The Chicago Cubs came from behind with two unearned runs today, then Jody Davis' 13th home run of the season and four innings of strong relief pitching by Warren Brusstar assured a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Expos.
The Cubs moved within three games of the NL East-leading Expos, who lost their fourth in succession.
Ryne Sandberg's single in the fifth inning put Chicago ahead, 3-2, Davis' homer in the seventh off loser Charlie Lea (6-4) built the lead to 4-2. Sandberg doubled and came in on Ron Cey's single in the ninth.
Chuck Rainey (8-7) went the first five innings. Brusstar entered with a runner on and none out in the sixth and allowed one infield hit the rest of the way for his first save.
With the Cubs down, 2-1, in the fifth, Keith Moreland singled and Davis was safe as shortstop Chris Speier fumbled his grounder, Moreland taking third. Larry Bowa blooped a fly into short right-center that center fielder Andre Dawson's throw to second base turned into a force out, but Moreland scored. Rainey bunted and both runners were safe when Lea threw high trying for a play at second. One out later, Sandberg singled in Bowa.
Lea had retired the first nine Cubs before Mel Hall doubled in the fourth. Two walks filled the bases and Leon Durham hit a sacrifice fly.
Brusstar was so fouled up early this season that "I was afraid to go out to the mound." Now, Brusstar has it going so well that "I want the ball, I want to pitch. I can go long, I can go short, it doesn't matter."
It seemed everything Brusstar threw was hit to second baseman Sandberg, who had five assists and one putout behind him.
"That's my forte, ground balls," said Brusstar, who has allowed one earned run in his last 14 appearances over 22 innings.
What about early in the season?
"Billy (Connors, pitching coach) took me aside and straightened me out in two minutes. I had my hand too close to my body and they were killing my pitches. Now even when my pitches are high, there's movement on the ball and they are popping up or swinging and missing."