Cubs can’t muster offense in 4-1 loss to Brewers
CHICAGO (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers will be using rookie starting pitchers the rest of the season. On Wednesday night, one of the youngsters delivered.
Zach Davies allowed two hits over six innings and Martin Maldonado drove in two runs to lead Milwaukee to a 4-1 victory over Chicago, snapping the Brewers’ nine-game losing streak to the Cubs.
Davies (2-2) allowed two singles in the second inning, walked one and struck out four.
With right-hander Wily Peralta (left oblique) getting shut down for the year, Milwaukee will use rookie starting pitchers to finish the season. Davies did his part, blanking the Cubs.
“You’ve got to put them out there and let them experience it,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s where we’re at with our roster.”
Davies was making just his fifth career start and backed up his strong outing on Sept. 18, against Cincinnati when he allowed three runs in six innings, holding Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hitless.
“It was good. I was happy with it,” Davies said. “I worked on some things between starts and it translated and kept us in the ballgame and got a nice win to finish off the series.”
Jorge Soler homered for the Cubs, who lost for the second time in nine games and finished with three hits total.
“He did his job, he hit his spots and he kept us off-balance,” Fowler said.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth and picked up his 35th save in 37 opportunities, keeping Chicago’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth at three.
“Once you get the first two, you want the third, but we didn’t,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.
Luis Sardinas gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single just out of the reach of a diving Bryant at third base.
The Brewers took a 3-0 lead in the seventh when Khris Davis followed Adam Lind’s double with an RBI single. Two walks by reliever Justin Grimm loaded the bases and Maldonado hit a sacrifice fly.
Maldonado had an RBI single in the ninth.
Soler homered in the seventh off reliever Will Smith, his 10th of the season.
The Brewers couldn’t solve Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (7-7), who retired the first 14 hitters. Jean Segura finally reached in the fifth when he legged out an infield single and he scored on Sardinas’ hit.
Hendricks went six-plus innings, striking out eight and allowing three runs and four hits. But that wasn’t enough to beat Davies, one of the Brewers’ rookie starters.
“It was a great performance. I think a real confidence builder for him,” Counsell said. “They need to prove to themselves that they can have success up here and I think a night like tonight when he does what he’s good at, it works.”
A ROLE MODEL
Like Davies, Hendricks is a RHP who doesn’t have overpowering stuff. Counsell said Hendricks is a pitcher Davies should watch.
“Two very similar guys, I thought, with what they’re trying to do,” Counsell said. “They both are very good with the sinker down and away.”
Brewers: Counsell said OF Ryan Braun’s back “didn’t progress like we wanted to” when he took batting practice Tuesday and that Milwaukee is “kind of in a holding pattern” with the injury. ... C Jonathan Lucroy (concussion) worked out at first base before the game.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (10-11, 3.46 ERA) will be looking for his third win in September and his second against the Pirates after limiting Pittsburgh to one hit over five innings on Sept. 15.
Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann (9-6, 3.31 ERA) will face the Cardinals looking for his first win since Sept. 3. Jungmann has taken no-decisions in his last two outings during which he has given up nine earned runs.