MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Light-hitting Craig Counsell provided the only
offense on a topsy-turvy Monday in which the Milwaukee Brewers were
thrilled to quiet a big, boisterous home crowd behind their
All-Star pitching tandem of Ben Sheets and Dan Kolb.
Counsell's rare homer helped Sheets outduel Matt Clement in a
1-0 victory over Chicago before a pro-Cubs crowd of 45,016, the
second-largest in Miller Park history.
"It was a great atmosphere. Any time you fill the stadium it's
going to be fun," Counsell said.
He said it was hard at times to tell where he was. In the
eighth, the crowd got loud when Sammy Sosa came up and singled. The
roar was even louder when Luis Vizcaino struck out the next batter,
Derrek Lee, to strand two runners.
"When Sosa came up, it felt like it was all Cubs fans in the
stadium and then when Vizzie struck out Derrek Lee, it felt like it
was all Brewers fans," Counsell said. "The Brewers fans let it be
known that they were there, that's for sure."
So did the Cubs fans, who turned Milwaukee into Wrigley Field
Sheets struck out 12 in seven innings and the Brewers, who
struck out 17 Cubs in all, stopped a season-high four-game losing
streak and also ended Chicago's four-game winning streak.
Not only had their fans snapped up tickets, but the Cubs have
owned Miller Park of late. They went 7-0 last year at Milwaukee,
where they hadn't lost since Aug. 28, 2002, a span of eight games.
Those extra "home" games helped them win their division.
Clement (7-7) walked a season-high six but didn't allow any of
them to score. He struck out 10 in seven innings and allowed just
three hits -- only one after the first. But he failed to win for the
first time since June 8.
Sheets (8-5), who earned his second All-Star selection Sunday,
gave up four hits and walked one to go with his dozen strikeouts,
his most whiffs since fanning a career-best 18 on May 16 against
"It was great pitching on both sides," Cubs manager Dusty
Baker said. "I hate to see Matty lose because he is certainly
pitching a whole lot better than his record indicates. His walks
are up, but he's getting out of trouble a lot.
"Sheets was tough today," Baker added. "He's tough all the
time. He's not an All-Star for nothing."
And neither is Kolb, who will join Sheets at the All-Star game
at Houston on July 13. He got his 25th save in 26 chances with a
Counsell homered for just the second time this season, the first
since April 6 at St. Louis when he sent an 0-2 slider over the wall
in right-center in the first.
"There was only one mistake and that was the whole game," Sosa
Clement was angry for leaving a slider up and over the plate.
"You can't give up an 0-2 home run in a situation where you're
trying to go for a strikeout," he said. "I was trying to go down
and in and left it over the plate. Unfortunately, he hit it well
enough to get it out of the park."
Baker said Clement shouldn't beat himself up over one pitch.
"Very rarely do you see a solo home run last the rest of the
game," Baker said.
"Better me than Mo," he said.
This was the first game of the year between the NL Central
rivals, who face each other 16 more times in the next 50 days. ...
Brewers 2B Junior Spivey had an MRI exam on his injured left
shoulder, and the team will get the results Tuesday. ... Brewers LF
Geoff Jenkins stole second base in the first, his first swipe since
2002. ... Even with Jenkins mired in a season-long batting slump,
Baker said he had earned his respect, a feeling that's mutual.
"One time I told him, `You have a heck of a swing,' and he said,
`You taught it to me," Baker recalled. "He had seen me at a camp
in Sacramento when he was young." ... Cubs batters set their
season high for strikeouts. ... The only bigger crowd in Miller
Park history was the 46,218 who watched these teams play last Sept.