Chicago, IL – Junior Lake hit his first career grand slam and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-5, in the opener of a three- game series.
Chris Rusin, who had two RBI, gave up two runs on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings for the Cubs, who have won two in a row since a two-game skid. Carlos Villanueva (5-8) tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.
"I guess that kind of salvages the day," Rusin said of his two RBI. "I felt I was nibbling, and good hitters like they are, they'll take those pitches. You have to be able to attack the zone with other offspeed [pitches] on different sides of the plate, and I was struggling with my offspeed and trying to work with what I had."
Scooter Gennett hit a three-run homer for the Brewers, who have lost six of seven. Aramis Ramirez added a solo homer.
Kyle Lohse (9-9) got the start for Milwaukee and allowed seven runs on 11 hits over five innings.
"It was tough," Lohse said. "I couldn't get it going. It seemed like the first three or four hits were all on hanging sliders that I just didn't finish. It was a pretty big hole to put us in."
The Brewers left the bases loaded in the first inning. Two walks and a single filled the bags with two outs, but Sean Halton grounded out to end the threat.
The Cubs made Milwaukee pay by scoring five runs in the bottom half of the frame. Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz hit three straight one-out singles to plate a run. Ryan Sweeney followed with a walk to load the bases, before Lake smacked Lohse's offering over the wall in left to make it 5-0.
The Brewers got one run back in the second. Jeff Bianchi and Logan Schafer singled to start the inning. The runners moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt then Norichika Aoki's sacrifice fly made it 5-1.
Ramirez's homer in the third made it a three-run contest.
The Cubs, however, responded with two runs in the bottom half. Sweeney, Donnie Murphy and Lake singled to load the bases with no outs, then Rusin's two-run single up the middle made it a 7-2 game.
Milwaukee made things a bit interesting by scoring three runs in the eighth. Pedro Strop gave up one-out singles to Halton and Bianchi. After Schafer struck out looking, Gennett lofted his pinch homer to right.
Chicago, though, scored a run in the bottom half. With runners on the corners and one out, pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic grounded into a fielder's choice to give the hosts a three-run edge.
Kevin Gregg tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his 30th save of the season.
Despite Friday's loss, the Brewers are 8-5 against the Cubs this season ... Lohse fell to 5-5 lifetime against Chicago ... The Cubs went 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, while the Brewers went 1-for-5 with RISP and left eight men on ... The Cubs activated recently acquired relief pitcher Daniel Bard before the game.