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Cubs' shut down Brewers in 8-2 victory

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Associated Press
July 6, 2009
— Ryan Braun just finished watching All-Star Ted Lilly shut down his Milwaukee Brewers, and he was frustrated.

So he let his pitchers know how he felt about their recent performance.


"Their starting pitching is a lot better than ours," Braun said after the Brewers were beaten 8-2 Sunday. "They threw the ball a lot better than our starters did. They certainly swung the bats better than we did. Clearly they were the better team. It's nice to get the one win but they clearly outplayed us and outperformed us all series."


Lilly pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Derrek Lee and Jake Fox each hit two-run homers for the Cubs, who took three of four from the Brewers.


The Cubs moved 1 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central Division for second place and trail the first-place St. Louis Cardinals by 2 games in the division.


"No matter who is in there, we have to find a way to throw the ball better for us to have success," said Braun. "I think when you're constantly behind in games, it's not easy and it's not fun. Their starting pitcher was clearly better than ours this series."


After having a National League record-tying eight players selected to the All-Star game last season, Lilly (8-6) was the lone Cubs representative selected on Sunday.


"We told him before the ballgame and he went out and pitched like an All-Star," Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "Ted has done a really nice job here in the first half for us."


Lilly allowed two runs on nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out nine, including the side in the fifth. He left to a loud ovation from the crowd of 40,359 in the seventh.


"I'm excited and I'm looking forward to it. I hope I get the opportunity to pitch in it, that would be fun, too. Maybe we'll win so that the Cubs can get some homefield advantage in the World Series," Lilly said with a smile.


Prince Fielder, who was picked as a reserve to his second All-Star game, hit a solo homer for Milwaukee, and Braun, the top vote-getting NL outfielder for the second straight season, was 1 for 4.


The Brewers host St. Louis for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday and Braun is hoping Brewers general manager Doug Melvin makes a move soon to improve the Brewers.


"I wish I got to make decisions like that. But I know he's trying to make our ballclub better," Braun said. "I know he understands the significance of making a move and making it soon."


Kosuke Fukudome led off the first inning by driving the first pitch from Mike Burns (1-2) off the left-center wall for a triple. One out later, Lee hit his 15th homer of the season into the left-center bleachers.


Lee made a late case for the All-Star game. Since May 1, Lee is hitting .323 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs. He only hit one home run in April.


"When you look at his overall totals now, 15 (home runs) and 51 (RBIs) is pretty impressive," said Piniella.


In the fourth inning, Fielder hit a two-out solo shot to center for his 22nd of the season.


The Cubs added to their lead in the bottom of the half. Geovany Soto hit a sacrifice fly and Mike Fontenot had an RBI single to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.


With runners on first and third and no outs in the fifth, Lee hit an RBI single. After Lee got caught stealing and Milton Bradley was called out on strikes, Fox ended Burns' day with a two-run home run onto Waveland Ave. It was Fox's fourth of the season in his 26th game.


Piniella has been getting Fox time at third base with Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list, but Ramirez is expected to be activated Monday along with outfielder Reed Johnson and reliever Angel Guzman. Piniella is not sure how his roster will shake up on Monday.


"This is going to be a very, very not only difficult, but interesting decision," Piniella said. "It's not going to be easy, this is not clear cut.


Burns was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.


Casey McGehee drove in Braun with a single in the sixth inning. He was 3 for 4 and 9 for 19 in the series.


NOTES: Brewers RHP Dave Bush, on the 15-day DL since June 23 with a right arm fatigue, threw off mound for first time Sunday. The Brewers hope to have him back on July 15. "We're going to take the cautious route," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said.



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