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Brewers hold off the Cubs

Chicago Cubs center fielder Brett Jackson (7) reacts after striking out during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.

By Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel –

CHICAGO — Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke makes no bones about wanting to win as many games as possible over the final weeks of the season, playoff race or not. But Roenicke and his bosses also want to take a glimpse into the future, and rookies Mike Fiers and Jean Segura had them smiling Wednesday night.

Fiers continued his strong showing since coming up at the end of May, and Segura was a difference-maker at the plate and in the field as the Brewers held off the Chicago Cubs, 3-1, at Wrigley Field.

It was the eighth consecutive victory over the Cubs for the Brewers, who have dominated the season series, 13-3, with one game remaining Thursday afternoon.

Fiers boosted his record to 8-6 with a 2.85 earned run average by limiting the Cubs to four hits and one run over 71/3 innings.

“If every pitch is working, I feel like I’m going to have a good day,” said Fiers, who retired 14 in a row over one stretch and allowed just one hit after the second inning. “That was the case tonight. I was throwing everything for strikes and keeping the ball down for the most part.”

Fiers, who struck out 10 in 62/3 innings in his last start in Pittsburgh, saw how aggressive the Cubs’ hitters were and pitched to contact. He whiffed only six hitters as the Brewers’ string of 10-plus strikeouts ended at eight games, but it also kept down Fiers’ pitch count to 87 overall.

“Getting early outs helped me a lot so I could go deeper into the game,” he said. “These are the games I’m trying to do — make them swing the bat early and get early outs.”

Fiers was helped by his defense, and in particular, Segura’s play at short. He robbed Alfonso Soriano of an RBI single in the first inning and somehow managed to keep his foot on the bag in the eighth on a wide throw from first baseman Corey Hart to get a key force before Fiers departed in favor of Manny Parra.

“He’s awesome. I’m glad he’s up here,” Fiers said of Segura. “He’s playing well for us; he’s making great plays. Corey didn’t give him a great throw from first, but he was able to stay on the bag. That was a big out.”

Segura also had the key at-bat in the game in the seventh inning to break up a pitcher’s duel between Fiers and Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija. With the score tied, 1-1, Nyjer Morgan bunted for a one-out hit and continued to second when Samardzija threw wide of first.

After a wild pitch allowed Morgan to move to third, the Cubs brought in their infield, but Segura laced a 3-1 pitch into center for a single that snapped the tie. Segura then took advantage of some sloppy defense to come all the way around on a steal of second base. Segura got up and headed for third when catcher Welington Castillo’s throw got away from second baseman Darwin Barney, then got up again and scored when Luis Valbuena whiffed on the throw to third.

“I was a little tired, but I just kept running,” said Segura, who has struggled at the plate since making the jump from Class AA Huntsville.

“It was one of my best games but not because I bring in the winning run. It’s because I had a good at-bat and play good defense. I was able to help my team win the game so I feel pretty good. When your offense is not good, you have to focus and play good defense. If you save runs, good things can happen.”

The Brewers knew they were asking a lot of Segura, one of three prospects acquired in the Zack Greinke trade with the Los Angeles Angels, to play regularly in the big leagues at this early stage. And, while he has been too eager in general at the plate, he gets after it on the field.

“He’s a good player,” said Roenicke. “He’s going to keep getting better. It’ll be fun to see him in a year or two. He’s doing a good job for us but there’s so much improvement we’re going to see. Guys like that are fun to watch. Everything is going to get better.”

Parra helped Fiers in the eighth by getting David DeJesus to ground into an inning-ending double play. That left it to restored closer John Axford, who worked around a leadoff walk and two-out error by Hart to record his second save in two nights.

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