Incremental progress for the Cubs at this stage of an otherwise lost season is measured by tangible improvement from the young players and stability from the veterans.

Climbing out of the National League Central basement along the way wouldn't be a bad thing either.

The Cubs received a mixed bag of results Friday beating the Brewers 8-5 at Wrigley Field as rookie outfielder Junior Lake clubbed his first career grand slam. Starting pitcher Chris Rusin lasted just 32/3 innings yet delivered a key two-run single that turned out to be significant.

"I was wild today; I had a tough time finding a rhythm" said Rusin who was charged with two runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout. "But the bullpen came in and closed the door."

The Cubs and Brewers now are tied for the last slot in the division at 60-80.

"That's what it is … finishing fourth fifth" manager Dale Sveum said. "If you're not finishing first or going to the playoffs it's not a good season no matter how you look at it. We're trying to do some things and win that game that day."

The Cubs received strong middle relief from winning pitcher Carlos Villanueva (5-8) who struck out five in 21/3 scoreless innings. Justin Grimm also pitched a scoreless inning while Kevin Gregg earned his 30th save in the ninth.

"It's always one of the benchmarks for a closer (30 saves)" Gregg said. "For the way my season started I'm pretty excited."

The Cubs took a 5-0 lead in the first inning with Lake's grand slam being the big blow. Three straight singles from Darwin Barney Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz produced the first run of the game.