(Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs will try for their third series win over the NL Central-rival Milwaukee Brewers this season when the two foes get together tonight in the finale of a three-game series from Miller Park.
Since dropping four in a row the Cubs have alternated wins and losses over their last six games and set themselves up for a series victory with Wednesday's 9-4 drubbing of the Brewers behind a myriad of home runs.
Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto both homered twice and finished with three RBI, while Derrek Lee belted the 300th home run of his career for the Cubs, who are 6 1/2 games off the lead in the Central standings.
"I wasn't going up there thinking on trying to get to 300 [homers], but it feels good," Lee said after the game
Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano recorded his second win of the season (2-4) and yielded three runs on two hits and five walks through five innings. James Russell allowed a run in the sixth inning, while Andrew Cashner and Sean Marshall combined to throw three innings of scoreless relief.
Before the latest triumph, the Cubs placed struggling third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb contusion and recalled infielder Chad Tracy from Triple-A Iowa. They will head home for a nine-game residency after this series in Brew City.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster was 0-4 with a 4.63 earned run average in five starts before winning two of his last three trips to the hill, and will take the hill this afternoon. He fired eight shutout innings against the Dodgers on May 25, lost to St. Louis five days later after allowing six runs in 6 2/3 frames, then beat the Astros on Saturday by holding them to three runs in 6 1/3 innings of an 8-5 victory.
Dempster improved to 4-5 in 12 starts this season to go along with a 3.76 ERA, and is unbeaten in two starts against Milwaukee in 2010. In 41 career meetings (19 starts) with the Brewers, the right-hander is 13-3 with 10 saves and a 2.80 earned run average.
Milwaukee had a modest two-game winning streak stopped last night and lost for the seventh time in 10 tries. Randy Wolf had an awful outing and allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.
"They were on all of [Wolf's] pitches. They were up," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
Ryan Braun and Wolf were both credited with a pair of RBI, while Craig Counsell ended with two hits and a pair of runs scored for Milwaukee, which sits 9 1/2 games off the pace in the NL Central. The Brewers will also host Texas for three games on the residency.
Dave Bush hasn't tasted victory since April 20 at Pittsburgh and will toe the rubber today for Milwaukee. Since the win over the Pirates he's 0-5 with a 6.18 earned run average in nine games -- eight of which have been starts. Bush made a relief appearance the last time out in a 4-3 win at St. Louis on Sunday, as he struck out one batter in one-third of an inning.
Bush, a right-hander out of Wake Forest, remained at 1-5 in 12 games (11 starts) with a 4.97 ERA this season. He lasted six innings and allowed three runs in his most recent start on June 1 at Florida. He is 0-1 in two starts against the Cubs this season and owns a 2-9 mark and a 5.43 ERA in 18 career games, 17 starts, in this series.
Chicago leads the 2010 series with the Brewers by a 6-2 count and swept them in three games at Miller Park from April 23-25. The Cubs have won 16 of the past 24 matchups between the teams.