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Eight scoreless innings for Cubs hurler

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- With Wrigley Field falling apart lately, the
Chicago Cubs seem to love their spiffy home away from home.

Carlos Zambrano gave up four hits over eight shutout innings and
Sammy Sosa homered in the Cubs' 4-0 victory over the punchless
Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

The Cubs won three of four games in the series that drew a
Miller Park-record 167,109 fans, the majority of them rooting for
Chicago before heading back in a convoy down I-43.

When Kyle Farnsworth struck out pinch-hitter Wes Helms looking
to end it, about 80 percent of the fans were standing and cheering.

"That's big for us," Zambrano said. "You can feel the
support. You can feel that the fans are there for you. That makes
you a little bit worry more about the game, more excited about the
game."

Sosa said he sees Cubs caps on the road everywhere he goes. But
this week, he must have felt as if he hadn't even left West Addison
Street.

"Cubs fans follow us everywhere we go. It's something that's
very nice to see, the support," Sosa said. "Knowing they are
there for us, that's a good feeling. That's how it makes you play
much better."

The Cubs returned to Chicago afterward for a three-game series
against Philadelphia that will feature Greg Maddux's attempt to
join the exclusive 300-win club Sunday.

Workers at Wrigley Field this week put up heavy mesh netting to
protect fans from falling chunks of concrete.

"I think they've taken all the necessary steps that they have
to take to make sure they've solved the problem," said baseball
commissioner Bud Selig, who will attend Sunday's game at the
freshly webbed Wrigley.

Zambrano (10-6) walked two and struck out eight in snapping a
personal three-game losing skid. He needed 31 pitches to get out of
the first inning, but after putting men on second and third, struck
out Geoff Jenkins, Russell Branyan and Lyle Overbay. He began the
second with two more strikeouts.

"We had our chance to score a run there and take the lead, give
(Ben) Hendrickson a little bit of a cushion," Milwaukee manager
Ned Yost said. "Just couldn't get it done."

After the first inning, Zambrano allowed just two hits: a single
by Hendrickson in the third and a double by Craig Counsell leading
off the sixth.

"He could have completed that game if he doesn't throw all
those pitches in the first inning," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Farnsworth allowed a hit and walked a batter in the ninth before
completing the five-hitter.

The Brewers' inability to hit in the clutch doomed them again
Thursday, when they went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
In their last 10 games, including eight losses, they're just
4-for-73 with runners at second or third.

The Brewers are sick and tired of trying to figure out their
futility.

"It's to the point where we just got to get it done," Lyle
Overbay said.

Hendrickson (0-4) held Chicago scoreless until Tom Goodwin and
Todd Walker hit back-to-back doubles to open the fifth and Sosa
followed with a two-run homer, his 22nd, to left.

Hendrickson had watched his ERA fall from 9.75 to 6.88 through
five innings, but Sosa's shot sent it back up to 8.47.

"He's getting better every time out," Yost said. "That's what
we expect out of our young guys. We know at times they're going to
struggle a little bit, but we want to try to see a little bit of
improvement from start to start. Every time he's gone out, he's
gotten a little bit better and actually he pitched pretty good
today."

Baker was sure impressed: "For a rookie, he threw the ball
pretty good. We finally got to him."

Corey Patterson, who was outstanding in center field all series,
manufactured another run when he bunted for a single, stole second
and scored on a double by Aramis Ramirez to make it 4-0.

Game notes
A 48-year-old man from Madison, Wis., fell off a stadium
escalator and was hospitalized with undetermined injuries. He was
the second fan in two months to fall off an escalator at Miller
Park. ... The previous attendance record for a four-game series at
the stadium was 154,263 against Houston from July 29-July 2, 2001.
Thanks to the Cubs, the Brewers have nine sellouts this season,
surpassing their total from 2002 (three) and 2003 (four) combined.