Cubs, Brewers aim to get out of NL Central basement

Two teams tied for last place in the National League's Central Division get together tonight when the Chicago Cubs visit Miller Park for the opener of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs and Brewers are equal at 13-18 through 31 games and trail the first- place St. Louis Cardinals by seven games, and the third-place tandem of Houston and Pittsburgh by a single game.

Chicago enters after winning two of three at home against Atlanta, including a Wednesday rubber match when Bryan LaHair continued his early-season production with the game's only RBI in a 1-0 win.

David DeJesus singled to lead off the seventh, moved to second on Tony Campana's sacrifice bunt and third on Starlin Castro's groundout. LaHair then lined a single into the hole in left and DeJesus jogged home.

LaHair raised his average to .384 and batted in his 18th run of the season, while starter Paul Maholm (4-2), James Russell and Rafael Dolis combined for the four-hit shutout as Chicago won its third in four tries.

Dolis converted his third save of the year with a perfect ninth.

In Milwaukee, the Brewers dropped the rubber match of a series with Cincinnati when Joey Votto delivered with a two-out RBI double in the top of the ninth inning, and the Reds held on to win Brewers, 2-1.

Ryan Braun homered to left-center field off Sean Marshall to begin the home ninth. Marshall retired two in a row, but was replaced by Logan Ondrusek after Jonathan Lucroy and pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki hit back-to-back singles.

Ondrusek walked pinch-hitter George Kottaras to load the bases, but he notched his first major league save when pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa popped up the first pitch he saw to left field.

On Ishikawa swinging at the first pitch, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said, "He's up there and if he gets a good pitch to hit, he should hit it."

Chicago right-hander Matt Garza makes his sixth start of the season and second against the Brewers, who he blanked over 8 2/3 innings of three-hit ball in an 8-0 triumph on April 12 at Wrigley Field.

The win lifted Garza to 3-1 lifetime in four starts against Milwaukee.

In three starts since the shutout victory, he's 1-1 and has allowed 12 hits and eight runs in 19 innings.

Milwaukee counters with 35-year-old lefty Randy Wolf, who's 2-1 since beginning the season on a three-start winless skid.

The California native allowed 25 hits and 15 runs in his initial 15 1/3 innings of 2012, but has since settled down to give up 22 hits and nine runs in his subsequent 17 innings.

He dropped a 5-2 decision at San Francisco in his most recent outing but walked none and struck out three, and actually saw his earned run average shrink a but from 6.84 to 6.68.

Wolf is 6-11 in 23 career starts against the Cubs with a 4.22 ERA.

The Brewers took three of four at Chicago in early April, giving them a win in 10 of the past 13 meetings.