Fielder homers but Crew falls to Cubs
First baseman hits 20th long ball of the season
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Brian Shouse executed his pitch. Ditto for Matt Wise.
The results? Not what they were looking for.
Prince Fielder hit his National League-leading 20th home run, but the Cubs rallied late with some clutch hitting for a 7-2 win over the Brewers in front of a visitor-friendly crowd of 35,760 at Miller Park on Monday night.
Milwaukee took a 2-1 lead on Fielder's solo home run in the third inning and Corey Hart's RBI infield hit in the fourth. But the Cubs rallied for five runs in the seventh inning, three of which were charged to Brewers starter Dave Bush (3-6). Shouse and Wise were tagged with a run apiece.
"You pick your poison with those guys," said Wise, who surrendered a three-run home run to Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who finished with five hits.
The Cubs won their second straight game after a six-game losing streak. Carlos Marmol (1-0) picked up the win in relief and Bush suffered his third straight loss and fifth in his last six decisions.
Milwaukee loaded the bases in each of the first two innings against Chicago starter Jason Marquis but came away empty. The Brewers stranded runners in scoring position in four of the six innings in which they faced Marquis, including runners at third base in the first, second and sixth innings. Johnny Estrada grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first inning and Bush did the same after the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs in the second. That inning ended when Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez made a slick diving stop and threw out Corey Hart.
"It's not like we didn't have opportunities," said outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who said he was fine after being struck on the right ankle by a Marquis pitch in the fifth inning. "We just didn't get the one big hit to put us over the edge."
The Cubs got a number of those big hits in the decisive seventh inning, but it started with a long walk.
Michael Barrett led off and fell behind Bush, 1-and-2, then hit a foul tip that just eluded the catcher, Estrada. He had a tough night, going 0-for-4 at the plate and absorbing a pair of foul balls, including one that caught him square in the front of his mask and left Estrada dazed for a few moments.
"That would have made a difference in the whole inning," Brewers manager Ned Yost said of the near-miss.
That's because Barrett fouled off five pitches on the way to a 10-pitch walk. Barrett stole second and moved to third on Mark DeRosa's single, and Yost elected to leave Bush in the game to face switch-hitter Cesar Izturis, who entered the game hitting .265 against right-handers and .214 against lefties. Izturis hit a first-pitch curveball sharply to center field for a single that tied the game and chased Bush.
"[Bush] still felt good," Yost said.
Yost called on the left-handed Shouse to face pinch-hitter Cliff Floyd, who put the Cubs in front with an opposite-field single. Soriano greeted right-handed reliever Wise with a three-run home run.
Both Shouse and Wise watched replays and determined they made their pitches. Floyd fisted an inside offering through third base and shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was deep and shaded toward second base.
"I got a ground ball; just what I wanted," Shouse said. "We were playing back to get a double play to get out of it and give up one [more run]. I got the ground ball, but didn't get anything else. It was a good pitch. He fought it off and hit it where somebody wasn't."
Wise, a changeup specialist, threw a good one to Soriano, who happens to be a low-ball hitter.
"I just looked at the replay and it probably would have been a ball if he took it," Wise said. "I know he's a low-ball hitter, but I'm a low-ball pitcher, and I'm not going to hang one up there on purpose. You tip your hat, really.
"I'll take my chance with that pitch, even if guys know it's coming, 90 percent of the time. That's how I pitch."
Yost had another take.
"Soriano is a low, off-speed hitter," the manager said. "You're kind of feeding him there."
And yet another view from Jenkins.
"If you look at the pitch Soriano hit out, that was unbelievable," Jenkins said. "It was not even close. He's one of those guys in that crouch stance, and he handles that ball well."
The Cubs tacked on a run in the ninth against Chris Spurling. Entering last Wednesday's game against the Braves, the Brewers ranked fourth in the National League with a 3.40 bullpen ERA. After Monday, the relievers' combined ERA was up to 3.85.
Earlier in the game, Bush limited the damage. The Cubs took a first-inning lead on Ramirez's RBI double, which left runners at second and third and one out. Bush fielded a Jacque Jones comebacker and threw home for the second out of the inning, then struck out Barrett to end it.
Bush then retired 15 of the next 17 hitters he faced. The exceptions were Soriano singles.
"I felt good throwing the ball today," Bush said. "I worked out of a tough spot in the first inning, and ... even into the seventh inning I felt good."
Fielder tied the game in the third inning with his first home run this month, padding his own NL lead with 20 homers and tying the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez atop the Major League leader board. Fielder set a franchise record for any month by belting 13 homers in May and was named NL Player of the Month on Monday.
In the fourth, the Brewers scored the go-ahead run unearned when Hart beat out an infield hit to shortstop. It scored Bill Hall, who had singled, reached second on an error by second baseman DeRosa and third on the first of two sacrifice bunts by Bush.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.