Lee homers, Cubs rally in 8th to top Brewers

CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrek Lee's first homer in almost three months came at the best possible time for the reeling Chicago Cubs.

His long two-run shot into the left-field bleachers tied the score in the eighth inning, and the Cubs scored three more runs to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Wednesday and end a five-game losing streak. Chicago had dropped nine straight at Wrigley Field.

"It's a huge relief," manager Dusty Baker said. "Now you see what it means to have D-Lee back, to have that big bat in the lineup."

Lee, who came off the disabled list Sunday after missing 59 games with a broken wrist, hit his first homer since April 8, a shot off Dan Kolb (2-2) that started the comeback.

Obviously, after missing so much time, the defending NL batting champ is still feeling his way around the plate and the field. He is 4-for-17 since being activated.

"I don't feel great, honestly, at the plate," Lee said. "But you just keep working and you don't know when good things can happen. I'll keep fighting until I get that rhythm down and get in a groove."

Kolb struck out the next two batters before Jacque Jones singled to left. Ronny Cedeno then blooped a double into shallow right just out of the reach of diving second baseman Rickie Weeks.

Milwaukee right fielder Geoff Jenkins picked up the ball and threw to the plate, but catcher Chad Moeller couldn't come up with it as Jones slid in with the go-ahead run. Henry Blanco followed with a run-scoring triple, and pinch-hitter John Mabry added an RBI double.

"I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them," Kolb said. Of Cedeno's bloop, he added: "That's the way it's been going for me. Everything went downhill after that."

Milwaukee took a 3-1 lead in the eighth on Bill Hall's 16th homer, a two-out, two-run drive off Bob Howry (3-2).

The Brewers won the first two games of the four-game series, including an 8-5 comeback win in the ninth Tuesday night when two Chicago errors helped them score four runs.

"You can't expect to beat them every day," Hall said. "We got out to a good start. ... We still have a chance to win the series tomorrow."

Ryan Dempster, who blew the save Tuesday night when he and Cedeno made errors, got one this time -- his 12th in 16 chances -- by pitching a scoreless ninth.

"It's been a struggle for everybody, and me lately, to get in the groove," Dempster said. "I'm still wondering why I didn't do that last night."

Cubs rookie Carlos Marmol allowed just one hit in the first six innings and took a 1-0 lead into the seventh on Juan Pierre's first homer of the season.

Marmol allowed a leadoff double to Carlos Lee in the second and no other hits until Jenkins and Lee hit back-to-back singles with one out in the seventh. After he hit Prince Fielder with a pitch to load the bases, Marmol was replaced by Scott Eyre, who gave up a tying single to Corey Koskie on a 3-2 pitch and then got Moeller to hit into a double play.

In his fourth major-league start, Marmol walked two and struck out eight.

Milwaukee starter Dave Bush gave up seven hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings. The lone run came on a rare homer by Pierre in the

The Brewers got out of a jam in the seventh after Jenkins lost Jones' high fly in the sun as the ball fell for a double. After Cedeno grounded out and Blanco struck out, pinch-hitter Matt Murton
beat out an infield single, putting runners at the corners and chasing Bush. Brian Shouse then struck out Pierre.

Pierre had gone 643 at-bats without a homer -- his previous one came on July 7, 2005, against the Brewers. It was the second-longest homerless streak in the majors behind Houston's Willy Taveras, who hasn't homered in 657 at-bats.

When Lee returned to the dugout after his homer, he had something to say to his friend and former Florida Marlins teammate Pierre.

"First thing he said after he hit his home run, 'That's how the big boys hit them,'" Pierre said.

Pierre then asked how many at-bats had gone by since his last one.

"640? Wow," he said. "I usually get one every 500, so I got to pick up the pace a little bit."

It was the 10th homer of Pierre's career, including two last season with the Marlins.

Game notes
Milwaukee reliever Matt Wise was hoping to pitch soon after being unavailable for two games following a freak accident. Wise
got a cut on the middle finger of his right hand when he reached into a bowl Sunday and caught his finger on salad tongs. "I was going after a salad," Wise said.