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MIL@CHC: Lucroy doubles to right to plate Weeks

CHICAGO -- The Brewers ran into more rain on Wednesday, not to mention the Cubs' Edwin Jackson.

Unfazed by the 66-minute rain delay that interrupted his sixth inning, Jackson scattered eight hits in eight innings and allowed only one run in a 6-1 Cubs win at Wrigley Field that spoiled the Brewers' bid for a four-game sweep.

Brewers starter Wily Peralta was hit hard before the delay -- Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro smacked home runs -- and reliever Alfredo Figaro was hit hard after. Milwaukee was forced to settle for a soggy 4-3 road trip and a 14-14 July.

"Hey, it's .500, and it's better than being below .500, I guess," said Jonathan Lucroy, who left his catcher's glove on the bench and volunteered for his first career start at first base. "We're taking positives from everything."

Whether he likes it or not, Lucroy has emerged as the club's chief cheerleader in a month that included Corey Hart's season-ending knee surgery July 3, Aramis Ramirez's return to the disabled list July 8 and Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension July 22.

He supplied the Brewers' only offense with a pair of doubles, one in the eighth inning that scored a two-out run because Jackson had been too slow covering first base earlier in the inning.

It may have been Jackson's only mistake while beating the Brewers and Mother Nature. The rains came right in the middle of a Carlos Gomez at-bat in the sixth inning, but when the teams took the field more than an hour later, Jackson returned to the mound.

"He's got good stuff, and when his command is on, he's going to throw a good game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Good command today."

The Cubs were going to let the right-hander go back out if he was throwing within one hour. Jackson was back on the mound in 55 minutes from when the game was stopped. In the meantime, he listened to music and rode a stationary bike.

"It doesn't really affect you, you have to stay warm, stay loose," Jackson said. "I'm the rain man. I'm the designated rain man. It seems like mostly every start we've had that's been rained out has been on my day. I don't know, a black cloud trying to follow me."

Were the Brewers surprised to see Jackson return to the mound after the delay?

"That guy is known for eating up innings, and I wasn't surprised at all," Lucroy said. "He throws a lot of pitches, stays in there, is a grinder. So I wasn't surprised at all."

"I think that's an individual thing," Roenicke said. "With Wily, when you throw that many pitches, I don't want to bring him back out there. [Jackson] is a strong guy. He's a pretty special athlete. So some guys, it's easy to do. I just didn't want to take the chance with Wily."

Peralta resembled the puzzling pitcher he was earlier this season instead of the dominant one he was in his first four starts of July. He surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on five hits in five innings, including a long, two-run home run to Rizzo with two outs in the third inning and an even longer solo shot to Castro in the fourth.

The two homers -- both on changeups, Peralta's third-best pitch -- doubled his output from his first five starts in July. But the consensus was that Peralta pitched better Wednesday than his outing at Coors Field five days earlier, when Peralta allowed eight Rockies runs -- five earned -- and did not make it through the fourth inning.

"There were just a lot of ground balls through today and a couple of mistakes, hanging some changeups," Peralta said. "It was better."

After the delay, Jackson resumed, but Peralta did not, replaced instead by Figaro for the right-hander's first appearance in six days. He surrendered two runs on David DeJesus' sharp sixth-inning single before recording his second out.

"He's a stuff guy that has to have command of it," Roenicke said. "When he puts the ball down the middle of the plate, I don't care if you throw 100, you're going to get hit. And that's what he did the first couple of guys."

Lucroy had a busy day, beginning in pregame warm-ups when he worked through a crash course at first base before becoming the 12th different player to start a game there for the Brewers since Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers for 2012.

In the top of the fourth inning, Lucroy was out on a very close play at the plate trying to score from second on a Caleb Gindl single that bounced off Cubs left fielder Julio Borbon's glove. Roenicke argued to no avail.

In the bottom of the inning, after the Cubs had scored two more runs for a 4-0 lead, Lucroy was charged with his first error as a first baseman when he could not cleanly field a Borbon bouncer. Lucroy squatted like a catcher to block the ball and underhanded it to a covering Peralta, but too late.

Besides that play, it was an uneventful night in the field. Lucroy may play more first base in the coming weeks when Martin Maldonado is in the lineup at catcher.

"'Luc' looked good," Roenicke said. "The one play he got an in-between hop, and I told him, 'If there's a hop you don't like, just get down and block it.' Usually, you have time, but Borbon is running down the line and we weren't able to make the play there. But I liked how [Lucroy] played it."

"It might not have looked pretty, but nothing got by me," Lucroy said. "I wish we could have won the game, though." Comments