Braun, 7-run 3rd inning spark Brewers to 11-2 rout of Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers weren’t happy when the Chicago Cubs decided to postpone a game in May on what turned out to be a totally dry afternoon — especially since the decision cost them a day off.
The Brewers also weren’t pleased the makeup game was scheduled for a 1:20 p.m. CDT start on Thursday after they played a night game in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
They took out their frustrations on the field.
Ryan Braun homered to ignite a seven-run third inning and the Brewers beat the Cubs 11-2 for their fourth straight victory.
Braun went 1 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs before being lifted following the sixth because of the lopsided score. Domingo Santana had four hits and two RBIs and Jesus Aguilar added three hits and an RBI.
Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (10-4) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings for the win.
“I think as a team we tried to put it on them early and it kind of showed right out of the gate,” Davies said.
“Off days are precious,” Braun said. “You never want to give those away. If you’re going to play on an off day, it’s nice to get a win.”
Willson Contreras homered for the Cubs, who have not won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak June 18-20.
Kyle Schwarber went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his return following a two-week stint in the minor leagues.
Cubs starter Mike Montgomery (1-6) gave up seven runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings.
“Honestly, there’s not a lot to talk about,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. “That game goes in the trash can as quickly as any game we’ve ever played. We just didn’t pitch early, and it’s difficult to fight back from that moment.”
After Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI hits by Santana and Hernan Perez, Braun’s two-run homer with one out in the third made it 4-0.
Montgomery was yanked after giving up singles to the next three batters and left trailing 5-0.
Jack Leathersich came on and walked the first three batters he faced — the last two forcing in runs. A sacrifice fly by Jonathan Villar made it 8-0 and Santana capped the rally with an RBI double to make it 9-0.
After Kris Bryant drove in a run on a groundout in the bottom of the third, Contreras’ solo shot in the fourth made it 9-2.
The Brewers got both runs back in the fifth to thwart any thoughts of a comeback.
THE REAL DEAL?
Many are waiting for the Cubs to turn it on and take command in the NL Central, but the surprising Brewers have opened a 4 1/2-game lead and are guaranteed to hold the top spot at the All-Star break.
“Certainly, we’re not taking anything for granted,” Braun said. “We understand how great they are, how talented they are, but the deeper we get in this thing and remain in the same position, the more confident we become as a group.”
SHORT AND SWEET
When he was sent to the minors, the Cubs wanted Schwarber to work on shortening the movements in his swing.
“He’s done a real nice job, made a few adjustments in his approach, a few small mechanical tweaks,” president Theo Epstein said. “He feels really confident, looks great at the plate. This was more about a reset for him than a rebuilding.”
Said Schwarber: “I just think everything got a little bit too big for me. It was just really focusing on some little things. It wasn’t drastic.”
Brewers: INF Eric Sogard (left ankle strain) was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to July 5, and INF Yadiel Rivera was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey was placed on the 10-day DL with plantar fasciitis of the right foot.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.93 ERA) faces LHP Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.62) Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.
Cubs: RHP Eddie Butler (4-3, 4.18 ERA) goes against RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.67) as the homestand continues Friday with the opener of a three-game series with the Pirates.