By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 16, 2008 at 6:25 PM

CHICAGO -- Hello from Wrigley Field.

My colleague CJ Knee of ESPN 540 and I just completed the treacherous hike up to the press box here and were greeted with the first lineup of the Dale Sveum era. It's slightly different, with Mike Cameron batting leadoff and Corey Hart dropping down to the No. 6 spot.

Cameron, cf
Durham, 2b
Braun, lf
Fielder, 1b
Hardy, ss
Hart, rf
Counsell, 3b
Kendall, c
Sabathia, p

Riske out?: ESPN Radio is reporting that reliever David Riske has left the team to undergo shoulder surgery. There has been no formal announcement from the team, but I'll double-check with Brewers media relations as soon as he gets back to the press box.

5:17 p.m.: The Brewers are taking batting practice after a number of players, along with new manager Dale Sveum and bench coach Robin Yount took part in a lengthy interview session with a larger-than-usual throng of reporters from Milwaukee, Chicago and the national press.It'll take a little bit to transcribe all the notes, but here are a couple of quick highlights:

• Sveum has juggled the lineup slightly, moving Cameron into the leadoff role and putting Ray Durham inthe No. 2 hole. He's hoping that the addition of a left-handed bat (Durham is a switch hitter) and Cameron's speed up top well help manufacture runs.

• Dave Bush will get the start Thursday afternoon in the series finale. He'll be pitching on three days' rest after starting the first game of a Sunday doubleheader in Philadelphia. Adding to the surprise, Seth McClung will start Friday night in Cincinnati. Manny Parra, originally scheduled to start Thursday will be moved to the bullpen.

• Gord Ash and Doug Melvin talked about Riske, who will undergo surgery for a bone spur in his right elbow. Ash doesn't forsee Riske returning this season "unless he's an incredibly fast healer."

• Speaking of pitchers recovering, Yovani Gallardo threw a simulated game today at the Brewers' spring training complex in Maryvale. He threw about 50 pitches and also got some work in covering bases and working in the field. Ash will speak to staff members that observed the session later and make a determination on the next step, or if Gallardo will be able to return to Milwaukee. Melvin hinted that there is a chance that Gallardo, sidelined since May with a torn ACL, could return to the team this weekend in Cincinnati where he could pitch out of the bullpen, but Ash said it was too early to make a determination.

5:55 p.m. : Cubs fans and baseball purists like to boast about the nostalgic charm of Wrigley Field, but it's a good bet that no sportswriter alive will have anything positive to say about the relic as a workspace. The cramped press box makes it impossible to get any work done. Those watching this game on FSN Wisconsin are invited to drop me an e-Mail detailing any of he action in the right-field area ... my view is blocked by a steal beam.

Nonetheless, one bonus the old yard does have on Milwaukee's Miller Park is the pregame media meal. Not that anybody outside of the Fourth Estate probably cares, but it is nice to get some bang for your dining buck ... as well as fresh fruit and cold milk.

Anyway, with that out of the way, we're a little less than an hour from Dempster's first pitch. The last 24-plus hours have been a whirlwind for the Brewers, but it seems to be business as usual down on the field.

Before the game, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy all talked to the media and expressed pretty much the same sentiment: what's done is done and ultimately, the burden is on their shoulders to get to the playoffs.

Braun said that Sveum's meeting with the team consisted of a simple message: don't let the last two weeks erase all the good the team has accomplished in the first 150 games, and not to let those same two weeks ruin the final 12 games of the year.

He called the news of Yost's firing surprising and shocking; sentiments that were echoed by a lot of his teammates.

Yount was the last of the Brewers to speak to the media and it was an experience, to say the least. Long known for his quiet and soft-spoken demeanor, Yost was jovial with the media. Among some of his nuggets:

• He didn't need much time to respond to Sveum's coaching offer. "I had to call my wife," Yount said. After accepting the offer, he phoned Yost to inform him of his decision and Yount said there were no hard feelings on Yost's part.

• Yount was eager to return to Milwaukee to help the franchise get back to the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. Yost had asked him to return for a second season as bench coach in 2007, but Yount wasn't comfortable with the necessary time commitment.

"The everyday, eight-month commitment was a little more than I wanted at that time," Yount said. "That's not what this is, so I'm helping out for the remainder of the season. It's a lot easier doing just six weeks instead of an entire season."

• He downplayed and dismissed any further comparisons to the 1982 team, which also fired a manager and struggled down the stretch. Yount said the two circumstances are completely different in that the Brewers fired manager Buck Rodgers in June and didn't see their lead in the AL East disappear until the final weekend of the season.

• He's been following the team regularly this season both on TV and on satellite radio, so he's familiar with the team's progress despite having spent little time with the playoffs this season. 

OK, let's get this game underway...

Brewers first: Well, so much for the new leadoff hitter. Cameron took a swing at Dempster's first offering and grounded out to shortstop. One pitch, one out. Durham struck out swinging. Braun, hitting just .192 this month, hit a couple of big foul balls into the right-field corner before drawing a walk. Prince Fielder doubled to center, advancing Braun to third. Hardy worked the count full before Dempster got him with a fastball for strike three. 0 runs, 1 hits, 2 LOB. Brewers 0, Cubs 0.

Cubs first: Alfonso Soriano drives Sabathia's 2-2 offering off the wall in left-field for a leadoff double and moved to third on Ryan Theriot's groundout to second. Derrick Lee made it 1-0 Chicago with a long fly ball to center that Cameron couldn't get a glove on. Aramis Ramirez grounds out to second, moving Lee to third. Geovany Soto grounds out to third. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cubs 1, Brewers 0.


Useless stat of the game No. 1: Sabathia has allowed 12 first-inning runs in 38 starts this season.


Brewers second: Dempster notches his third strikeout of the night, getting Hart on three straight pitches. Criag Counsell grounded out weakly to first to end a 10-pitch at-bat. Jason Kendall had some words for home plate umpire CB Bucknor (perhaps he, like Sabathia, has decided to go sans-initials this season) after striking out to end the inning. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 1, Brewers 0. 

* * *

Wild Card update: The Phillies lead Atlanta, 4-3, in the fifth inning at Turner Field. A Philadelphia win, coupled with a Brewers loss, puts Milwaukee a game back in the Wild Card race.

* * *

Cubs second: Sabathia strikes out Mark DeRosa. Reed Johnson singles to right-center. Hart grabs Ronny Cedeno's fly ball to center. Johnson moves to third on Dempster's single, bringing a visit to the mound by pitching coach Mike Maddux and the infielders. Soriano ends the inning with no damage, grounding into a force out at second base. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Cubs 1, Brewers 0.

Brewers third: Sabathia strikes out. So did Cameron. So did Durham. Dempster has seven strikeouts through three innings. So much for jump-starting the offense . 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 1, Brewers 0.

* * *

Trivia time: The Brewers joined the National League in 1998. What's their all-time record in the NL? Drop an e-Mail or use the Talkback feature below.

*  *  * Cubs third: Theriot leads off with a single and moves to third on Lee's base hit. Ramirez drives them in with a double to left. Maddux makes another trip out to the mound ... Sabathia is laboring tonight despite having thrown just 42 pitches. Soto grounded out, unassisted, to Fielder, allowing Ramirez to advance to third base. Sabathia gets the second out when first base ump Joe West says DeRosa went around on a check swing for strike three. Johnson strikes out to end the inning. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 0.

* * *

Random stat of the game No. 2: Reed Johnson is batting .360 (9 for 25) against Sabathia in his career with a pair of doubles.

* * *

Brewers fourth: Braun grounds out to shortstop. Fielder sends one into the right field corner that DeRosa just barely grabs. Hardy looks at strike three. That's eight for Dempster. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 0.

Cubs fourth: Cedeno grounds out shortstop. Dempster skies one to Braun in left. Soriano ends the inning with a popout to Durham. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 0.

* * *

Uh-oh: The Brewers look shell-shocked right now. The sense of urgency players talked about before the game seems to have been left in the cramped visitors' clubhouse here at Wrigley.

 Wild Card update: The Braves have rallied to take a 6-4 lead over Philadelphia. Houston is down, 5-1, in the ninth inning at Florida.

* * * Brewers fifth: Hart leads off with a strikeout -- Dempster's ninth. Counsell comes up the the Brewers' second it of the day, a hot shot into center. Kendall follows with a single just past the glove of Cubs third-baseman Ramierz. Hey, Sabathia can hit, right? He showed bunt on the first offering and Counsell hauled back to second base. Sabathia gets the bunt down on the second pitch, and reaches when Dempster bobbles it. It was close, but the big fella beat the throw. Barely. It doesn't matter, anyway; Cameron hits into a 5-3 double play. So much for that. 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 3 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 0.

Cubs fifth: Theriot flies ou to right. Lee strikes out. Ramirez singles to shallow left. Soto grounds into a force out at second base. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 0.

* * *
Trivia answer: Dan in Sugar Creek (I looked it up and yes, it actually exists) wrote in with the correct answer: the Brewers have won 802 games since joining the NL. They're 802-966 during that time. As a prize, he gets the privilege of knowing he took time out of his life to look the answer up. Kudos! How about another one ... What's the Brewers' single-game record for strikeouts?

Quick thoughts: As bad as the Brewers have been at the plate tonight, Dempster has thrown 92 pitches through five innings. ... Hart and Hardy came into the game a combined 0-22 against Dempster and are 0-4 with four strikeouts so far tonight.

Sedar bounced: First-base coach Ed Sedar is taking an early shower. He got run after arguing Cameron's double play in the fifth inning. That prompted Sveum's inagural run-in with an umpire ... congrats to the new skipper on the experience. Batting coach Jim Skaalen is filling in for Sedar -- Comcast SportsNet identified Skaalen as the "interim" first base coach.

* * *

Brewers sixth: Durham does the unthinkable: he leads off the inning with a double. Braun pops out to second and Fielder gets the offense going with a massive shot onto Sheffield Ave. That was a bomb. Fielder looked to be jawing at some Cubs fans on his way to first and again after crossing home plate. Hardy follows with a single, snapping an 0-15 stretch against Dempster. Lou Pinella waddled out to talk to the right-hander, who'll face at least one more hitter. Hart follows with a drive to center, but Johnson makes a great diving catch for the second out. Kendall keeps the inning going with a single. Counsell pops out to Lee in foul territory to end the inning. 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 2.

Cubs sixth: DeRosa and Johnson opened the inning with groundouts to third and short, respectively. Cedeno grounded to Hardy to end it. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 2.

* * *

Dempster done: Pinella sent Dempster out to start the seventh, but just before Sabathia -- surpsisingly -- headed to the batter's box, the Cubs' skipper called Bob Howry from the bullpen. Seeing Sabathia with a bat is odd; Brad Nelson was in the on-deck circle to bat for Sabathia last inning. Anyway, here's Dempster's line:  6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, HR.

Wild Card update: Does anybody want to win the National League Wild Card? Washington beat the New York Mets, 1-0 while Florida handed the Astros their third straight loss, winning 5-1 in Miami. In Atlanta, the Phillies rallied to retake the lead,  8-7 over the Braves in the eighth. We'd never suggest leaving, but perhaps opening up's Gamecast would provide ancillary entertainment.

* * * 

Brewers seventh: Sabathia darn near hit one out. It carried and carried and Soriano nearly ended up in the ivy to make the catch. Cameron -- a .143 hitter against Howry -- draws a walk. Pinella and Howry waste a couple minutes of everybody's time before Neal Cotts trots in from the bullpen. Durham lines a fly ball to left that Soriano chases down and Cameron is nearly doubled up at first. Oh goody, another pitching change ... and it's bad news for the Brewers. Carlos Marmol is in for Chicago. There's some other changes, as DeRosa moves from right to second and Kosuke Fukodome is into the game playing right and batting ninth. Braun flies out to right to end the frame. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cubs 3, Brewers 2.

Cubs seventh:  Fukodome strikes out swinging. Soriano makes it 4-2 with a homer to left. Theriot grounds out to second and Lee ends the inning with a grounder to short. 1 run, 1 hit 0 errors, 9 LOB. Cubs 4, Brewers 2.

Brewers eighth: Fielder cuts the Cubs' lead to one with his second homer of the game. Hardy is called out on strikes. Hart flies out to right. Counsell goes down swinging. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 0 LOB. Cubs 4, Brewers 3.

* * * 

Sabathia done: The lefty lasted seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and a home run. He threw 99 pitches, 70 of them for strikes.

An omen? Cubs closer Kerry Wood is warming up in the Chicago bullpen, located along the left field line. Three of his warm-up pitches have gotten past the  bullpen catcher and bounced down towards home plate. Is it a sign of luck for Milwaukee?

Wild Card update: Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but fell to the Phillies, 8-7. That moves Philadelphia a half-game ahead of the Mets in the NL East. The Mets would be a half-game ahead on Milwaukee in the Wild Card race. Confused? So were we. 

* * * 

Cubs eighth: Ramirez doubles off Carlos Villanueva -- the 300th of his career, and a career-high 41st this season. Soto hits a chopper to Hardy, who considers trying to get Ramirez at third, but throws to first for the easy out. Villanueva plunks DeRosa to put runners at first and third with one out. Sveum brought in Brian Shouse to face pinch-hitter Henry Blanco, who drove in a run with a single up the middle. The Brewers escape further damage when Fukodome grounded out to Hardy. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Cubs 5, Brewers 3. 

Brewers ninth:  Kendall leads off with a fly ball to Fukodome. Pinch-hitter Mike Lamb singles, then gives way to pinch-runner Alcides Escobar. Cameron looks at strike three. Durham makes it 5-4 with a well-struck double to center, bringing a visit from Pinella. On an 0-2 pitch from Wood, Braun hits what looks like a weak grounder to short and reaches safely when Theriot doesn't make a throw. Woods comes after Fielder with his heat, and after a couple of close foul-tips, Fielder looks at an off-speed pitch for strike three. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB

Final score: Cubs 5, Brewers 4.

 * * * 

OK, time to fight the crowds down the ramps to the Brewers' locker room. Thanks for following along and remember to check back tomorrow morning for a full recap.