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Brewers rock Prior early; Cubs' rally falls short

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Doug Davis is disappointed he didn't adjust his
delivery any earlier.

Davis won his third straight decision Thursday, leading the
Milwaukee Brewers over Chicago 8-6 and handing the Cubs consecutive
losses for the first time in nearly three weeks.

"This game is a game of adjustments," he said. "Wish I could
have made the adjustment about 20 starts ago."

Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux suggested a mechanical change
that caused Davis to alter how he rotates his upper body and close
off his shoulder.

"I was hitting my spots and had better control," he said after
striking out eight in seven innings, allowing four runs, eight hits
and three walks.

It also helped that Davis (8-6) was given a seven-run lead. and
he improved to 3-0 in his last four starts despite a 6.09 ERA. He
got out of trouble in the third when he struck out Phil Nevin and
Jacque Jones with the bases loaded.

"It all revolves around your starting pitching," Brewers
manager Ned Yost said after his team took two of three from the
Cubs.

Francisco Cordero completed the six-hitter, working the ninth
for his fifth save in as many chances since Milwaukee acquired him
from Texas on July 28.

Chicago pinch-hitter Cesar Izturis walked in the ninth and
Aramis Ramirez reached on center fielder Brady Clark's second error
of the game. Cordero retired Nevin, then got Jones to hit into a
game-ending double play.

"He's got a real mound presence," Yost said. "You could see
the warrior come out with runners at first and second."

Mark Prior (1-6) gave up six runs -- five earned -- and four hits
in three innings, and all four batters he walked scored.

"From the outset, he didn't have his control. His velocity was
pretty good. It's just a matter of control," Cubs manager Dusty
Baker said.

Prior is 1-2 with a 6.75 earned-run average since July 21, when he came off the
disabled list after recovering from a strained left oblique muscle.
He has walked 28 and hit eight in 43 2/3 innings this season and
has not pitched past the sixth.

"It's obviously been a long year," Prior said. "Things
haven't been as great as I would have wanted them to be."

Ramirez drove in three runs for the Cubs with a sacrifice fly in
the first and his 27th homer. a two-run drive in the fifth. He has
11 homers in 26 games since the All-Star break.

Chicago had not lost consecutive games since being swept by
Washington in a three-game series July 21-23.

Milwaukee loaded the bases in the first on two walks around Jeff Cirillo's bloop single. Prior knocked down Kevin Mench with an
inside pitch, and Mench followed with a two-run single off the wall
in left.

Rookie Angel Pagan, making his 12th start in left, made a
throwing error that allowed the runners to advance, Gabe Gross hit
a sacrifice fly, Tony Graffanino was hit by a pitch and David Bell
added another sacrifice fly.

Bell and Rivera hit RBI singles in the third following two more
walks by Prior, and Graffanino had a two-run single in the fourth
off Juan Mateo that made it 8-1. Mateo had been scheduled to start
Saturday at Colorado.

Nevin had an RBI single in the seventh, and Henry Blanco hit a
two-run homer in the eighth against Jose Capellan.

"We came back," Baker said. "We just didn't come all the way
back."

Chicago's Will Ohman hit Prince Fielder in the back with a pitch
in the sixth, and Fielder glared at Ohman before going to first.
Davis knocked down Nevin in the seventh.

During Wednesday's 6-3 victory over the Cubs, Milwaukee's Dave Bush hit Michael Barrett and Ramirez. Yost said he didn't think
there was any retaliation going on.

"Nah, you could see Prior was struggling and we took advantage
of it," Yost said.

Game notes
Clark's error in the seventh snapped the Brewers' string of
11 consecutive errorless games, which tied the franchise record set
in 1979. ... Chicago's Ryan Theriot went 3-for-3. ... Davis is 6-5
in 12 games against the Cubs.