy.

They teamed up Thursday night, hitting back-to-back homers off Chris Capuano with two outs in the sixth inning as Chicago beat the Milwaukee Brewers to go up 2 1/2 games in the NL Central.

Ryan Dempster finally escaped a bases loaded-jam in the ninth after giving up a run and the Cubs held on for a 5-4 victory before a delirious crowd of 40,790 at Wrigley Field.

“It’s huge. I mean it’s a big at-bat for the ball club, something that I know I’m capable of doing and something I have to learn how to do more consistently,” said Murton, who entered the game in a double switch in the sixth inning.

“I can’t quite explain it. It’s great to be here in a playoff atmosphere, really fun.”

Chicago took two of three in their final series of the season with the second-place Brewers. St. Louis, which lost to Houston on Thursday, is three games behind.

Murton hit his fifth homer to break a 3-3 tie. One pitch later, Soriano connected on his team-leading 19th and first since coming off the disabled list Tuesday after a quadriceps injury sidelined him for three weeks. The Cubs’ star had struck out in his first three at-bats and was 1-for-12 when he connected.

“I was feeling a little pressure because I’m coming back quick,” Soriano said. “Maybe I’m a little anxious and I have to calm down a little more because I had three weeks where I didn’t play.”

Capuano (5-12) suffered his franchise-record 12th straight loss while making his second relief appearance of the season. He made 23 starts in the rotation and began the season 5-0, but is 0-12 in his last 16 appearances.

“I’m just trying to work through a tough time. This was a tough loss,” Capuano said. “Everyone is taking this loss hard.”

The Brewers had an 8 1/2 game lead in June but are just 17-28 since the All-Star break.

“It was a big game for us,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “We battled back and could not get a big hit there at the end. We’ve had a lot of tough losses lately.”

Brewers’ rookie lefty Manny Parra, in his second major league start, was pulled after pitching just three innings and giving up three hits and three runs because of a bruised left thumb—an injury he got while trying to bunt in the top of the fourth inning. His fingernail got lifted up and there was swelling and some blood. He was to be examined by a team doctor Friday.

Carlos Marmol (4-1), who entered the game in the sixth after Chicago starter Ted Lilly worked five innings, got the victory with two innings of relief, striking out five.

In the ninth pinch-hitter Joe Dillon doubled and Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch. J.J. Hardy sacrificed and Prince Fielder was walked intentionally one out later to load the bases. Dempster then walked Corey Hart to force in a run before getting Kevin Mench to ground into a fielder’s choice to short for his 23rd save in 25 chances.

“It was the loudest I’ve heard the crowd here in the four years I’ve been here,” Dempster said. “It was deafening. Pretty cool. It was intense.”

The Brewers had second and third in the seventh after Murton made an error on Weeks’ single, allowing him to reach second. Marmol hit Ryan Braun with a pitch but struck out Fielder and Hart to end the threat.

Weeks led off the game with his seventh homer. Hardy singled, Fielder walked and Mench hit an RBI double. Another walk to Bill Hall loaded the bases, but Lilly escaped his 38-pitch opening inning by striking out Damian Miller.

Chicago rallied for three in second as Aramis Ramirez walked and Craig Monroe got a double when right fielder Hart lost his liner in the lights. Mark DeRosa delivered a two-run single and after Jason Kendall walked, and Jacque Jones added an RBI single.

Parra got out of the inning with strikeouts of Lilly and Soriano before Hart made a fully extended catch of Ryan Theriot’s drive to right-center.

The Brewers tied it in the third on a single by Braun, walk to Hart, a double steal and Mench’s sacrifice fly to deep center.

Lilly threw 107 pitches, giving up five hits and three runs in his five innings.


1B Derrek Lee gave the Cubs a major scare when he fell over a low brick wall and hit a protective glass panel while chasing Fielder’s foul pop near the Brewers dugout in the seventh. Lee was a bit bruised under his arm, but stayed in the game. … Capuano had shared the previous franchise record of 11 straight losses with Marty Pattin, Chris Bosio and Glendon Rusch.

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