Lee’s 12th-inning single gives Chicago Cubs win

CHICAGO (AP) âÄî Geovany Soto and the Chicago Cubs can almost taste the champagne after one of their sweetest and most improbable victories of the season. Soto hit a tying three-run homer with two out in the ninth inning, Derrek Lee singled in the winning run in the 12th and Chicago beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 Thursday to move closer to the NL Central title. The CubsâÄô magic number for winning their second straight division championship was reduced to two as they sent the Brewers to a crushing defeat. âÄúWow,âÄù Soto said. âÄúThis yearâÄôs been really, really crazy. IâÄôm just here for one reason. I want to win and keep going.âÄù Chicago was trailing 6-2 with two out and nobody on in the ninth, with just three hits to that point, before scoring four runs off closer Salomon Torres. Now, the Cubs can clinch Friday if they beat the Cardinals at home and the struggling Brewers lose in Cincinnati. âÄúThe beauty of baseball is you never know what is going to happen until that final out,âÄù Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. âÄúItâÄôs uplifting to us and got to be deflating to the other team âĦ LetâÄôs win tomorrow if we can and whatever happens on the road (to the Brewers) happens.âÄù Milwaukee, which began the day just a half-game back of the NL wild card-leading New York Mets, was on the verge of winning two of three at Wrigley Field and restoring some momentum under interim manager Dale Sveum. Instead, the Brewers have dropped 13 of 17 during a skid that cost manager Ned Yost his job on Monday. Milwaukee has nine games left but this will be a tough defeat to shake off. âÄúA real nice day kind of went haywire right away,âÄù Sveum said. âÄúYouâÄôre running out of games. It gets to the point, whatever the Mets do, you start thinking you have to win seven out of nine or eight out of nine. ThatâÄôs what itâÄôs getting to.âÄù