leads Brewers past Cubs
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[July 29, 2017]
MILWAUKEE -- After blowing all
of a 5 1/2-game lead in the National League Central during a
disastrous 10-game road trip, the Milwaukee Brewers got their groove
back Friday night.
The Brewers used pitching, defense and just enough offense to take a
game back in the divisional race with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago
Cubs. Milwaukee reduced the Cubs' division lead to a half-game.
Left-hander Brent Suter (2-1) set the tone, holding the Cubs
scoreless in a career-high seven innings while allowing four hits
and a walk with five strikeouts.
The quick-working Suter was helped by double plays in the third and
seventh innings, snuffing Chicago's biggest threats of the evening.
"The defense played great behind me," said Suter, who has a 1.50 ERA
in five starts since replacing injured Chase Anderson. "Nothing was
really that great, but it was just good enough to miss some barrels
and the defense kept making big plays. A couple of huge double plays
Suter outdueled Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana (2-1), who took his
first loss since being traded from the crosstown White Sox after
giving up two runs, four hits and three walks while striking out six
in six innings.
"They hit some balls really well," Cubs manager Joe Madden said. "We
made some really good plays and missed some others. It was kind of
weird. But he got through it. He started varying his speeds a lot
better in the latter part of the game. I thought that's why he got
some quicker innings.
"His stuff was fine. They had some good at-bats."
Jesus Aguilar led off the second with a single and scored later in
the inning on Manny Pina's groundout to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Chicago put two runners on twice in the third but came up empty. The
Cubs wouldn't get many more chances, either. They finished the day
0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded five.
"We could not get anything going against Suter," Maddon said. "He
was outstanding, mixing speeds. He really knows what he's doing out
Milwaukee had a chance to make it 3-0 in the bottom of the inning
when Ryan Braun took Quintana deep to right, but Jason Heyward made
a spectacular play, reaching over the railing atop the eight-foot
wall to rob Braun of his 13th home run of the season.
"It was a tremendous play," Maddon said.
Milwaukee loaded the bases with nobody out in the
fourth and took a 2-0 lead when Orlando Arcia reached on a fielder's
choice, driving in a run.
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Brewers pitcher Brent Suter (35) throws a pitch during the first
inning against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit:
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers loaded the bases again in the inning, driving Quintana's
pitch count above 80 in the process, but he escaped without further
damage by getting Braun to pop out to shallow center.
"It was a slow start at the beginning of the game," Quintana said.
"I tried to make adjustments. It is going to happen sometimes. I
focused on throwing strikes early. I know I was facing a good
Chicago's Addison Russell missed his 11th homer of the season by
mere inches in the eighth, instead flying out to right. However,
Javier Baez followed and blasted Anthony Swarzak's first offering
off the stadium club windows in left to make it 2-1.
Travis Shaw helped Swarzek's cause, reaching into the Cubs' dugout
to grab a Ben Zobrist popup for a second out. Swarzek walked Jon Jay
to put the tying run on but protected the lead when he retired
Bryant on a weak chopper to first.
Anthony Rizzo created drama in the ninth, drawing a leadoff walk
against Brewers closer Corey Knebel. But Rizzo was left stranded at
third when Knebel struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber for his
18th save of the season.
Chicago's lead over Milwaukee was trimmed to a half-game.
"We know we have to win this series to get back where we want to
be," Shaw said. "We've done a lot of sliding in the second half.
This will be a big series for us."
NOTES: Brewers RHP Chase Anderson will throw a bullpen session
Saturday. Anderson has been out since June 29 with a strained left
oblique. ... Since taking over for Anderson, LHP Brent Suter has
posted a 1.50 ERA in five starts, including seven shutout innings
Friday night. ... Chicago's starters had combined for a 10-0 record
and 2.51 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in 13 games since the All-Star break.
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