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Originally published Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

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Brewers beat Cubs 2-1 on 2-run homer by Kottaras

George Kottaras hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Yovani Gallardo outdueled Ryan Dempster as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Wednesday for their third straight win in the four-game series.

The Associated Press

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CHICAGO —

George Kottaras hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Yovani Gallardo outdueled Ryan Dempster as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Wednesday for their third straight win in the four-game series.

Backed by Starlin Castro's first-inning sacrifice fly that followed David DeJesus' double, Dempster (0-1) had a three-hit shutout before Mat Gamel doubled leading off the seventh. Kottaras, Milwaukee's backup catcher, followed with his second homer this season.

Gallardo (1-1) allowed five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked two, getting 11 ground-ball outs. Francisco Rodriguez worked around a pair of walks in the eighth, and John Axford pitched a one-hit ninth for his second save, dropping the last-place Cubs to a 1-5 start.

Dempster allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings with five strikeouts.

Milwaukee gave Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and regular catcher Jonathan Lucroy off from the starting lineup.

Making his first big league start, Brewers leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki reached on a single and a walk, seeing 29 pitches over four plate appearances. Aoki was a three-time batting champion and six-time Gold Glove winner during seven seasons with Yakult in Japan's Central League.

NOTES: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Braun and Lucroy both had rib tightness that they could have played through. ... Dempster struck out Kottaras in the fifth inning to become the 12th pitcher to strike out 1,000 for the Cubs. ... Chicago RHP Kerry Wood struck out the side in the eighth after two outing in which he combined to allow three earned run and three walks in one innings. ... Chicago's Matt Garza looks for his first win of the season in Thursday's series finale against Zack Greinke, who threw seven shutout innings vs. St. Louis in his season debut. Garza was 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA against Milwaukee last year.

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