MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich drove in the winning run with the bases loaded in the ninth after beating a throw from third to avoid a double play, and the Milwaukee Brewers opened an important three-game series with the Chicago Cubs with a 4-3 win Monday.
The .316 hitter hit a 1-2 fastball from Jesse Chavez right at 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, allowing Keon Broxton to score the game-winner from third.
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 second-place Brewers, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Cubs.
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. Manager Joe 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.
The final few innings especially had the tense feel of a playoff game, especially with lots of Cubs fans filling the stands at sold-out Miller Park.
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-out, two-run homer off tough left-hander Josh Hader in the eighth.
Jeremy Jeffress (8-1) got the win after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth.
Cubs: SS 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.
Brewers: With Davies back, the team is practically back to full strength for the first time in a while. With rosters expanding on Sept. 1, manager Craig Counsell will have more flexibility to rest players. “We are healthy but I think we still have to monitor fatigue and be proactive with that,” he said.
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.