stop Brewers to increase NL Central lead
Send a link to a friend
[July 31, 2017]
MILWAUKEE -- The way things are
going for the Chicago Cubs, an injury to a key player provided an
opportunity for a rookie to step up and become a hero for a day.
With Anthony Rizzo sidelined due to back stiffness, fill-in Victor
Caratini hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh inning to
lift the Chicago Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on
"It is a good feeling, man," Caratini said through translator Henry
Blanco. "It is a huge feeling. Not only was it my first career
homer, but it helped the team win. I feel amazing right now."
By taking the rubber game of a crucial three-game series between the
top two teams in the National League Central, the Cubs increased
their lead to 2 1/2 games over the second-place Brewers.
Milwaukee won the series opener 2-1 on Friday night to pull to
within one-half game of first place. Chicago answered with a 2-1 win
in 11 innings Saturday.
The Cubs trailed the Brewers by 5 1/2 games at the All-Star break,
but they are 13-3 since. Milwaukee is 5-11 during that same stretch,
allowing Chicago to make up eight games in the standings.
"We needed to do something like that obviously," Cubs manager Joe
Maddon said. "Playing a really good team here in their home
ballpark. They came to play, we pitched really well against them."
Caratini fell behind 0-2 before fouling off a pair of pitches and
taking a ball before drilling a fastball from Zach Davies out to
dead center field for his first major league home run.
Kris Bryant added a solo shot off reliever Jacob Barnes in the
eighth for his 20th homer.
John Lackey (8-9) limited the Brewers to just two runs on five hits
over six innings to move to 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts
since the All-Star break.
Wade Davis pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 22nd save of
The Cubs broke through against Davies with four consecutive two-out
hits in the sixth inning. Jon Jay singled to center, moved to third
on a double by Bryant and scored on an infield single by Willson
Addison Russell followed with a single to center to make it 2-0.
Milwaukee quickly answered in the bottom of the inning as Domingo
Santana hit a two-run homer that hit off the top of the right field
wall and bounced over.
"Johnny was really good," Maddon said of Lackey. "That was like a
couple-years-ago Johnny. The fastball was that good, the slider was
that good, fly ball to right hits the top of the wall, probably
would have hit for him anyway under those circumstances, but I
thought he threw the ball extremely well today."
[to top of second column]
Cubs pitcher John Lackey (41) throws a pitch in the first inning
against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit:
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Davies (12-5) was hit for his first loss since June
20, allowing three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts over seven
Milwaukee scored just five runs in the series and is 0 for its last
31 with runners in scoring position.
"We've scored a lot of runs through 105, 110 games into the season,"
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've been a very good
offensive team. I'm confident we'll score runs again and put up
The 2 1/2-game deficit is the largest the Brewers have faced since
April 12, when they trailed by three games.
"There are still a lot of games to be played," Davies said. "I don't
think anybody in this clubhouse is too worried just this one series.
Yeah, it would have been nice to switch-up the standings again, but
there's still 55 games or so left to play and we're going to go out
and compete in every one of them."
NOTES: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo was out of the lineup Sunday due to
back stiffness. Backup C Victor Caratini filled in at first base.
Manager Joe Maddon hopes to have Rizzo back in the lineup by
Wednesday. ... The Brewers optioned RHP Junior Guerra for assignment
and selected the contract of LHP Wei-Chung Wang from Triple-A
Colorado Springs. Guerra started Opening Day for the Brewers but
battled injuries and command issues to post a 4.96 ERA in 13 starts.
He walked four of the 14 batters he faced Saturday and was pulled
after three scoreless innings. ... Wang was 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in
39 relief appearances for the Sky Sox. The left-hander was a Rule 5
pick from Pittsburgh in 2014 and spent that season in the big
leagues, posting a 10.90 ERA in 14 appearances.
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten