Series: Game 3 of 3

Milwaukee won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, August 29
Chi Cubs4
Game 2: Saturday, August 30
Chi Cubs5
Game 3: Sunday, August 31
Chi Cubs0

Brewers 2

(60-76, 33-37 away)

Cubs 0

(69-66, 33-34 home)

    2:20 PM ET, August 31, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    MIL 100001000 2 9 1
    CHC 000000000 0 6 0

    W: D. Davis (6-6)

    L: J. Cruz (1-5)

    S: D. Kolb (14)

    Milwaukee grabs 12th win in 13 games

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Maybe the Chicago Cubs should stop worrying about gaining ground on St. Louis and Houston and start paying attention to the once-lowly Milwaukee Brewers.

    Doug Davis extended his stellar run for the Brewers, scattering five hits and pitching into the ninth inning Sunday, and Jason Conti made a sliding, game-ending catch with the bases loaded to preserve a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

    It was 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.

    "We were playing a hot club, and they did everything right," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We know our hot time is going to come."

    It better come soon. The Cubs go into the final month of the season having lost four of their last five, including two to Milwaukee. They're 2{ games behind NL Central leader St. Louis, and 3{ back in a wild-card race that's bunched up tighter than the postgame traffic outside Wrigley Field.

    "We're playing plenty hard, we're just not getting results," Baker said. "We're 2{ out with a month to go. I'd rather be 2{ up, but 2{ out, hey, we can make that up in three days."

    Especially with the Cardinals coming to town Monday for a five-game series that includes a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.

    "That's all you can do is hope the games in September mean something," Eric Karros said. "And they obviously do here."

    But if the Cubs want to stay in the pennant race, they're going to have to start hitting -- something they couldn't do against Davis.

    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.

    "It's just opportunity, I guess," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Maybe he's just found his place where he is comfortable. He's got confidence in himself."

    Davis faced only three over the minimum and never allowed a runner past first in the first eight innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out five, and the Brewers turned four double plays to end any chance the Cubs might have had.

    "I'm not an overpowering pitcher, so I've got to rely on the team to make the plays, and they made all of them today," Davis said. "I just work down in the zone and get a lot of groundballs, and I did that."

    The only time things got scary was after Davis left, 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. Karros followed with a liner that looked as if it might drop in shallow right.

    "When I hit it, I thought I had a good shot," Karros said.

    But Conti slid, stretching out his glove and snagging the ball, prompting a loud groan from the standing Wrigley Field crowd.

    "I didn't really know I was going to catch it until I caught it," said Conti, brought in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. "As soon as that ball is hit, (Ramirez) is running from first base. He's got a big lead because Richie (Sexson) is not holding him on. It was basically go catch it or it's going to get by.

    "I don't know if that's do-or-die," Conti added, "but it's close."

    Kolb earned his 14th save in 15 chances. He has converted 14 opportunities in a row, one shy of the Brewers' NL record, set by Bob Wickman in 1998.

    Keith Ginter had a sacrifice fly in the first inning to back Davis, and Sexson added an RBI double in the sixth.

    Juan Cruz, recalled from Triple-A Iowa before the game, allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. Cruz (1-5) struck out six, walked one, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter.

    "Our pitching is doing well, we're just not scoring runs," Cubs catcher Damian Miller said. "I wish I had the answer to overcome that, but I don't. Just keep swinging."

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press