The Milwaukee Brewers stumbled at home over the weekend following their best stretch at Miller Park this season.
A visit by the slumping Chicago Cubs could help the Brewers return to their winning ways there.
Brewers right-hander Mark Rogers gets another crack at his first major league victory Monday night when the Cubs begin their final series in Milwaukee this season.
The Brewers (54-66), who have struggled on the road with a 19-38 mark, reeled off a season-best eight straight victories at Miller Park before losing back-to-back games to Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday."I know it's hard with a lineup where we had two pretty big guns out of there ( Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart had the day off), but I still think we should score some runs," manager Ron Roenicke said following Sunday's 8-0 defeat.
Milwaukee has scored 30 runs in its six home games versus Chicago this season, with 28 coming in its four victories. The reigning NL Central champion is 12-3 at home versus the Cubs since the start of 2011.
Rogers (0-1, 4.94 ERA) will try to prevent the Brewers from matching their longest home skid of 2012 as he gets his fifth chance this season to win his first big league game. Milwaukee has dropped all four of the right-hander's starts since he was called up July 28, but three of those came after blown saves.
Jim Henderson couldn't close out a 7-6 loss at Colorado on Wednesday after Rogers allowed five runs in six innings.
"We all want him to get (his first win). I want him to get it," Henderson told the Brewers' official website. "I want to be the one that closes it up for him, too."
Rogers has no doubt his relievers, who have a major-league worst 23 blown saves, will be able to nail it down if he can keep Milwaukee in front.
"I have a ton of faith in the guys that are coming in," said Rogers, who will make his first appearance against Chicago since tossing a scoreless inning in his major league debut, a 4-0 Milwaukee home win Sept. 10, 2010.
The Cubs (47-73) might be losing faith after Sunday's 5-4 loss at Cincinnati dropped them 26 games below .500. They haven't been this far under the break-even point since finishing 66-96 in 2006.
Chicago will try to regroup from its 15th loss in 19 games behind Justin Germano (2-2, 3.91). The right-hander went 6 1-3 strong innings Wednesday's 7-2 victory over Houston to earn his second win since being acquired from Boston on July 19.
Germano will make his third start against Milwaukee, and first since May 26, 2007, while with San Diego.
Ryan Braun , 2 for 4 with a homer off Germano, hit four home runs in the just-completed series against the Phillies to improve his NL-leading total to 33. However, the reigning MVP has no homers in his last 15 games in this divisional matchup.
Bryan LaHair leads the Cubs with three home runs off Brewers pitching this season. The All-Star's batting average has dropped to .254 after going 1 for 19 in his last 11 games.
Starlin Castro , a lifetime .297 hitter who reportedly has received a seven-year, $60 million contract extension, has hit .244 in 21 games at Miller Park.
|July 28, 2012||Matt Garza||15-Day DL||Stress reaction, right elbow|
|July 21, 2012||Matt Garza||Day-to-Day||Left game - right triceps cramp|
|June 16, 2012||Ryan Dempster||15-Day DL||Right lat tightness|
|June 13, 2012||Ian Stewart||60-Day DL||Left wrist surgery|
|June 02, 2012||Blake Parker||60-Day DL||Stress reaction in right elbow|
|May 19, 2012||Welington Castillo||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|July 29, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 17, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Right thigh strain|
|June 15, 2012||Shaun Marcum||60-Day DL||Right elbow tightness|
|June 02, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left quadricep|
|May 31, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Tight Achilles|
|May 28, 2012||Jonathan Lucroy||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand, out 4-6 weeks|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- It took seven starts but Mark Rogers finally got his first major league win.
Jonathan Lucroy hit two home runs and the Milwaukee Brewers scored eight runs in the fifth inning Monday night to rally for a 9-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs .
The Brewers sent 11 batters to the plate and recorded seven hits in the game-turning inning. Six runs scored after there were two outs. The eight runs were the most in an inning for Milwaukee since it scored nine runs in the second inning of an 11-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 5, 2010.
Rogers (1-1), who started five games this season, pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs while recording seven strikeouts. He walked three.
"It's been a long time coming," Rogers said. "Tonight wasn't my best effort of the year. But the offense was excellent. They picked me up today and the bullpen came in and really shut them down. It was a good win."
The Brewers trailed 3-1 when Rogers left the game after the top of the fifth.
"It's a crazy game. Coming out behind, I wasn't expecting to get the win," he said. "The way our offense played in the fifth inning was incredible."
Justin Germano (2-3) took the loss for the Cubs, giving up eight hits and seven earned runs in 4 2-3 innings in his fifth start for Chicago after being acquired from Boston on July 19 for cash. He walked one and struck out three.
"People might think I'm crazy, but I feel like I pitched a lot better than the line shows," Germano said. "I got ground balls that last inning. They just hit them where our guys weren't. It's part of the game. A couple inches to the left, a couple inches to the right, I could get out of that inning with just a couple runs. I definitely battled that last inning just trying to get that third out."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Carlos Gomez 's first of two at-bats in the fifth inning - he singled and homered - turned out to be key.
"The big hit of the game I think was when he had Gomez two strikes and let him off the hook with a hanging changeup," Sveum said. "Otherwise, it was pretty well set up to finish that inning, and then we were going to be able to go from there. But it just didn't happen. He kind of lost it and couldn't get through it."
The Brewers' outburst started when Gomez singled and moved to second on Jean Segura 's groundout. Gomez scored on a single by Travis Ishikawa , who pinch-hit for Rogers. Ishikawa advanced to third as the throw got away from catcher Wellington Castillo and scored on Norichika Aoki 's sacrifice fly.
Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun followed with consecutive singles and Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Corey Hart blooped a single into right field, driving in Weeks and Braun and chasing Germano. Lucroy then hit a three-run home run off reliever Jeff Beliveau . Two pitches later, Gomez followed with a solo shot off Beliveau. Segura then had his second groundout of the inning.
"Hitting two home runs in a game doesn't happen all the time," Lucroy said. "I'm just trying to be consistent and have good at-bats and hit the ball hard somewhere. Sometimes these things happen and sometimes you go 0 for 4. It's just the way it is. Hopefully, I can keep getting better."
The win for Rogers came after Brewers manager Ron Roenicke indicated before Monday's game that Rogers soon may be shut down for the season due to him nearing his innings limit. Rogers entered the game having thrown 119 innings in 2012 between Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville.
"I don't exactly know how much longer they want me to pitch," Rogers said. "I still feel great and I want to keep it that way. I'm going to keep doing everything I can to prepare to pitch."
Roenicke credited Rogers for the way be fought through some early problems
"I thought his command was off, especially early, but he battled it," Roenicke said. "The pitch count got up there pretty fast, but after that I thought the command got better and the fastball still had good life. It always seems to have good life. It's just going to be a command thing for him. He threw some real good breaking balls and then left some up in the zone. But he battled through it enough to keep us in it."
The Cubs scored in the first inning when David DeJesus led off with a double, stole third and scored on a ground-rule double by Anthony Rizzo . Chicago added a run in the second when Castillo hit a lead-off double and, after walks to Brett Jackson and Darwin Barney , scored on a sacrifice fly by DeJesus.
The Brewers cut into the lead in the second when Lucroy hit a solo homer that glanced off the top of the left field wall.
Josh Vitters , the Cubs' 22-year-old third baseman, hit his first career home run in the fifth, extending the Cubs lead to 3-1. Vitters, a first-round draft pick of the Cubs and third selection overall in 2007 draft, entered Monday's game hitting .091. He made his major leaguedebut on Aug. 5.
"It's good to feel that confidence right now, and hopefully I'm just going to work on seeing balls and hitting more balls like I did tonight," Vitters said.
The Cubs added a run in the seventh when Barney led off with a double and scored on a groundout and added another in the ninth when Castillo scored on a wild pitch.
Notes: After being given the day off Sunday, Brewers regulars Ramirez, Hart and Aoki returned to the starting lineup Monday night. ... Although there was no sign of rain at the start of Monday night's game at Miller Park, the retractable roof and panels were closed. A 7-minute in-game rain delay occurred on Sunday when an unexpected shower popped up with the roof open. ... Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano is the only major league left fielder to have handled at least 150 chances without an error this season. ... LHP Chris Rusin, a fourth-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2009, will make his major league debut on Tuesday against the Brewers, the team said. A corresponding roster move will be announced then. RHP Alex Hinshaw , claimed off waivers from San Diego, is also expected to join the Cubs on Tuesday.