By STEVE MEGARGEE | AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers beat up on the Chicago Cubs' bullpen to turn a pitchers' duel into a rout.
Yelich went 4 of 5 with a three-run homer, Brandon Woodruff pitched six strong innings and the Brewers beat the Cubs 7-0 on Saturday night. The Brewers won for just the ninth time in the last 24 games as they try to move back into playoff position.
“We’ve just got to keep going,” Yelich said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, but we’re not out of it by any means. It can start at any time. You never know which day or night it’s going to be.”
After Woodruff and Chicago’s Drew Smyly kept the game scoreless through six innings, the Brewers broke through in the bottom of the seventh with four runs off reliever Rowan Wick (4-7).
Kolten Wong added a solo shot and Willy Adames hit a two-run blast off Michael Rucker in the eighth.
“Every game from here on out is important,” Woodruff said. "We know we need to win. We know we’re gonna have to play good baseball going into September and October if we want to have a chance to make the playoffs. You never know, maybe tonight is the start of something pretty cool and hopefully we continue to play good baseball.”
Victor Caratini and Kolten Wong started the seventh-inning rally with consecutive singles. Pinch-hitter Jace Peterson then bunted to third baseman Christopher Morel, whose wild throw to first instead went into foul territory in shallow right field. Caratini scored, Wong advanced to third and Peterson reached second on the error.
Yelich followed by sending a 2-2 pitch over the wall in the right-field corner.
Wick has allowed at least one run in four of his last six appearances.
“It just kind of got away from him,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “It just wasn't his night.”
The homer was Yelich’s 10th of the season, but just his second since July 2. He also went deep Aug. 16 in a 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yelich also singled in the third, fifth and eighth innings for his first four-hit game since he hit for the cycle in a 14-11 loss at Cincinnati on May 11.
“He hit the ball really hard today, which is what we’ve seen when he’s doing good, just a lot of hard contact and having good at-bats,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Woodruff struck out 10 and allowed four hits and one walk. His outing ended after a shot from Franmil Reyes with a 110-mph exit velocity hit him in the leg, though first baseman Rowdy Tellez fielded the ball and retired the batter.
“It was off the calf,” Woodruff said. “It's good. I was able to walk off. It'll be a little sore tomorrow, but that will be all right.”
This marked the second straight night a Brewers starter departed after holding the Cubs scoreless through six innings. Freddy Peralta had a no-hitter going Friday when he was removed at the start of the seventh inning of a game the Brewers eventually lost 4-3 in 10.
Taylor Rogers (2-6) struck out three batters in the seventh, ending the inning by retiring Morel with a runner on second. Cubs first base coach Mike Napoli was ejected after arguing the third-strike call on Morel.
Smyly struck out two and allowed five hits and one walk for Chicago to continue his outstanding August. The veteran left-hander has given up just three earned runs over 30 innings in five August starts.
“Everything's kind of connecting right now,” Smyly said. “My mechanics really feel in sync."
Cubs: INF Patrick Wisdom went on the injured list, retroactive to Friday, with a sprained left ring finger. INF Alfonso Rivas was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Ross said Justin Steele was feeling fine one day after the left-hander left a start one out into the sixth inning with tightness in his lower back.
Brewers: RHP Trevor Rosenthal’s status for the rest of the regular season is in jeopardy after he injured his lat in a rehabilitation appearance with Triple-A Nashville. Counsell said Rosenthal’s injury is similar to the issue that kept RHP Freddy Peralta on the injured list for over two months earlier this season. ... OF Jonathan Davis (right elbow effusion) went on the 10-day injured list and C Alex Jackson (left wrist inflammation) went on the 60-day injured list). The Brewers selected OF Garrett Mitchell from Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers chose Mitchell out of UCLA with the 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft.
RHP Adrian Sampson (1-4, 4.04 ERA) starts for the Cubs and LHP Eric Lauer (9-5, 3.44) pitches for the Brewers in the final matchup of the season between these two NL Central rivals.
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