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Preview: Cubs at Brewers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

As St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati continue to stage a stirring National League Central pennant race, the division's other teams - Milwaukee and Chicago - will settle their own score. The Brewers host the Cubs for four games beginning Monday and have a 2 1/2-game lead over last-place Chicago. Milwaukee has won 10 of the 15 meetings in 2013 - four of six at home - and will try to avoid finishing last for the first time since a string of three straight finishes in the cellar ended in 2004.

Sean Halton's home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday gave the Brewers a 6-5 victory over the visiting Reds, their third triumph in four games. The Cubs lost for the fourth time in five contests Sunday, 3-2 to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee's Wily Peralta is 2-6 since the All-Star break while suffering from a lack of run support and will oppose Edwin Jackson, who snapped a six-game winless streak with a strong outing against Cincinnati in his last turn.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Edwin Jackson (8-15, 4.76 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Wily Peralta (9-15, 4.49)

Jackson allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings of Chicago's 9-1 victory at Cincinnati on Tuesday after going 0-4 with a 5.88 ERA in his previous six outings. The 30-year-old improved to 4-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 11 starts against Milwaukee when he allowed one run and eight hits in eight frames of a 6-1 victory July 31. Jackson's statistics on the road - 4-8 with a 4.96 ERA - mirror his overall numbers.

Milwaukee has scored three runs or fewer in nine of Peralta's 10 outings since the All-Star break. "It's sometimes hard, because you have to be pretty much, like, perfect," said Peralta, who has recorded six quality starts during that span. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in four outings against Chicago - all in 2013 - with Anthony Rizzo recording two homers and five RBIs in 10 at-bats against him.

WALK-OFFS

1. Milwaukee improved to 8-70 when trailing after seven innings on Sunday, when it faced a 5-2 deficit against Cincinnati.

2. Cubs OF Junior Lake leads all major-league rookies with 63 hits since the All-Star Game. He made his major-league debut in the first game after the break.

3. Brewers SS Jean Segura leads the NL with 43 stolen bases and is trying to become the second Brewer to top his league in steals. Scott Podsednik recorded a major-league best 70 in 2004.

PREDICTION: Cubs 3, Brewers 2

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130916/preview-cubs-at-brewers