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Weeks' strong night carries Brewers

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- On a roster loaded with disappointment this season, Rickie Weeks might have been the biggest.

The Milwaukee Brewers second baseman has been in a funk since the start of the season. But Weeks quietly has started to string together some success and two homers on Tuesday night proved to be a catalyst in the Brewers' 9-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.

Weeks went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and extended his hitting streak to nine games.

"It feels good," Weeks said. "It's just one of those things, just keep working on things and just go out and play ball. There's no satisfaction, there's no big answer. Just go out and play ball like I've been doing."

Since May 21, when Weeks went 0-for-1 against the Dodgers, he's batting .373 with five home runs and nine RBI to raise his average to .230 - his highest since April 9, when he was batting .242.

"He had a great night swinging the bat," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "This is what we usually see from him. I can't tell you what the difference is. I don't know what the real mechanical change has been, but usually it's more mental than it is mechanical. For whatever reason, he's seeing the ball well and he's not missing the ball that earlier in the year he's been fouling off."

Along with Weeks, Juan Francisco had a big game as well, going 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, a walk and three runs scored as the Brewers won for the fourth time in their last six games and pushed Chicago into sole possession of last place in the National League Central.

The beneficiary of Milwaukee's offensive outburst was right-hander Kyle Lohse, who was able to settle in and log his fifth consecutive quality start. He went seven innings and allowed three runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and a home run.

In his last five starts, Lohse (3-6) is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 33 innings.

"I had a rough May dealing with elbow and hamstring stuff, but I feel like it's coming around," Lohse said. "I started off pretty solid but hit a little bump. We're back doing the things I consistently do, giving the team a chance every time I go out."

His only blemish came in the third inning when Nate Schierholtz drove a 2-1 fastball to right field, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

"Schierholtz hit a good pitch," Roenicke said. "It was a fastball -- I don't even know if it was a strike -- but it was in where he wanted it and Schierholtz did a great job of hitting."

Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (3-10) got off to a good start but became unraveled in the fifth.

Francisco led off with a walk and Weeks drove him in with a double to center that made it a 3-2 game. Caleb Gindl tied the score at 3 with a single to right center. After a two-out walk to Norichika Aoki, Juan Segura put Milwaukee ahead 4-3 with a base hit to center and Jonathan Lucroy drove in two more with his single to left, bringing Jackson's outing to a close.

"He just couldn't control the (fifth) inning," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It just seems like innings get out of control and they turn into big crooked numbers. And we just need one more out or something like that."

Francisco gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead with a home run in the second and Chicago went ahead on Schierholtz's three-run, third-inning blast, his career-high 11th home run of the season.

The home run turned out to be offense of the night for the Cubs, who have lost nine straight games in Milwaukee and are 2-19 in their last 21 games at Miller Park.

"They're a good team at home," said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who doubled in four trips Tuesday. "We are just going to come in tomorrow and do our job."

NOTES: The Brewers placed RHP Alfredo Figaro on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique and will select the contract of Johnny Hellweg from Triple-A Nashville tomorrow. Hellweg will start Friday at Pittsburgh. ... The Cubs designated RHP Carlos Marmol for assignment on Tuesday and called up OF Brian Bogusevic from Triple-A Iowa. Marmol was 2-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 31 appearances this season. ... Chicago also gave INF Ian Stewart, who had also been with Iowa all season, his unconditional release. ... Milwaukee got bad news regarding several injured players. Ryan Braun, on the disabled list since June 10 with a sore right hand, will undergo weekly testing before a timetable for his return can be established; RHP Marco Estrada will miss his next rehabilitation assignment and be limited to bullpen sessions until his injured left knee progresses. OF Corey Hart will seek a second opinion for an ailing left knee. Hart underwent surgery on his right knee in January and recently experienced discomfort in the opposite leg. ... Brewers CF Carlos Gomez did not play Tuesday after spraining his left shoulder Sunday against Atlanta but will take batting practice Wednesday and could return this weekend, according to Roenicke.
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