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Aramis cranks a two-run homer in the third

The Brewers don't know if Aramis Ramirez will be available to play against the Cubs on Thursday.

The club doesn't know if he'll be able to play in the first game against the Padres starting Friday.

They do know one thing.

"I'm 100-percent sure I'm not going to go to the DL," Ramirez said.

Ramirez has been out since the middle of Saturday's game with a left quad strain and remains day to day. The Brewers will decide Thursday morning whether he plays the afternoon rubber game against his former team.

"He's feeling a lot better," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "From [Tuesday] to today, big improvement. Hopefully, we have that same improvement [on Thursday], and maybe he'll be ready to go. He did some exercises out earlier with Dan [Wright, the team's head athletic trainer], and felt good in almost all of them."

Cubs starter Matt Garza will be ready for Ramirez if he's in the lineup. The right-hander missed on one pitch in his last start, a 2-1 loss to the Giants. He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings, striking out six.

Milwaukee will counter with Randy Wolf, who was charged with six earned runs against the Pirates in his last start. Wolf's numbers only tell part of the story. Three of the runs scored when a bases-loaded, two-out line drive fooled Nyjer Morgan, clearing the center fielder's head for a double.

In the meantime, the Brewers are hopeful Ramirez returns. Milwaukee used a new lineup for the 20th consecutive game on Wednesday.

"We need him back," Roenicke said. "To get 'Ramie' back there would change our lineup a lot."

Cubs: Simplified approach paying off for Soriano
• Alfonso Soriano didn't hit a home run in his first 30 games of the season, but he has nine in his last 21 games. He has one home run in each of his last eight series.

"I'm happy with where I am, and I can see [results from] my work," Soriano said. "Sometimes, it's not frustration, but I try to do too much, and now I'm trying to just relax and take one game at a time, one pitch, one at-bat and try to help the team and make the team better."

Soriano has 141 home runs in his five-plus seasons with the Cubs and needs one home run to become the 86th player in Major League history to reach 350 career home runs.

"I feel like what I bring to the game, if we don't win, it's not enough," he said. "I have to do more to win that game."

• Garza is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA and one complete game in five career starts against Milwaukee. He is 1-0 against the Brewers this season.

• The Cubs were one of several teams to watch Cuban free agent outfielder Jorge Soler work out on Wednesday. Soler was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Saturday. All players who are declared free agents must still be legally cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control before they can sign a contract.

Brewers: Wolf in a rut
• Wolf is 0-3 with a 5.45 ERA over his last six starts and has not won since April 30 against San Diego. What's more, the club is 3-8 in his starts this season, and opponents are batting .313 against him.

• The Brewers have won 11 of their last 13 meetings against the Cubs at Miller Park.

Worth noting
• The Brewers are 13-16 at home this season after setting a franchise record for wins with a 57-24 mark last season.

• Lance Roenicke, a left fielder from UC-Santa Barbara and son of the Milwaukee skipper, was picked in the 25th round by the Brewers on the final day of the First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

• The Cubs selected third baseman Rustin Sveum, son of manager Dale Sveum, in the 39th round (1,184th) out of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., also on Wednesday.

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