Marco Estrada has won before, but it's been a while.
Estrada tries to pick up his first victory in almost exactly one year when he takes the ball Tuesday night against the Cubs at Miller Park.
Jonathan Lucroy hit two home runs and drove in four while Carlos Gomez also went deep for Milwaukee (55-66) in Monday's 9-5 victory over the Cubs. The game took a turn in the fifth inning when the Brewers scored eight runs - one fewer than they'd plated in their previous three games combined.
Milwaukee, which has already matched last season's loss total, won for the fourth time in 11 games as the big inning made a winner out of Rogers, who was making his seventh career start.
Estrada (0-5, 4.52 ERA) has made 15 starts and 14 relief appearances since his last win, Aug. 23 in Pittsburgh. His 15 consecutive starts without a victory is the longest drought by a Brewer since Chris Capuano went a franchise-record 18 in a row in 2007.
Estrada wasn't particularly sharp in Milwaukee's 7-4 comeback win over Philadelphia on Thursday, needing 108 pitches to get through five innings. He gave up four runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out one.
In his lone start of the season against Chicago on May 13, the right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in six innings and didn't factor in the decision of an 8-2 loss.
The Cubs (47-74) were six games under .500 then, but have since fallen a season-worst 27 games below the break-even mark - their lowest point since finishing the 2006 season 66-96. Monday's defeat was their 16th in 20 games.
One highlight for Chicago in the series opener was Josh Vitters hitting his first career homer in his 11th game. The third overall selection of the 2007 draft came in batting .091 with 11 strikeouts in 33 at-bats.
The Cubs, who have already called up several young players as they continue to build for the future, will have their sixth player make his major league debut Tuesday when they summon Chris Rusin to start.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2009, Rusin went 8-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 24 starts with Triple-A Iowa this season, including a 1-0 mark and 1.93 ERA in three outings this month.
The left-hander will be the 11th starting pitcher used by the Cubs, their most since using a franchise record-tying 15 in 2006. His status in the rotation beyond Tuesday is unclear.
"If he's going to get a longer look, he's going to have to replace somebody, or go with six guys in September or something like that," manager Dale Sveum told the Cubs' official website. "We have to decide what we're going to do."
If Rusin can keep Ryan Braun in check he could get some consideration to make more starts.
The reigning NL MVP is 9 for 20 with four homers and six RBIs in his last five games, and is batting .538 (14 for 26) with five home runs against lefties since July 24.
Lucroy has frustrated the Cubs all season, batting .450 with 10 RBIs in his last six contests in the series. He's 5 for 10 in his last three games overall.
"I'm just trying to be consistent and have good at-bats and hit the ball hard somewhere," he said.
|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 had been so long for Marco Estrada that this one felt like his first major league victory.
The right-hander struck out nine in six sparkling innings to win for the first time in almost a year, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2 on Tuesday night.
"Definitely, that's the best he's thrown all year," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He controlled his fastball. He controlled his off-speed stuff."
Estrada (1-5) allowed two hits and walked one in his first win since Aug. 23, 2011, at Pittsburgh. He had made 15 starts and 14 relief appearances since his last victory.
"It feels like it's my first major league win," he said. "It feels amazing. I'm extremely happy right now. I'm sure the guys are happy for me."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said his players contributed more than they should have to Estrada's success.
"We didn't do a real good job of taking advantage of a lot of good pitches to hit," Sveum said. "A lot of `went down looking' on some pretty good pitches to hit."
Estrada yielded Alfonso Soriano 's leadoff double in the second and rookie pitcher Chris Rusin's first major league hit in the third, a one-out triple. Estrada worked out of the jam when he retired David DeJesus on a comebacker and then struck out Josh Vitters looking to end the inning.
He retired 18 of 21 batters before turning over a 1-0 lead to Kameron Loe to start the seventh.
"Estrada is a nice pitcher, but I wouldn't expect him to have nine strikeouts in six innings either," Sveum said.
Estrada said a lot of the credit goes to Lucroy.
"Luc called a great game today," he said.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said it was an important victory for Estrada.
"It was good to get him a win," Roenicke said. "To go through the season and not have one, that's not what you want to do."
Loe and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched a scoreless inning before the Cubs made it interesting in the ninth against Manny Parra .
Vitters doubled with one out. After Parra walked Anthony Rizzo , Roenicke brought in Jim Henderson . Soriano then singled in Vitters and Starlin Castro ended Henderson's appearance when he drove in the second run grounding out to third.
John Axford , who had lost his role as closer earlier in the season, then came in and got Wellington Castillo to ground out to second for his 19th save in 27 chances.
Estrada had been denied a win four times earlier in the season when the bullpen blew a save opportunity.
Roenicke expressed a lot of confidence in Axford and shared that the two had been talking about the closer's role.
"This is a guy we obviously like to be in that closer role," Roenicke said.
The Brewers' victory spoiled the major league debut of Rusin, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Iowa.
Rusin retired his first nine batters before running into trouble in the fourth.
The left-hander hit leadoff batter Norichika Aoki , who stole second. He walked Ryan Braun with one out before plunking Aramis Ramirez to load the bases. Corey Hart lined a shot off Rusin's left shin to score Aoki.
Sveum and assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur came out to check on Rusin (0-1), who stayed in the game. He then got Lucroy to hit into a double play to end the inning.
"That first guy (Rusin) really kind of mystified us a little bit," Lucroy said. "When you have a really good changeup like that you're able to keep a lot of guys off balance."
Rusin, the ninth Cubs rookie pitcher to make his major league debut this season, allowed one run and one hit in five innings. He struck out four and walked two while throwing 76 pitches.
The Brewers scored three runs in the sixth on three walks, a wild pitch and Lucroy's two-run double off Alberto Cabrera . Carlos Gomez added a run-scoring single in the eighth.
NOTES: SS Jean Segura robbed Rusin of a hit in the fifth. Segura made a lunging dive behind second to catch Rusin's liner. ... Brewers RHP Shaun Marcum made his third rehab start at Class-A Wisconsin on Monday. He allowed a run and four hits in six innings. Barring any problem, he should start either Saturday or Sunday at Pittsburgh. ... The Cubs also added left-handed reliever Alex Hinshaw to the 25-man roster after claiming him off waivers Sunday. They optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau and INF Adrian Cardenas to Triple-A Iowa and transferred RHP Matt Garza to 60-day disabled list.