They'll look to continue that Wednesday night against left-hander Chris Rusin at Miller Park, a matchup that appears favorable considering their success versus southpaws.
After a 4-3 victory Tuesday following Logan Schafer 's game-winning squeeze bunt, Milwaukee (67-83) has won 32 of the last 43 meetings between the teams dating back to July 26, 2011. The Brewers finished a combined 47 games ahead of the Cubs over the last two seasons, but are only 4 1/2 games better this year.
Milwaukee, though, owns a 12-5 edge in 2013, including four straight victories in which the Cubs (63-88) have been held to a combined eight runs and 21 hits.
The Brewers are one of baseball's better teams against left-handed pitching, with their .266 average and .419 slugging percentage both ranking near the top of the majors.
Rusin (2-4, 2.85 ERA) lasted just 3 2-3 innings in an 8-5 win over Milwaukee on Sept. 6, allowing two runs and seven hits, but has been pitched well of late with a 2.45 ERA over his last four outings.
He matched a career high by going seven innings while allowing two runs and four hits in a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday as he continues to audition for a potential spot in the team's 2014 rotation.
"We'll cross those bridges when we get to it," manager Dale Sveum said. "He's definitely put himself in a position to have every opportunity to make the rotation."
Former Cub Aramis Ramirez , who is slugging .549 in 71 at-bats against left-handers this year, is 2 for 3 off Rusin with a homer.
The Brewers will counter Rusin with another impressive rookie in Tyler Thornburg (2-1, 2.18). The right-hander has thrown exactly six innings in each of his five starts this year while going 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA.
He limited a potent St. Louis lineup to two runs and three hits in a 5-3 victory at Busch Stadium on Thursday, his first career win as a starter.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Thornburg said. "I was locating my fastball pretty well. Everything felt good."
Thornburg threw six shutout innings during a 3-2 win at Chicago on July 30, his first start of the year and only appearance against the Cubs.
Darwin Barney will try to break out of a slump as he's just 1 for 17 over his last six games.
Lucroy is 4 for 28 (.143) with eight strikeouts over his last nine contests.
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|September 13, 2013||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left wrist contusion|
|September 06, 2013||Khris Davis||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|August 15, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|August 08, 2013||Rickie Weeks||60-Day DL||Left hamstring surgery - out for season|
|August 02, 2013||Tom Gorzelanny||Day-to-Day||Left elbow contusion|
|July 31, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- After struggling in the minors during the first half of the season, Tyler Thornburg 's turnaround since being called up to the majors by the Milwaukee Brewers has been remarkable.
Sean Halton hit his first career grand slam and Thornburg allowed just two singles over six innings, leading the Brewers to a 7-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
Thornburg (3-1) struck out four and walked two as he reached six innings for the sixth straight start since being recalled from Triple A Nashville on June 29. He has allowed five earned runs in 36 innings as a starter and has also made 11 relief appearances for the Brewers, posting a 1.96 ERA. At Nashville, he was 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts.
"He has been good in relief, he's been really good as a starter," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's hard to explain. I know it's an excuse, but I heard he had the worst luck you could have at Triple-A, but I wasn't there.
"He's confident. He gets a little wild at times and then comes back and makes great pitches. He has three really good pitches: a really good fastball, a good curveball and a great change-up. He can mix in the two off-speed pitches, depending on which is going well that day, and when you can do that and you have a lot of life on your fastball, you'll pitch like he did today."
Jimmy Nelson pitched two innings and Michael Blazek got the last three outs to preserve the four-hit shutout.
Thornburg put most of the blame for his ineffectiveness at Nashville on himself.
"I was a little upset being in Triple-A," said Thornburg, who made three starts in eight appearances last season with the Brewers. "Honestly I was kicking myself a little bit too much. Doing things I wouldn't necessarily do. Up here I stuck with my three good pitches and I am really trying to improve those."
Halton's homer capped a five-run first inning off Chris Rusin (2-5). Jean Segura walked with one out and advanced to second on Jonathan Lucroy 's single. Aramis Ramirez singled in Segura. After Carlos Gomez flied out, Khris Davis walked to load the bases. Halton then drove a 3-2 pitch 370 feet over the right-field wall for his fourth home run.
"It is just one of things," said Halton, who also hit a three-run game-ending homer Sunday to give the Brewers a 6-5 victory over the Reds. "In a couple months I will sit back and look (and say) that was a crazy week. It is unbelievable to get an opportunity to be in those situations let alone come through in them."
Davis led off the fourth inning with his 10th home run to put the Brewers up 6-0.
Milwaukee added a run in the fifth when reliever Alberto Cabrera hit Norichika Aoki , Ramirez walked and Gomez followed with an RBI double. Davis walked to load the bases again for Halton, but he struck out to end the inning.
Ryan Sweeney was the only Cubs runner to reach second base with a double in the seventh off Nelson. The Cubs have lost seven of their last eight and are just 15-34 since July 29.
"When I needed to make a pitch, I left it up and they hit it out of the yard," said Rusin. "Those are the games you've just got to learn from. Just keep the ball down is what I keep telling myself. But that first inning really hurt the team. Just took the life out of us. As a starting pitcher, you don't want to do that to a club."
NOTES: Brewers SS Segura left the game after the first inning with what the team announced as a strained right hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day. "It's not bad but saying that, we'll see how many days it's going to be," Roenicke said. "If he walks in here tomorrow and hardly feels anything, then we have a chance to get him back out there." ... The Brewers improved to 13-5 this season against the Cubs. Since 2011, they hold a 36-15 advantage.