MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Glendon Rusch did his part to help Chicago's
injury-riddled pitching staff.
Rusch filled in for Mark Prior with five solid innings and the
Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-4 Sunday for their third
straight win.Prior was scratched before the game with a strained muscle in
his left side, suffered while he was taking batting practice
Saturday. The team said it was too early to decide whether the
injury would put the right-hander on the disabled list for the
seventh time in his five-year career."That hurts, big time, because he was just starting to come
around," Chicago manager Dusty Baker said.It was tough news for the Cubs, who learned Saturday that Kerry
Wood could miss the rest of the season with a partial tear in his
right rotator cuff.Rusch (3-7) allowed two runs and four hits in his first start
since June 16. He struck out five and walked two."He gave us all he had, he hadn't gone that far in a long
time," Baker said.Aramis Ramirez hit his 16th homer and went 3-for-4, Jacque Jones
finished with three hits and scored two runs, and Matt Murton had
two RBI for Chicago.The Cubs head into the All-Star break in fifth place in the NL
Central with a 34-54 record but they're hoping their winning streak
will lead to bigger things in the second half."I look at this series here definitely being good for us,"
said Rusch, who found out he was starting when he arrived at Miller
Park on Sunday morning. "Other than (Chris) Capuano shutting us
out, I think we played pretty well here. Hopefully, this will carry
over after these four off days."Jones was one of the few productive Cubs in the first half,
batting .306 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI. He said Baker shouldn't
be blamed for the team's poor start."The manager, man, he got us prepared to play," he said. "He
can't throw, and he can't hit, and he can't field, and he can't do
any of that for us."We played as bad as we could play in the first half. It had
nothing to do with him. All we can do is try to go out and right
the ship."With the break following Sunday's game, Baker was able to use
six relievers over the final four innings."We'll take a little rest and continue where we left off,"
Baker said. "It's always good to go into (the break) with a
winning streak."Four of the six walks issued by Brewers starter Doug Davis (5-6)
scored. The left-hander pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs
and seven hits with four strikeouts."There's an old saying (that) walks will kill you," Davis
said. "They killed us today. When I made pitches, they hit it.
They had my number today."The Cubs scored three runs in the sixth to take a 7-2 lead.
Pinch-hitter Phil Nevin walked with the bases loaded and Pierre
followed with a two-run double down the left-field line.Murton added an RBI single in the seventh and Angel Pagan's
homer gave the Cubs a 9-2 lead in the eighth.Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer and Carlos Lee had a two-run drive
for the Brewers. Lee's 26th homer in the eighth cut the Chicago
lead to 9-4.The Cubs trailed 2-1 when Ramirez led off the fourth with a
homer. Michael Barrett then walked, Jones doubled and Murton's
sacrifice fly gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead.Ronny Cedeno followed with a perfect suicide squeeze bunt,
scoring Jones to make it 4-2.
Prior was winless in four starts since returning from the
DL with a strained muscle in his right shoulder. He only has made
101 starts in five seasons. ... Brewers LHP Chris Capuano was named
to the NL All-Star team before Sunday's game, replacing Tom Glavine
of the New York Mets. ... Brewers LHP Jorge de la Rosa made his
third rehab start Saturday night, pitching five innings for
Double-A Huntsville, allowing one unearned run and three hits
without a walk. He struck out one and received the victory in the
win over Birmingham. ... The three-game winning streak for the Cubs
matches their season high, accomplished three other times. ... The
four-game series drew 162,294 fans, with the final three games
listed as sellouts. ... RHP Tomo Ohka made his second rehab start
Sunday, pitching six innings for Single-A Brevard County against
Palm Beach. He gave up one unearned run and six hits.