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A stop and some 'pop' do the trick
Cubs manager Dusty Baker calls him his streak-buster.
Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux pitched six strong innings and the Cubs' bats came through with enough clutch hits to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 Monday night at Miller Park, snapping a four-game losing streak before a crowd of 40,126.
Maddux, 39, earned his 311th career win, tying Tom Seaver for 17th on the all-time list. Roger Clemens, at 333, is the only active pitcher with more wins than Maddux.
"In his last outing he had some poor location, got some balls up," Baker said of Maddux's June 15 loss to the Marlins. "And Greg is a guy who depends on location. That is his whole thing. Throughout his whole career, he stops losing streaks."
Maddux (6-4) improved his career record against Milwaukee to 11-2 with a 1.96 earned-run average. Ryan Dempster entered the game with one out in the eighth and earned his ninth save.
"We needed a win and we got it," Maddux said. "And the defense showed up. I thought that was the difference."
The defense came up biggest in the eighth inning.
Mike Remlinger gave up a leadoff double to the Brewers' Bill Hall and an RBI single to Geoff Jenkins to make it 5-4 before Dempster was summoned. Damian Miller hit a ground ball up the middle that shortstop Neifi Perez deftly snared with a diving stop. He righted himself and flipped to second baseman Todd Walker, who threw to first for the inning-ending double play.
"I was just trying to do my job," said Perez, who also contributed two hits. "I got it clean out of my glove and was only trying to make one out [at second]. Then I realized we had a chance to make a double play. Good for us."
But not so good for the Brewers.
"If I was at home and watching it on `SportsCenter' and it was against the Cardinals, I would have loved [the play]," Hall said. "It was a crushing play. It probably won the game for them."
The Cubs, who entered Monday's game with a league-leading .278 batting average, rapped out 11 hits after being swept by the Yankees in New York.
"Things go in cycles," Baker said. "Sometimes you can't buy a run in certain situations. And other times you can get them anytime you get ready. Hopefully, that cycle is over with so we can start a new cycle.
"We just got done facing one of the best teams I have faced lineup-wise. So the main thing for us is that we have to forget the weekend and start over."
The Cubs jumped on Brewers starter Tomo Ohka (5-4) in the first inning as Derrek Lee belted a solo homer, his 19th of the season, and Aramis Ramirez blasted a two-run homer, his 15th of the year, for a 3-0 lead.
After a Jeromy Burnitz RBI double gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead in the third, the Brewers touched Maddux for a pair of runs in the fourth when Lyle Overbay lifted a 426-foot shot over the center-field wall. Milwaukee pulled to within 4-3 in the sixth when Hall hit a two-out double and scored on a double by Rickie Weeks.
The Cubs added an insurance run in the seventh when Corey Patterson lined a two-out single and scored when Derrek Lee singled and center fielder Brady Clark booted the ball to make the score 5-3.
The Brewers threatened in the bottom of the seventh after Michael Wuertz took over for Maddux. Wuertz yielded a pair of one-out walks and Baker brought in left-hander Mike Remlinger to face Overbay, who struck out. Remlinger then struck out National League RBI leader Carlos Lee, who went 0-for-4 on his birthday.
"To come in and prove yourself when the game is on the line, that is what I have been waiting for," Remlinger said.
Maddux allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out two.
"I got away with some pitches," he said.
The Cubs have recorded 10 or more hits in 16 of their last 23 games, dating to May 27. They have gone 13-3 when doing so.