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MIL@ARI: Greinke fans seven over seven strong frames

Even though the Cubs are 13 games out of first place in the National League Central, manager Mike Quade continues to be optimistic, believing his club can make up ground during their current 10-game road trip against the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates.

Yet, before Chicago heads to St. Louis and Pittsburgh, it'll take on Milwaukee in the second game of a three game set on Wednesday at Miller Park after a 3-2 loss Tuesday.

"They're teams we've competed well against in the past. I know we're on the road, but I'd like to think we're playing better. We had a bunch of quality starts on the homestand, and we need more of those," Quade said. "If we get that, we have a good chance to compete with these guys. It's a funny game. We might come out of this road trip in real good shape, as far as how we play here. And if we do, there's still a lot of baseball left."

"We're 13 games out now, and it makes it a lot more difficult," said Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd. "We keep going the wrong way. Nine games left on this road trip. We have to make this trip special, and put it together and run a streak. We got three wins in a row, we're going to need more than three. We're going to need four and five, and sweeps against teams, too."

Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano is a great candidate to get that quality start for Quade and the Cubs, having tossed 10 quality starts in 20 outings.

He got one on Friday against the Astros, throwing six innings and giving up two runs on nine hits for the win, his first since returning from the disabled list.

Zambrano (7-5, 4.70 ERA) will also ride a seven-game winning streak at Miller Park into Wednesday's game, a streak that dates all the way back to April 7, 2007.

Meanwhile, on the mound for the Brewers will be Zach Greinke, who has tossed three straight quality starts. Throwing seven innings of two-run ball on Thursday, Greinke still took the loss and fell to 7-4 on the season, with a 4.84 ERA.

Milwaukee has generated 14 quality starts in its last 17 games. Yet, in that stretch, the starters only have a 6-6 record, thanks to a lack of run support.

"I think we should be way more consistent offensively," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think we have a great offensive team, and I think throughout the lineup, we haven't jelled. We'll have a really nice game, and then we'll come back and get shut out or only [score] one run. I think we should be more consistent that way.

"Sometimes you look up there, and you're in the sixth inning and the pitcher has 65 pitches. Then, the next game, he'll be at five innings and 90 pitches. I think the tougher at-bats are going to lead us to being more consistent offensively."

Cubs: Wood dealing with illness
• Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood did not make the trip to Miller Park, and instead stayed in Chicago to deal with flu-like symptoms, Quade said on Tuesday. Jeff Samardzija will likely fill Wood's role as the right-handed setup pitcher in the series.

Meanwhile, catcher Koyie Hill, who had similar symptoms on Sunday, was back and healthy.

• Quade and several of the players took part in the 15th annual Ron Santo golf tournament on Monday to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Among the players who took part in the golf outing were pitchers Ryan Dempster, Wood, Samardzija, John Grabow, John Russell, Randy Wells and Sean Marshall, and second baseman Darwin Barney.

Brewers: Melvin still tight-lipped
• Brewers general manager Doug Melvin continued to be guarded in conversations about Milwaukee's pursuit of Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran.

"I don't want to get into anything about their players," said Melvin.

"If a deal is for the right player, I'm always open to making a deal," Melvin said, speaking in general about trading for marquee players and not specifically about Beltran. "We've got some [Minor League] players we won't give up in deals, though. Our system is a little deeper than most people say."

Worth Noting
• The Brewers are 34-14 at home this season, including 11-4-0 in series play.

• Cubs lefty James Russell has tossed 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the fifth longest streak by a Cubs lefty reliever since 2000.

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