MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich hit his 44th homer and Zach Davies pitched five effective innings for his first win since July, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-1 on Friday night.
Milwaukee pulled within four games of Chicago for the second NL wild card. The Cubs, who had won their last six road games, remained 2½ back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which lost 9-4 at Pittsburgh.
Yelich had the big blow in the Brewers’ four-run third inning, hitting a three-run drive to right-center. Cory Spangenberg added a run-scoring bunt single off Cole Hamels, giving Milwaukee a 4-1 lead.
Yelich’s homer tied him with Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, one behind NL leader Pete Alonso of the Mets.
Davies (9-7) allowed one run — Nicholas Castellanos’ 24th homer in the third — and three hits in his first win since July 18. The right-hander went 0-5 with a 7.76 ERA in his previous six starts.
Davies almost picked up a win in his previous outing, but he was pulled after pitching 4 2/3 innings in the Brewers’ 2-0 victory over the Cubs last weekend.
Brent Suter retired all six batters he faced, Junior Guerra pitched a scoreless eighth and Ray Black finished with a perfect ninth.
Hamels (7-6) was tagged for five runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Grandal made it 5-1 in the fourth with his 24th homer. Orlando Arcia added a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Ben Gamel singled in a run in the eighth.
Castellanos’ homer was his 13th in 33 games since he was acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline.
Cubs: All-Star SS Javier Báez was scratched with lingering soreness in his left thumb. He will get an MRI on Saturday and likely will not play that day, manager Joe Maddon said. ... Closer Craig Kimbrel said he hopes to return next week. He was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday with elbow inflammation, retroactive to Monday. “It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” he said.
Brewers: C Manny Piña, who left Thursday’s game after taking a foul ball off the mask, suffered a concussion, manager Craig Counsell said. He will miss at least a couple of games. C Jacob Nottingham was recalled from Triple-A San Antonio. ... 3B Mike Moustakas missed his third consecutive game because his sore left hand is “not making great progress,” Counsell said.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (5-6, 4.25 ERA), who missed his last turn with right forearm tightness, makes his first start since Aug. 27. He has 78 strikeouts and just three walks in his last 10 starts.
Brewers: LHP Gio González (2-2, 4.14 ERA) is making his fifth start of the season against the Cubs. He is 1-0 with 1.40 ERA in his previous four starts against them.