Suter 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 for us."

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 there."

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 lineup."

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.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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