CHICAGO (AP) — Ryan Braun homered to ignite a seven-run third inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 11-2 on Thursday for their fourth straight victory.
The Brewers opened a 4 1/2-game lead over the second-place Cubs in the NL Central and are guaranteed to hold the top spot at the All-Star break. This was a makeup of a May 20 rainout.
Braun went 1 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs before being lifted following the sixth because of the lopsided score. Domingo Santana had four hits and two RBIs and Jesus Aguilar added three hits and an RBI.
Willson Contreras homered for the Cubs, who have not won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak June 18-20.
Kyle Schwarber went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his return following a two-week stint in the minor leagues.
Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (10-4) allowed two runs on five hits in six innings for the win.
Cubs starter Mike Montgomery (1-6) gave up seven runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings.
After Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI hits by Santana and Hernan Perez, Braun’s two-run homer with one out in the third made it 4-0.
Montgomery was yanked after giving up singles to each of the next three batters and left trailing 5-0.
Jack Leathersich came on and walked the first three batters he faced — the last two forcing in runs. A sacrifice fly by Jonathan Villar made it 8-0 and Santana capped the rally with an RBI double to make it 9-0.
After Kris Bryant drove in a run on a groundout in the bottom of the third, Contreras’ solo shot in the fourth made it 9-2.
The Brewers got both runs back in the fifth to thwart any thoughts of a comeback.
SHORT AND SWEET
When he was sent to the minors, the Cubs wanted Schwarber to work on shortening the movements in his swing.
“He’s done a real nice job, made a few adjustments in his approach, a few small mechanical tweaks,” president Theo Epstein said. “He feels really confident, looks great at the plate. This was more about a reset for him than a rebuilding.”
Said Schwarber: “I just think everything got a little bit too big for me. It was just really focusing on some little things. It wasn’t drastic.”
Brewers: INF Eric Sogard (left ankle strain) was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to July 5, and INF Yadiel Rivera was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Cubs: RHP John Lackey was placed on the 10-day DL with plantar fasciitis of the right foot.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.93 ERA) faces LHP Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.62) Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.
Cubs: RHP Eddie Butler (4-3, 4.18 ERA) goes against RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.67) as the homestand continues Friday with the opener of a three-game series with the Pirates.