Cubs come alive at plate, defeat Brewers to split series

by - Senior Writer -
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo garnered three RBI in a productive day at the plate. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo garnered three RBI in a productive day at the plate. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Responding in a major way after a dismal shutout on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs (69-50) came alive at the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers (68-55) on Wednesday to split a two-game series at Wrigley Field. Tallying 13 hits, including two home runs, the Cubs got to Brewers starter Junior Guerra early and led the entire game. With an 8-4 win, the Cubs increased their lead over the Brewers in the National League Central to three games.

The top portion of the Cubs' batting order lit Brewers pitching up on the afternoon, with batters one through for amassing a total of nine hits. Hitting cleanup, Anthony Rizzo set the tone with a two-run homer in the opening frame for his 18th long ball of the season, which broke a 27-inning scoreless drought for Chicago against Milwaukee. Then, in the third inning, Jason Heyward, who went 3-5, hit an RBI double, and David Bote scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to make the score 4-0. Guerra, who lasted just 3.2 innings, was charged with the loss to drop to 6-8.

The Brewers experienced their fair share of successes at the plate, too, with Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks giving up four runs in six innings pitched. However, Hendricks, who struck out eight, benefited from Chicago's offensive prosperity and improved to 9-9 with the win. Milwaukee got to Hendricks in the second inning, though, scoring two runs as part of a two-out rally on a Jonathan Schoop double and an Eric Thames single.

The Cubs answered by scoring three runs on five hits and one walk in the fourth inning. Addison Russell and Heyward each hit an RBI base knock to help chase Guerra from the game. Following the pitching change, Rizzo tacked on another run with an RBI single. For good measure, Rizzo next accrued his second stolen base of the year but was left stranded with the Cubs up 7-2.

Milwaukee's Mike Moustakas and Hernan Perez hit back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh off reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. Both runs were charged to Hendricks, who was taken out earlier in the frame. Milwaukee had a great opportunity to inflict some serious damage upon the Cubs, as they had the bases loaded with just one out when Edwards, Jr., was pulled. However, two wily pitching changes made by Cubs manager Joe Maddon resulted in two straight pop outs to end the threat.

Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr., capped off the scoring action with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of his seventh, which marked his fifth home run of the year and first since late June. In the ninth, Chicago reliever Pedro Strop collected three hits in four at-bats to finish off the 8-4 win, with a great catch by Ian Happ in left field bolstering his cause.

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