Morel had the go-ahead homer in the win (David Banks - USA Today Sports)
Morel had the go-ahead homer in the win (David Banks - USA Today Sports)

Fly the W: Cubs top Brewers in Wrigley Field slugfest


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - If there is one team the Chicago Cubs (51-67) are looking to become in the NL Central, it would have to be the Milwaukee Brewers (63-55). Over the last several years, not only have the Brewers become the standard in the NL Central, but they have owned the Cubs in the process, including a 14-5 record last season.

While Milwaukee is playing for a spot in the postseason, and the Cubs are rebuilding, you would have never guessed it this season based on how tough the Cubs have played the Brewers this year. Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field was another one of those games as the Cubs outlasted the Brewers 8-7 in what was another classic Wrigley Field slugfest.

Keegan Thompson had his issues for the second start in a row as he allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 3.97 for the season as he seems to be running out of gas these last few starts. Even with Thompson struggling, the Cubs offense gave him plenty of support as Aaron Ashby was equally bad. Despite striking out eight in five innings, Ashby was charged with six earned runs for his worst start of the season.

Thompson's struggles stemmed from a lack of command and a Brewers offense that was ready to roll in the first inning. Christian Yelich led things off with a single before Andrew McCutchen delivered a two-out, two-run shot to make things 2-0. Milwaukee put two more runners on base in that inning before Thompson was able to get out of it without further damage.

While the Brewers offense was alive and well in the first, it was up to the Cubs to match that, and they were more than up to the challenge. Nick Madrigal continues to hit as he collected three more, including a leadoff single to start the first. Like the Brewers, it was a two-out rally that got the Cubs going, with Seiya Suzuki putting them on the board with an RBI double.

One pitch later saw the Cubs tie things up as the Franimal Framil Reyes continues to hit with an RBI triple. An Ian Happ single followed that up with an RBI single, and just like that, the Cubs were in front 3-2. That hot start for the Cubs continued into the second inning when a pair of singles from Christopher Morel and Madrigal got things started ahead of the Willson Contreras sacrifice fly to extend the Cubs lead 4-2.

Typically, four runs is more than enough when you look at how Thompson pitched this season, but on this day, you knew it would take more than four runs to get the job done. On the strength of two homers in the third, it was the Brewers retaking the lead with Rowdy Tellez going deep to make things 4-3 before Hunter Renfroe made things 5-4 shortly after. Kolten Wong picked up a single later in the inning, but that was all for the Brewers, who were now in front.

With Thompson and Kevin Castro keeping the Brewers offense off the board the next two innings, the Cubs offense started to battle back against Ashby in the fifth, beginning with another Madrigal single to lead things off. Two batters later saw the Cubs retake the lead, with Patrick Wisdom picking up his 22nd homer to make things 6-5.

The back and forth affair continued into the sixth inning when Luis Urias led things off with a walk before advancing to third on the one-out double by Tyrone Taylor. With Steven Brault now summoned to pitch, the Brewers not only tied things up with the Yelich RBI groundout, but retook the lead on the Willy Adames single to make things 7-6. Fortunately for the Cubs, that would be it for the Brewers offense as the back end of their bullpen was very good, leaving it up to the offense to make some more noise.

That noise came in the form of another homer as the Cubs responded to the Brewers two runs by pushing home two runs of their own. Happ picked up a leadoff single to get things rolling before standing at first base with two down. Already with several big two-out hits, Morel came through with the biggest two-out hit of them all, as his home run not only gave the Cubs an 8-7 lead, but put them in front for good.

Not only did Michael Rucker come in and take care of business in the seventh, but Mark Leiter Jr continued his strong run on the mound and struck out the side in the eighth to push the game to the ninth with the Cubs still leading 8-7.

One day after recording his first career MLB save, Brandon Hughes was back at it again as he was given the ninth for a second straight day. Despite allowing a leadoff single, Hughes did what he does best, including a second consecutive inning-ending double play to give the Cubs an 8-7 victory.

Madrigal led the way for the Cubs offense with three hits. Morel and Happ added two hits as the Cubs had 10 hits as a team. This marks the fourth straight win for the Cubs as they are now 19-11 in their last 30 games.

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