Gerut's slam sends Brewers past Cubs
Jody Gerut welcomed the chance to start and responded with one of his biggest hits since joining the Milwaukee Brewers.
Gerut's second career grand slam lifted the Brewers to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. It also helped Milwaukee earn a split in the four-game series between two teams finishing disappointing seasons.
"I'm happy for whatever I can do," Gerut said.
Out of baseball for two years, Gerut put together a decent season for the Padres a year ago and then was traded to the Brewers in May for Tony Gwynn.
His start Thursday at Wrigley Field was just his 18th in 71 appearances for the Brewers.
"If you look at his history, he's done fine. So, a couple things he can do: He plays center field. He plays all three positions, keeps himself ready. He's a pro and he's got some pop in his bat," Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said.
Mike Rivera also had a key bases-loaded hit Thursday for the Brewers, a two-run double in the seventh to push the cushion to three.
After making the playoffs last year - Chicago as the NL Central champion and Milwaukee as the NL wild card - both teams are all but out of contention with 2 1/2 weeks left. The Cubs fell to 75-70 and the Brewers are 71-75.
Gerut's grand slam capped a two-out rally that started when Randy Wells (10-9) walked No. 8 hitter Alcides Escobar, gave up a single to Brewers starter Dave Bush and another walk to Felipe Lopez.
Gerut, who played 11 games for the Cubs in 2005, drove a Wells pitch into the right-field bleachers for his seventh homer this season and just his third since Milwaukee acquired him from San Diego on May 21. He had only 11 RBIs for the Brewers before Thursday.
"The home run was a home run but look what happened before that, a two-out base hit to the pitcher," said Wells, who said his arm is fine despite throwing 147 innings as a rookie. It's the walks - eight of them - that have bugged him the last couple of starts.
Wells pitched only four innings Thursday, giving up five hits, five runs and five bases on balls.
"I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but you can't win ball games when you're doing stuff like that," he said. "It's just pitiful. That's not going to cut it. It's time to rethink some things."
Bush (5-7) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. Trevor Hoffman worked the ninth for his 33rd save in 36 chances.
Micah Hoffpauir pinch hit for Wells in the fourth and his two-run, two-out double cut Milwaukee's lead to 5-4.
But the Brewers loaded the bases for a third time in the seventh and Rivera hit a two-out, two-run double off Esmailin Caridad.
Bradley left with left knee inflammation after singling in the sixth inning and didn't have many answers about his condition. "What else you got?" he asked several times in response to questions. "I got knee inflammation," he said, adding it was the result of previous surgery. ... The Cubs and Brewers honored 60 Medal of Honor recipients in a pregame ceremony, with the veterans lining up along the baselines where they were greeted by the players and souvenirs were exchanged. ... Milwaukee 1B Prince Fielder drew his 99th walk in the third to tie the season franchise record held by Jeromy Burnitz (2000). The 268-pound Fielder also legged out his third triple of the year in the fifth. ... Gerut's other grand slam came in 2003 against the Twins during his strong rookie season for Cleveland, when he hit 22 homers. ... The Cubs will skip Rich Harden's next turn in the rotation Monday at Milwaukee and use Tom Gorzelanny. Harden could also be replaced on Sept. 26 in San Francisco, but manager Lou Piniella said the right-hander who's had trouble with high pitch counts will probably get at least one more start.