Twin blasts ignite rally in Cubs win



CHICAGO – Matt Murton and Alfonso Soriano hit back-to-back homers off Chris Capuano in the sixth inning Thursday night and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 to push their lead in the NL Central back to 21/2 games.

Chicago took two of three in their final series of the season with the second-place Brewers. St. Louis, which lost to Houston on Thursday, is three games behind.

Murton, who entered the game in a double switch in the top of the inning, hit his fifth homer to break a 3-3 tie with two out. One pitch later, Soriano connected on his team-leading 19th and first since coming off the disabled list Tuesday. The Cubs’ star had struck out in his first three at-bats.

Capuano (5-12) suffered his franchise-record 12th straight loss while making his second relief appearance of the season. He made 23 starts in the rotation and began the season 5-0, but is 0-12 in his last 16 appearances.

Brewers’ rookie lefty Manny Parra, in his second major league start, was pulled after three innings with a bruised left thumb after giving up three hits and three runs with three walks and three strikeouts. He was to be examined by a team doctor Friday.

Carlos Marmol (4-1), who entered in the sixth after Chicago starter Ted Lilly worked five innings, got the victory with two innings of relief, striking out five.

The Brewers loaded the bases against Ryan Dempster in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Joe Dillon doubled and Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch. J.J. Hardy sacrificed and Prince Fielder was walked intentionally one out later to load the bases. Dempster then walked Corey Hart to force in a run before getting Kevin Mench to ground into a fielder’s choice to short for his 23rd save in 25 chances.

The Brewers had second and third in the seventh after Murton made an error on Weeks’ single, allowing him to reach second. Marmol hit Ryan Braun with a pitch but struck out Fielder and Hart to end the threat.

Weeks led off the game with a homer. Hardy singled, Fielder walked and Mench hit an RBI double. Another walk to Bill Hall loaded the bases, but Lilly escaped his 38-pitch opening inning by striking out Damian Miller.

Chicago rallied for three in second as Aramis Ramirez walked and Craig Monroe got a double when right fielder Hart lost his liner in the lights. Mark DeRosa delivered a two-run single and after Jason Kendall walked, and Jacque Jones added an RBI single.

Parra got out of the inning with strikeouts of Lilly and Soriano before Hart made a fully extended catch of Ryan Theriot’s drive to right-center.

The Brewers tied it in the third on a single by Braun, walk to Hart, a double steal and Mench’s sacrifice fly to deep center.

Lilly threw 107 pitches, giving up five hits and three runs in his five innings.