CHICAGO (AP) — Gio Gonzalez pitched two-hit ball into the sixth inning and Ryan Braun homered, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-0 on Friday for their season-high seventh straight victory.
Gonzalez outdueled Jose Quintana to help Milwaukee move into a virtual tie with Chicago for the NL Central lead. Yasmani Grandal and Jesus Aguilar each drove in two runs, and Hernan Perez backed Gonzalez with a couple nice plays at second base.
The Brewers (24-16) moved a season-high eight games over .500 in their first visit to Wrigley Field since they topped the Cubs 3-1 in the division tiebreaker game Oct. 1.
Chicago (22-14) had won 10 of 11, but it was shut down by Gonzalez (1-0) and five relievers. Quintana (4-2) allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings in his first loss since April 5.
Braun put Milwaukee ahead to stay with his eighth homer with two out in the fourth. Quintana had retired 10 in a row before Braun drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center, answering the usual round of boos that chase the 2011 NL MVP whenever he visits Wrigley.
It was Braun’s 38th homer against Chicago, his second-highest total against a single team. He has connected in each of his three games against the Cubs this year.
Milwaukee added two more in each of the final three innings. Grandal singled in Orlando Arcia and Aguilar walked with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Chicago hurt itself with a couple of fielding miscues. Grandal slid home safely when first baseman Anthony Rizzo made an ill-advised throw to the plate after making a diving stop on Mike Moustakas’ grounder in the seventh. Catcher Willson Contreras had a costly throwing error in the eighth.
Gonzalez struck out three in 5 2/3 innings in his third start since signing with Milwaukee after opting out of his minor league deal with the New York Yankees.
He got some help in the third when Perez robbed Albert Almora Jr. of a potential run-scoring single with a diving play on a grounder up the middle. He also made a solid stop on Jason Heyward’s hard-hit ball leading off the fifth.
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain was shaken up after he fouled a ball off his lower left leg in the sixth inning, but he stayed in the game. ... RHP Chase Anderson (right middle finger laceration) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday. He is expected to make at least one rehab start before returning to the Brewers.
Cubs: INF Daniel Descalso (sore left ankle) could return to the starting lineup this weekend. Descalso has been limited to pinch hitting since he got hurt last Saturday. “He’s doing well,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s making a lot of progress.”
Brewers right-hander Zach Davies and Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels get the ball on Saturday. Davies (4-0, 1.56 ERA) pitched into the eighth inning in a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday. Hamels (3-0, 3.38 ERA) is coming off three consecutive no-decisions.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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