Clement gets 'W' at last

Matt Clement could use a hug.

He got one from manager Dusty Baker in the dugout during the seventh inning Monday night. Clement also received some rare offensive support from his teammates as the Cubs subdued the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 at Miller Park.

Clement (8-9), who snapped a personal five-game losing streak spanning eight starts, yielded one run on four hits over six innings. He walked four and struck out two while outdueling Victor Santos (9-5).

"We were just hoping and praying we could get some runs so Matt could get a win," Baker said. "Not a no-decision, but a win."

The Cubs got three hits in the seventh inning, including a two-run single from Mark Grudzielanek, to post their first victory of the season at Miller Park.

"It has been a long time," Clement said. "But it was a big win for us. Whether I won the game or someone in the bullpen won the game, we needed this. It was nice. It's been a long time since I have had a 'W,' and the guys battled hard."

Clement, whose losing streak had equaled a career high, has yielded only 16 earned runs over his last six decisions while receiving 12 runs in support.

The Brewers, who have lost nine of their last 12 games, took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Brady Clark led off with a single before stealing second on a close play. Wes Helms was hit by a pitch before Bill Hall flied out to shallow right field. Second baseman Grudzielanek made a running catch with his back to the infield instead of allowing right fielder Sammy Sosa make the grab.

Clark was able to tag up and go to third. Gary Bennett then hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Clark.

The Cubs squandered an excellent scoring opportunity in the fifth inning with poor baserunning.

Aramis Ramirez hit a one-out double, but he got a late jump and advanced only to third on a single up the middle by Michael Barrett. Alex Gonzalez hit a sharp grounder to Helms at third base. Ramirez took off for the plate and was thrown out as Bennett applied the tag in a rundown.

"We still could have executed better," Baker said.

Derrek Lee tied the game 1-1 with a leadoff homer in the seventh inning. His 19th homer of the year represented the first earned run allowed by Santos in his last three starts, over 18 innings.

Ramirez followed Lee with a double to left-center. Ramon Martinez ran for Ramirez and advanced to third on a flyout before Tom Goodwin, batting for Clement, drew a two-out walk. Goodwin stole second before Grudzielanek bounced a full-count single up the middle to make the score 3-1.

"We've been through a lot since last year," Grudzielanek said. "It comes down to believing in each other, supporting each other."

Reliever Glendon Rusch pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three.

"I'm happy to do whatever," Rusch said. "It was fun to get in that ballgame. It was a tight one and a good one to win."

Beleaguered closer LaTroy Hawkins retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 14th save.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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