CHICAGO -- The Cubs haven't had much success against the Brewers this season. With a wild comeback win on Thursday, Chicago at least got the last laugh against their NL Central rival.
Jonathan Lucroy hit a grand slam and drove in seven runs for Milwaukee, but Alfonso Soriano's RBI single capped a three-run comeback in the ninth inning that lifted the Chicago Cubs over the Brewers 12-11.
The Cubs win capped a lopsided season series between the teams that saw Milwaukee take 13 of 17 games. Cubs manager Dale Sveum was a coach for the Brewers before taking the reins in Chicago.
"Anybody else need a nap?" Sveum asked after the 4-hour, 9-minute marathon.
In a seesaw game featuring a combined 15 extra-base hits, the Cubs led 3-0, trailed 9-3 and were still down 11-9 going into the ninth.
Starlin Castro hit an RBI single against Francisco Rodriguez (2-7), Anthony Rizzo tied it with his second double of the afternoon and Soriano won the game with his one-out drive off the centre-field wall.
"Those young guys don't give up," Soriano said. "When we're losing like we're losing, a lot of games, you have to come the ballpark with energy. We try our best. We try to play hard and win games."
Lucroy tied his career high for RBIs and Rickie Weeks had five hits. Ryan Braun and Cody Ransom also homered for Milwaukee, which had won eight straight against the Cubs.
"To put up runs like we did and then give it all away, it's kind of tough to be a part of," Lucroy said. "Fun game offensively, but defensively didn't cut it."
Ransom led off the seventh with a go-ahead solo shot to centre off Blake Parker after Chicago rallied to tie the game with a six-run sixth.
Lucroy's third-inning shot landed on Waveland Avenue, erasing the Cubs' early 3-0 lead. Lucroy also stroked a two-run single in the sixth and an RBI single in the eighth, matching the seven RBIs he had May 20 against Minnesota.
Braun's league-leading 36th homer was even more impressive, clearing the batter's eye beyond the ivy in centre field and nearly hitting the camera booth.
"Once we got the big lead and they came back we just didn't have the momentum," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Shaun Marcum was making his second start after missing two months because of elbow soreness. He allowed three runs, scattering five hits and four walks while striking out four.
Marcum had to leave the game after throwing 85 pitches because of right calf cramping.
"I wasn't very good from the get go, wasn't locating anything," Marcum said. "All in all, today wasn't a good day."
Carlos Marmol (2-2) picked up the win in relief.
Cubs rookie Brooks Raley gave up seven runs and 10 hits in four innings in his last outing of the season. Before the game, Sveum said that Raley would be shut down because of an innings limit.
Raley will finish the season 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA in his first five big-league starts.
"I knew it was my last start going into the game," Raley said. "Obviously I'd like it to have gone differently, but we won the game so that's exciting."
Brett Jackson, another rookie, reached base four times. He doubled twice in the sixth, including a slicing two-bagger up the left-field line that tied the score at 9-apiece.
"A lot of good work on offence," Jackson said. "A couple of huge innings. Very fun. Awesome, big hit by Sori. Great to come out with a win against these guys."
David DeJesus and Luis Valbuena had three hits each for Chicago, which avoided falling 32 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2000 season 65-97.
"Finally we won the last game at least and didn't get swept at home," Soriano said. "(The kids) had a very big at-bats today."
NOTES: Darwin Barney played his 115th consecutive errorless game at second base, extending the single-season NL record he set on Wednesday. Barney is eight games shy of Ryne Sandberg's Cubs record for errorless games including streaks over multiple seasons. . Sveum said LHP Chris Rusin will likely be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to assume Raley's spot in the Chicago rotation. Rusin held the Brewers to one run and one hit over five innings on Aug. 21, his only big-league appearance to date. . Sveum said that Luis Valbuena may see the bulk of the action at third base going forward after prospect Josh Vitters struggled to a 5 for 53 start after being recalled from the minors for the first time.