MILWAUKEE – Marco Estrada allowed two hits in six solid innings to win for the first time in almost a year, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Chicago Cubs 5-2 Tuesday night.
Estrada (1-5) started for the 16th time this year and made 14 relief appearances over two seasons since his 11-4 win at Pittsburgh on Aug. 23, 2011.
The Brewers right-hander gave up Alfonso Soriano's double leading off the second and rookie starter Chris Rusin's first major league hit, a one-out triple in the third. Estrada worked retired David DeJesus on a comebacker and then Josh Vitters took a called third strike to end the inning.
Estrada retired 18 of 21 batters before turning over a 1-0 lead to Kameron Loe to start the seventh.
Loe pitched a scoreless seventh. Francisco Rodriguez did the same in the eighth.
The Cubs made it interesting in the ninth against Manny Parra.
Vitters doubled with one out. After Parra walked the next batter, Anthony Rizzo, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke pulled Parra. Jim Henderson took over to face Soriano who drove in Vitters with a single to right. Starlin Castro ended Henderson's appearance when he drove in the second run grounding out to third.
Roenicke brought in John Axford, who had lost his role as closer after blowing eight saves, to preserve the victory. He got Wellington Castillo to ground out to second for his 19th save.
Estrada had been denied a win four times earlier in the season when the bullpen blew a save opportunity.
The Brewers' victory spoiled the pitching debut of Rusin, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Iowa.
Rusin retired Milwaukee in order through three innings. Then ran into trouble in the fourth when the Brewers scored out a run.
The left-hander hit the first batter, Norichka 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.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum and assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur came out to check on Rusin (0-1). He threw a few pitches and stayed in the game. He got Lucroy, the next batter, to hit into a double play to hold Milwaukee to just one run.
Rusin, the ninth Cubs rookie pitcher to make his major league debut this season, threw 76 pitches. He struck out four and walked two before Cabrera came out to start the sixth.
The Brewers added three runs in the sixth on three walks, a wild pitch and Jonathan Lucroy's two-run double off reliever Alberto Cabrera.
Carlos Gomez added a run-scoring single in the eighth.
NOTES: Shortstop 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 on 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, optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau and INF Adrian Cardenas to Triple-A Iowa and transferred RHP Matt Garza to 60-day disabled list.