Báez, Cubs come out swinging, beat Brewers 6-2
CHICAGO (AP) — Javier Báez homered and drove in three runs, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 on Friday.
José Quintana pitched solidly into the seventh inning and Jason Heyward also went deep to help Chicago move within one-half game of first-place St. Louis in the NL Central. The third-place Brewers fell 2½ games back of the Cardinals, who have a rare Friday off before starting a two-game series at Oakland.
Báez ripped two doubles and scored twice. Quintana (9-7) also singled in a run as he won his fifth straight decision. The left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five, and was given a five-run lead as Cubs came out swinging at home following a 3-6 trip that ended with an 8-0 drubbing at St. Louis on Thursday night.
The Cubs improved to 37-18 at home. They’re 21-33 away from Wrigley Field.
Three Cubs relievers finished with three scoreless innings, yielding just one single and one walk.
Ryan Braun hit a solo shot and doubled as Milwaukee lost for the fourth time in five games. Zach Davies (8-5) was roughed up for third straight start, allowing four runs in four innings.
Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, ending his career-best 19-game hitting streak.
The wind blew in steadily throughout the game. It held up some flyballs, but three made it into the bleachers.
Heyward hit his 16th homer in the first, his first leadoff blast at home since August 2014 with Atlanta.
Braun tied it in the second on his 16th homer.
The Cubs took a 4-1 lead in the third. Báez’s team-leading 26th homer, to the basket in left, made it 3-1. Following singles by Willson Contreras and David Bote, Quintana drove in a run with a bloop single.
Contreras and Báez knocked in runs with groundouts in the fifth and sixth.
ZOBRIST ON SCOPE
Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist, on the on the restricted list since May 8 because of a divorce, was set to start a rehab assignment with Class A South Bend Cubs on Friday night. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein had no return date for the 38-year-old, but said Zobrist would work his way up to Triple-A this month.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said LHP Gio Gonzalez won’t have a hard pitch count Saturday after leaving his last start, on July 26 against the Cubs, with tightness in his left shoulder. Gonzalez pitched 6 1/3 innings in that game, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out nine.
Cubs: LHP Cole Hamels is expected to come off the injured list on Saturday and start against the Brewers. The 35-year-old four-time-All Star has been sidelined since suffering a left oblique strain at Cincinnati on June 28.
LHP Gonzalez (2-1, 3.48 ERA) is scheduled to face LHP Hamels (6-3, 2.98) on Saturday.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports