Brewers left-hander Doug Davis hardly has been mentioned with the game's elite pitchers.
Tuesday night, however, Davis pitched as if he belongs with those stars. Just ask the Cubs.
Davis (11-10) pitched the Brewers into third place ahead of the Cubs on Tuesday night with a 5-3 victory. He gave up two runs while striking out 10 batters in seven innings.
He had a remarkable escape in the seventh after he loaded the bases with nobody out. He coaxed three harmless outs, including his fourth strikeout of the night of Derrek Lee, the National League's leading hitter.
"My backdoor cutter was my best pitch all night," Davis said. "But I got Lee out in the seventh on a fastball up and away. I got him on that pitch all four times. I used his aggressiveness.
"I didn't plan on four strikeouts. I just executed my pitches. Put them where I wanted to."
Lee gave Davis his due.
"He hit his spots, changed speeds and did not miss much," he said. "I chased some pitches outside the zone."
Davis pitched his 46th "quality start"six or more innings with three or fewer runssince 2004. Going into Tuesday's action, only Roger Clemens (48) had more. Johan Santana had 46. Tied with Davis at 45 were Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt and Jeff Weaver.
Loser Jerome Williams (5-9) went into the game a hot pitcher. He had a 2.35 ERA in his last five starts and had yielded more than one earned run in only one of those games. However, the Brewers cooled him off with a three-run first inning.
Ex-White Sox Carlos Lee made it 1-0 with the first of his two sacrifice flies, giving him 107RBIs for the season. Then, with J.J. Hardy on base, Geoff Jenkins smashed his 23rd homer, a drive measured at 427 feet.
Davis and his manager Ned Yost felt the early 3-0 lead was key in the game.
"Doug has been on a balance board," Yost said. "No room for error. I felt the utmost confidence in him in the seventh because he had the utmost confidence in himself."
The Cubs put two men on base in the second when rookie Matt Murton singled and Corey Patterson reached on an error.
However, the inning ended on a double playMichael Barrett struck out and catcher Damian Miller picked Murton off second.
Lee increased the Brewers' lead to 4-0 in the fifth when he hit his second sacrifice fly. That scored Brady Clark, who had singled and advanced on a groundout and Lyle Overbay's single that the Cubs thought Jeromy Burnitz caught in right.
Nomar Garciaparra shaved Milwaukee's lead to 4-2 when he homered after Todd Walker doubled in the sixth.
Then in the seventh, after the Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out, Davis got Neifi Perez to ground into a force out at the plate, forced Walker to pop out and struck out Lee.
Murton homered in the eighth after Davis left the game.
Barrett received medical clearance to return to the lineup after missing four games since he was beaned in a game against the Cardinals on Sept. 14.
"It's probably better he's facing a lefty tonight rather than a hard-throwing right-hander," manager Dusty Baker. "But at his position, there's a lot of ways to get hurta collision at the plate, foul tips, getting hit with a backswing."
Barrett didn't get hurt by a collision, a foul tip or a bat. Davis did the damage to the Cubs with his left arm.
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