Brewers continue set in Chicago

The Chicago Cubs won't be going to the playoffs for a third straight season. They'll just have to settle for delaying Milwaukee's clinching of the National League Central.

The Cubs look to play spoiler again tonight in the second contest of a three- game series with the Brewers in the final night game of the season at Wrigley Field.

The Brewers went into last night's opener with a magic number of four to claim their first division title of any kind since winning the AL East back in 1982. The Cubs' Geovany Soto had a different idea, homering twice and driving in all five runs in Chicago's 5-2 victory.

Casey Coleman, meanwhile, allowed one run over six innings and struck out eight for his first victory since May 19 and Chicago's third in four games overall.

"When you strike out a lot of guys it showing you're getting ahead, throwing strikes with all your pitches," Coleman said.

Tonight will be the final time the lights are on at Wrigley Field this year. Wednesday's series final is set to take place in the afternoon before Chicago ends the season on a six-game road trip.

Milwaukee won't mind leaving the historic venue as it had won six in a row over Chicago -- all at home -- before suffering its fourth loss in five games at the Windy City this year.

Jerry Hairston and Casey McGehee connected on solo homers for the Brewers, whose three-game win streak was halted. Milwaukee had won five of six and its lead over second-place St. Louis in the NL Central stands at 5 1/2 games.

"There's no pressure on us," Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said. "If we just keeping baseball like we've been playing, we should be fine. There's no pressure on us because we're in the driver's seat."

There might be some pressure on Milwaukee starter Shaun Marcum to find the win column as he tries to avoid his first three-game losing streak of the season.

The right-hander has lost four of his past five decisions and has given up 10 earned runs over his two-game slide. He was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits in five innings of a loss to the Rockies on Wednesday.

Marcum is 12-7 with a 3.40 earned run average this year and that includes a 7-3 mark and 2.31 ERA in 15 road games. The 29-year-old faced the Cubs for the first and only time in his career on July 28 and got the win with six innings of two-run ball.

Randy Wells brings a five-decision win streak into his start tonight for the Cubs, but he was roughed up by the Reds on Thursday in a no-decision. The righty yielded five runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings as the Cubs lost an 8-6 game.

Wells, who hasn't lost since July 28, is 7-4 with a 4.93 ERA this year and 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA lifetime versus Milwaukee.

Chicago shortstop Starlin Castro connected on a single in last night's game to run his career-high streak of reaching base safely to 32 straight games. It is the longest for a Cubs shortstop since Woody English's 32-game run in 1930. English also reached base safely in 34 consecutive games in the previous season.