Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs, left, is congratulated by teammates Carlos Pena and Geovany Soto, right, after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning at Wrigley Field Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Kosuke Fukudome had three hits and broke it open with a three-run homer, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena also went deep, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-7 on Thursday.
Fukudome singled and scored in the first, hit an RBI triple and scored in the second, and delivered the big blow in the sixth when he connected off reliever Daniel Herrera to make it a four-run game.
Pena put Chicago ahead 6-5 with a leadoff homer against Zack Greinke (6-2) in the third. Soriano added a two-run shot in the seventh off Sergio Mitre, making it 11-5. Starlin Castro had three hits and the Cubs took three of four from the NL Central leaders.
That’s quite a turn for a team that came into this series with 11 losses in 13 games, but the Cubs got plenty of help in this one.
Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks got thrown out twice trying to stretch singles into doubles, and Greinke simply struggled from the start after going 6-0 in his previous seven starts.
The 2009 AL Cy Young winner allowed a season-high eight runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings and took his first loss since his Milwaukee debut against Atlanta on May 4, even though he struck out 10 and walked two.
The Brewers got two-run homers from Ryan Braun and George Kattaras off Matt Garza in the first two innings, but the Cubs answered each time.
They scored two against Greinke in the first and three more in the second, with three of those five runs coming on a passed ball, a wild pitch and an error, and things didn’t get any better for Greinke after that.
He served up Pena’s 10th homer in the third after Casey McGehee tied it at 5 in the top half and left with runners on second and third in the sixth after striking out a pinch-hitting Reed Johnson.
Herrera came in and Fukudome quickly gave the Cubs some breathing room when he drove a 1-2 pitch to the right-field seats for his third home run. That made it 9-5 and helped Garza (3-6) pick up a win even though he was far from dominant.
After missing three starts because of a bone bruise on his right elbow and then dropping two straight, he tied a season-high by allowing five runs over six innings.
Notes: Cubs manager Mike Quade wasn’t exactly shedding tears over New York’s Derek Jeter missing this weekend’s series. The Yankees are making their second regular-season trip to Wrigley Field, but they won’t have their captain. Six hits shy of 3,000, Jeter is sidelined by a strained right calf. “I’m like every other baseball guy. I don’t want this guy coming here getting his 3,000th hit,” Quade said. ... Greinke was the third Cy Young winner to face the Cubs in seven days, along with Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. ... Manager Ron Roenicke said the Brewers sent LHP Zach Braddock to Triple-A after Wednesday’s game because of some punctuality issues. He was showing up at the ballpark on time, but was late going out for pregame warmups. “Zach’s a good guy and works hard, he’s trying to manage his stuff,” Roenicke said. “You need him to go somewhere he can get everything right. Once he gets everything right ... he’s throwing the ball good so we’d like to see him back.” Braddock has spent time on the DL this season because of a sleep disorder.