Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sports

Yelich beats throw to avoid double play, give Brewers win over Cubs

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    The Brewers’ Christian Yelich, middle, is mobbed by teammates after driving in the game-winning run in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Monday at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

    Associated Press

  • Cubs-Brewers-Baseball-2-13

    Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, right, watches the ball after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

    Aaron Gash

  • Cubs-Brewers-Baseball-3-14

    Milwaukee Brewers' Orlando Arcia celebrates after scoring a run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

    Aaron Gash

  • Cubs-Brewers-Baseball-4-11

    Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo (44) celebrates with Ian Happ (8) after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

    Aaron Gash

  • Cubs-Brewers-Baseball-5-6

    Chicago Cubs' Ian Happ (8) avoids a tag by Milwaukee Brewers' Orlando Arcia as he steals second base during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

    Aaron Gash

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    The Cubs' Javier Baez screams after scoring a run during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

    Aaron Gash

  • wir-Brewers2-090418

    The Brewers’ Christian Yelich celebrates after driving in the game-winning run against the Chicago Cubs on Monday in Milwaukee.

    Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich beat out a throw at first to narrowly avoid a double play that allowed the winning run to score in the ninth.

Game over, but the jubilant Yelich kept going — and turned across the outfield — before the rest of the happy Milwaukee Brewers finally caught up with him in short left.

Yelich’s fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the ninth allowed Keon Broxton to score from third, and the Brewers opened an important three-game series with the Chicago Cubs with a 4-3 win on Monday afternoon at Miller Park.

The .315 hitter hit a 1-2 fastball from Jesse Chavez at diving third baseman Kris Bryant, who touched third for the second out of the ninth before firing to first. The speedy Yelich reached safely just before the throw landed in the glove of the outstretched Anthony Rizzo.

“It’s fun,” manager Craig Counsell said. “They might not be saying the same thing, but it was a game with some great plays and a lot of individual efforts.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he was fine with Bryant’s decision to throw to first to try to get Yelich instead of home to get the equally speedy Broxton.

“But it shouldn’t even get to that point. Listen, we played a wonderful game. We walked too many people,” Maddon said.

Broxton said he was ready for a play at the plate, even though Bryant had to dive to make the initial stop.

“I guess he thought he had a better chance to turn a double play,” Broxton said. “But, yeah I’m definitely surprised. I would think he would want to go home with it and try to save the game.”

The second-place Brewers, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Cubs. They also stayed a 12 games ahead of St. Louis for the first wild card spot.

The Brewers took advantage of wildness by Cubs reliever Steve Cishek (4-3), who loaded the bases with a walk, passed ball and two hit batters. It set up the game-winning fielder’s choice by Yelich, the reigning National League Player of the Week. The outfielder extended his on-base streak to 20 games, the longest active streak in the NL.

“I saw him catch it and I saw him go to third, so I just started busting it, man,” Yelich said.

And they got to the Cubs’ bullpen for a second straight inning.

Milwaukee tied the score 3-3 after pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas drew a four-pitch walk with two outs in the eighth from Carl Edwards Jr. during an at-bat in which home-plate umpire Gabe Morales ejected two Cubs. Maddon got tossed after the count went to 2-0; Edwards got the boot during a pitching change in which he was being lifted anyway from the game.

“It’s borderline. Listen, I’m defending my player there. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong as a manager, but you’ve got to defend your player right there,” Maddon said.

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-out, two-run homer off left-hander Josh Hader in the eighth. Rizzo finished 3 of 4. It was also the first homer by a left-handed hitter off of Hader.

“What is really? That’s cool. He’s tough, he is the best, one of the best,” Rizzo said.

Jeremy Jeffress (8-1) got the win after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth.

Milwaukee is practically back to full strength for the first time in a while with starter Zach Davies back. He allowed four hits and a run in five strong innings, striking out seven in his first start since late May after being sidelined with right rotator cuff inflammation.

The Cubs’ Addison Russell went 1 for 3 in making his first start since being activated off the disabled list on Saturday for injuries to his left middle finger and right shoulder. Russell left the game as part of a double switch in the seventh. While Russell did not have a rehab assignment the minors, Maddon said he was working him in as if he were on a rehab assignment. The shortstop entered the previous two games as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement.

Sunday slam

On Sunday afternoon, Yelich hit his first career grand slam, Keon Broxton added a three-run homer, and Milwaukee earned a 9-4 victory over the Nationals in the finale of a three-game set in Washington.

Yelich hit .444 (12 for 27) with four homers and 14 RBIs during the Brewers’ 4-2 road trip to Cincinnati and Washington.

Reliever Brandon Woodruff (3-0) pitched four scoreless innings to earn the victory.

“This is Brandon Woodruff’s game,” Counsell said. “I know Yeli hits a home run and Brox hits a three-run homer, but to deliver four innings of scoreless relief in that situation is absolutely huge.”

Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra allowed four runs in three innings.

Up next

Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (4-4) is 1-6 with a 5.24 ERA in 14 career appearances against Milwaukee, including five starts.

Brewers: Opponents are batting just .234 off LHP Wade Miley (2-2), who is 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in seven career starts against the Cubs.


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