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Gonzalez powers Brewers past Cubs 7-4

AP - Sports
Gonzalez powers Brewers past Cubs 7-4
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Milwaukee Brewers' Mat Gamel (24), Corey Hart, rear, and Aramis Ramirez, right, celebrate as Alex Gonzalez …

CHICAGO (AP) Chris Narveson knew he would be battling the elements on a blustery night at Wrigley Field, and coming up to bat before he even took the mound really helped put him at ease.

Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in Milwaukee's five-run first inning, sending the Brewers to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.

The Brewers had no problem adjusting to the weather on the chilly 40-degree evening. They sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning against Paul Maholm (0-1).

''It's always a big plus because usually it means you have some runs on the board,'' Narveson said, estimating it was the second time in his career he batted in the first inning. ''You look forward to that.''

Narveson (1-0) pitched five innings to improve to 7-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 14 career games against Chicago. The left-hander allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits.

He ran into some trouble as Chicago scored three times in the third to cut the lead to 6-3. Alfonso Soriano had a two-run single and Jeff Baker added a sacrifice fly.

''It just kind of compounded itself,'' Narveson said. ''At that point you're just trying to play damage control and try to limit it to as little as you can, because you do have the lead.''

The Cubs had a chance for more but a strategic infield shift ended the threat when second baseman Rickie Weeks made a diving stop to rob Geovany Soto of a hit right behind the second base bag.

''It was a huge play,'' Narveson said. ''The shift has always been a big help for us. I remember the first time facing Soto last year when he hit a ball up the middle, Rickie was standing right there, so I kind of remembered that.''

Marco Estrada and Kameron Loe combined for three scoreless innings after Narveson left. Jose Veras came in to pitch the ninth, but Geovany Soto hit a leadoff homer and Bryan LaHair walked with one out, leading Brewers manager Ron Roenicke to go to his bullpen again.

Francisco Rodriguez then struck out David DeJesus and got Darwin Barney to ground out for his first save of the season.

Maholm's outing ended after four innings. He allowed six runs and six hits.

Chicago's starters allowed seven earned runs in the first four games.

''I don't know if it was my first game and I just tried to different things, but I didn't establish my sinker,'' Maholm said. ''I didn't do what I normally do.''

Weeks led off the game with a walk and moved to third on Carlos Gomez's double. Ryan Braun then hit a sacrifice fly, putting Milwaukee in front and moving the speedy Gomez to third.

Aramis Ramirez followed with a bouncer to first baseman Jeff Baker, who was playing near the infield grass and decided to throw home. Gomez was running on contact and scored to make it 2-0.

After Maholm hit Corey Hart, Gonzalez hit a drive to left for his first homer of the season.

''(The first inning) was pretty good. If that wind's not blowing in, it could have been really good. Braun absolutely killed that ball,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ''But that's Wrigley Field.''

Jonathan Lucroy hit a solo drive off Maholm in the third for his first homer and had an RBI single in the seventh.

''I thought the wind was blowing in,'' Maholm joked. ''Honestly the pitches they hit out were brutal.

Maholm is 1-9 in his last 17 starts against the Brewers. The Pirates declined an option on Maholm, who went 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 2011, but 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA over his final seven outings. He agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million contract with Chicago in January.

NOTES: Ramirez stole second in the first inning. He had one stolen base for the Cubs in 2011. ... Brewers RF Corey Hart is expected to rest on Wednesday. He had right knee surgery in March.

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