Brewers Blank Cubs 2-0
CHICAGO (AP) _ Doug Davis made another strong start, pitching into the ninth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Sunday.
Right fielder Jason Conti made a sliding, game-ending catch with the bases loaded to preserve the 12th victory in 13 games for Milwaukee, which had a 10-game winning streak snapped Friday. The Brewers won their fourth straight series, the first time they’ve managed that since August 1996.
The Cubs lost for the fourth time in five games, dropping even further back in the playoff race. Chicago is 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central, and 3 1/2 back in the wild-card race.
Davis (2-0) spent most of the first half of the season with Toronto, going 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA. Designated for assignment on July 10, he opted for free agency and the Brewers signed him.
The move couldn’t have worked out better for either the Brewers or Davis. He’s won his last two starts, giving up just an unearned run, and his ERA in four starts with Milwaukee is 0.95.
The left-hander faced only three over the minimum and never allowed a runner past first in the first eight innings.
He scattered five hits and was lifted with one out in the ninth after giving up a single to Ramon Martinez. Dan Kolb relieved and promptly gave up a single to Sammy Sosa, and an error by Conti put runners at second and third.
Kolb struck out Moises Alou, then walked Aramis Ramirez to load the bases before Conti grabbed Eric Karros’ liner to end it.
Kolb earned his 14th save in 15 chances. He has converted 14 opportunities in a row, one shy of Bob Wickman’s club record.
Davis walked two and struck out five. The Brewers turned three double plays behind him, and Davis was never in any real trouble.
Keith Ginter had a sacrifice fly in the first inning to back him, and Richie Sexson added an RBI double in the sixth.
Juan Cruz, recalled from Triple-A Iowa before the game, got off to a slow start, giving up four hits in the first three innings. But after hitting Ginter in the back with a pitch in the third, Cruz seemed to settle down. He got nine straight outs before allowing a leadoff single to Ginter in the sixth.
Ginter went to second on Brady Clark’s sacrifice and Sexson followed with a run-scoring double, giving Milwaukee a 2-0 lead. Cruz was pulled after walking John Vander Wal, and Antonio Alfonseca relieved.
Wes Helms hit what looked to be a three-run homer, but the ball sailed into foul territory. On the next pitch, Helms was called out on strikes.
Cruz (1-5) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out six, walked one, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter.
Notes: Davis’ last shutout was April 11, 2002. ... The Brewers went 16-12 in August, their first winning month since May 2001. ... The Cubs lost only their second Sunday game since the All-Star break. ... The Cubs dropped to 33-34 at Wrigley Field.