Chicago at Milwaukee

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Chi. Cubs (57-75)101000000252
Milwaukee (79-54) «00013010x581

Brewers keep rolling, Wolf wins fifth decision in row

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun thought he had homered to give the Brewers a lead. Instead, he rounded the bases like a kid in a wild scramble.

Braun ended up scoring on his double that plated three runs after Darwin Barney made his second error of the inning, rallying the Brewers to a 5-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night for their 25th victory in the past 30 games.

"I don't know if it was a home run or not. I think it ended up being a Little League home run, but either way, same result for us," Braun said. "We scored three runs, so it worked out well."

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Everything has so far for the Brewers, who lead St. Louis by 9½ games in the NL Central.

George Kottaras hit a solo home run for Milwaukee, and Barney's two mistakes in the fifth cost Chicago, which leads the majors with 110 errors.

He failed to touch first base on a sacrifice bunt by Nyjer Morgan that moved Corey Hart to second, then his throw over the head of third baseman Aramis Ramirez allowed Morgan and Braun to score on Braun's RBI double that gave Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.

"The first one was tough. I looked at the replay. I thought I was on there. I made a mistake of going back for it. Whether you're on there or not, when the play is moving quick, sometimes the umpire takes information from all different places. He's not in the wrong at all. That's just baseball," Barney said. "The second was a lack of judgment. I saw Nyjer kind of doing his thing over there, and I thought I could make something happen, and unfortunately I didn't and put us in a little hole."

Brewers starter Randy Wolf (11-8) allowed a leadoff home run to Starlin Castro before winning his fifth consecutive decision.

Wolf left with a man on second and two outs in the seventh for Takashi Saito, who struck out Castro to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, Prince Fielder singled in his 101st run this season to make it 5-2.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a quiet eighth and John Axford converted his 38th save in the ninth by getting Blake DeWitt to ground out sharply to Fielder at first on a seven-pitch at-bat with runners at second and third.

"It didn't work out, but what an at-bat by Blake against that right-hander to end the game," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "My goodness."

The Brewers improved to a majors-best 48-16 at home as they continue to show little signs of slowing down in their quest for their first division title since winning the AL East in 1982 on the way to their only World Series appearance.

"I think things have gone well where we do get a break," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Sometimes it's because we're playing hard and playing aggressive and sometimes it's just flat breaks, just lucky."

Castro homered to start a game for the first time in his career and Chicago went ahead 2-0 on Jeff Baker's double in the third after an error by Wolf, but Kottaras answered with a towering solo shot in the fourth.

In the fifth, Hart singled to extend his hitting streak to nine and Morgan laid down a bunt that Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez (4-5) fielded. Lopez's throw was just a little low and Barney, who moved from second base to cover first on the play, pulled his left foot off the bag to field it, allowing Morgan to reach.

After a double steal, Braun followed with his double that hit the top of the wall, but landed just below the yellow line. As Braun hustled to second, Barney took right fielder Reed Johnson's relay throw and fired over Ramirez's head into the Cubs dugout.

Third base umpire James Hoye awarded both Morgan and Braun home to give Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.

"We've done a really good job of capitalizing on other teams' mistakes lately and I think that's one of the biggest reasons why we've had the success that we've had," Braun said. "Any time somebody else messes up, we take advantage of it."

Wolf has been another important reason why the Brewers' rotation has been so strong. The veteran left-hander who turned 35 on Monday has won five in a row for the first time since pitching for the Dodgers in 2009. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits to lower his ERA to 3.37.

"I always felt that if I was healthy, I had the ability to pitch," Wolf said. "I can't believe I'm 35 now, but I actually feel better at 35 than I did at 25. My body feels better, I feel in better shape and I hope that continues."

Notes

  • The Cubs have lost six straight in Milwaukee.
  • Wolf's career-best ERA was 3.20 with the Phillies in 2002.
  • It was Kottaras' first home run since June 18.
  • Ramirez doubled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
  • Saturday's matchup features Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA) against Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Randy Wolf spots Chicago an early lead, then settles down and earns the victory when Milwaukee's offense awakens.  (AP)
Randy Wolf spots Chicago an early lead, then settles down and earns the victory when Milwaukee's offense awakens. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

R. Braun
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Chicago

S. Castro
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starlin Castro, SS4111011 .306
Darwin Barney, 2B4100000 .288
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010011 .311
Jeff Baker, 1B2011101 .283
   a- Carlos Pena, PH-1B1000000 .225
Geovany Soto, C3000111 .232
Marlon Byrd, CF4010003 .291
Alfonso Soriano, LF4000021 .242
Reed Johnson, RF3010100 .347
Rodrigo Lopez, P2000010 .095
   b- Tyler Colvin, PH1000000 .140
    Jeff Samardzija, P0000000 .000
    Ramon Ortiz, P0000000 .000
   c- Blake DeWitt, PH1000002 .258
Totals3325236  
a-flied out for Baker in the 8th
b-grounded out for Lopez in the 7th
c-grounded out for Ortiz in the 9th
Batting
2B - Aramis Ramirez (32, Wolf), Jeff Baker (11, Wolf)
HR - Starlin Castro (8, Wolf)
RBI - Starlin Castro (57), Jeff Baker (21)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Baker (13)
SB - Darwin Barney (8, 2nd base off Wolf/Kottaras)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Darwin Barney 2 (12, Missed catch of throw)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Rodrigo Lopez (L,4-5) 6542451 4.80
Jeff Samardzija 1111220 3.28
Ramon Ortiz 1200000 5.92
IBB - Fielder by Rodrigo Lopez
WP - Jeff Samardzija (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 101-63, Jeff Samardzija 27-14, Ramon Ortiz 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 7-6, Ramon Ortiz 2-1
Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 27, Jeff Samardzija 6, Ramon Ortiz 5
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Corey Hart, RF4220111 .274
Nyjer Morgan, CF4100003 .308
Ryan Braun, LF2121200 .333
Prince Fielder, 1B3011101 .298
Casey McGehee, 3B3000123 .239
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4000015 .255
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B4020010 .265
George Kottaras, C2111111 .241
    Jonathan Lucroy, C1000001 .286
Randy Wolf, P2000010 .163
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Rodriguez, P0000000 .500
   a- Mark Kotsay, PH1000000 .261
    John Axford, P0000000 .000
Totals3058367  
a-grounded out for Rodriguez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Braun 2 (33, Lopez, Lopez)
HR - George Kottaras (3, Lopez)
SH - Nyjer Morgan (11), Randy Wolf (3)
RBI - Ryan Braun (86), Prince Fielder (101), George Kottaras (12)
2-OUT RBI - George Kottaras (3)
SB - Corey Hart (6, 3rd base off Lopez/Soto), Nyjer Morgan (9, 2nd base off Lopez/Soto), Ryan Braun (30, 2nd base off Lopez/Soto)
CS - George Kottaras (1, 2nd base by Lopez/Soto)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Randy Wolf (3, Missed catch of throw)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Randy Wolf (W,11-8) 6.2421231 3.37
Takashi Saito (H,10) 0.1000010 2.33
Francisco Rodriguez (H,10) 1000010 3.20
John Axford (S,38) 1100110 2.23
WP - John Axford (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wolf 101-65, Takashi Saito 4-3, Francisco Rodriguez 11-8, John Axford 25-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wolf 10-8, Francisco Rodriguez 1-1, John Axford 1-1
Batters Faced - Randy Wolf 27, Takashi Saito 1, Francisco Rodriguez 3, John Axford 5
Game Information
Attendance - 41661
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - James Hoye