Brewers rout Cubs 11-1, eye series sweep
MILWAUKEE — The offense collected 10 hits, drew nine walks and took advantage of three errors.
Add it all up and the Milwaukee Brewers kept up their winning ways with an 11-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night at Miller Park.
After winning their third game in a row and six of seven, the Brewers (79-61) moved three games behind the Cubs in the NL Central race and remained 1½ games ahead of the Cardinals for the top wild card spot. A victory Wednesday would give Milwaukee a sweep of the three-game series.
“It would be huge,” said Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who doubled, scored twice and set a career high with four walks. “Gonna have to bring our ‘A’ game tomorrow.”
The Brewers won with another stellar Wade Miley start and a lot of small ball — not to mention a bunch of help from the Cubs.
Miley allowed one run in six innings while striking out five, lowering his ERA to 2.12.
“Every time we’ve given him the ball, Wade’s done a heck of a job,” Counsell said.
“I just feel now I can throw strikes,” said Miley, who missed 57 games this season with a right oblique injury. “I guess I trust my pitches and trust my catcher, and the defense is playing great. “I just threw 78 cutters and three fastballs, so it’s a 180 (from last season).”
Milwaukee has won 11 of its last 15 games, and Miley said a division title is on the Brewers’ minds.
“Why wouldn’t we be?” he explained. “We’ve still got 25 games to go, 23 games to go. Why not? I don’t think you quit thinking about it until you can’t think about it no more.”
Milwaukee’s first seven runs scored via three sacrifice flies, a hit batsman, a wild pitch, a passed ball and one of the Cubs’ three errors before Christian Yelich delivered the game’s first RBI hit, a two-run double in the seventh inning that opened the lead to 9-1.
It marked the fourth time this season the Cubs committed three errors in a game. Relievers Dillon Maples, Brian Duensing and James Norwood walked six in 2⅔ innings. Maples hit a batter and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.
“There were mistakes on their part that we took advantage of,” Brewers manager Craig Counsel said.
Mike Montgomery (4-5) struggled with his control in just four innings, and the Brewers had little trouble with a succession of Cubs relievers.
Cain set the tone for Milwaukee’s offense, reaching base five times. Yelich got on base for the 21st straight game — the longest active streak in the NL.
Chicago scored in the second inning on a double by David Bote and a run-scoring grounder by Willson Contreras, who reached on a two-base error by Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia.
Milwaukee tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Montgomery, who escaped further damage by inducing a groundout from Miley. Milwaukee, though, poured it on from there.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo left the game in the third inning with a bruised right foot.
The injury occurred when Rizzo fouled a ball off his foot. He stayed in the game until being replaced on a double-switch in the sixth. The Cubs said X-rays were negative.
Gio to get start
Newly acquired left-hander Gio Gonzalez is slotted to start for the Brewers — his first since being acquired in a trade last Friday — on Saturday against the Giants at Miller Park.
Chase Anderson, Gonzalez and Zach Davies are currently lined up to start that series. Struggling Junior Guerra was removed from the rotation and sent to the bullpen.
Gonzalez hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Asked about the long layoff between his final start for the Nationals and his first one for the Brewers, Gonzalez said: “I don’t want to use any excuse. The way I see it is give me the ball, I’m going to try to give you 100 percent of my talent.”
New Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels isn’t sure the Chicago-Milwaukee rivalry is a full-blown feud on the level of Cubs-Cardinals or Yankees-Red Sox. He said as much after the Brewers’ 4-3 comeback victory on Monday.
Hamels, the Cubs starter that day, said, “When you have the majority of Cubs fans in the stands, I don’t know if that’s a rivalry.”
But the fans flocking to Miller Park this week - for both teams - may think differently.
“I look at it like we are spending way too much time trying to classify rivalries,” Counsell said. “Enjoy the baseball games, man.”
The Cubs hold an 81-77 lead in games at Miller Park since 2001 and a 178-167 edge since the Brewers joined the National League in 1998.
“I think that’s always going to be part of this series when you play up here; you’re always going to get a lot of Cubs fans,” Maddon said. ”(A huge rivalry is) something that is achieved over time. Give it time and it may eventually show up that way here.”
On Wednesday, the Cubs will send out lefty Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.21 ERA), who allowed five runs over five innings in his last start against Milwaukee, a 7-0 Brewers victory at Wrigley Field on Aug. 14. Prior to that he had given up just five runs in 49 innings vs. the Brewers. Quintana is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in five career starts at Miller Park.
Milwaukee will counter with righty Jhoulys Chacin (14-5, 3.53 ERA), who will make his 30th start of the season. He is coming off a 4-1 victory over Washington on Friday. Chacin is 2-0 in two scoreless starts and 13 innings pitched against the Cubs this season.