With their lead in the National League Central shrinking, the Chicago Cubs found themselves in Milwaukee for a weekend series with the Brewers. On top of that, they welcomed back center fielder Dexter Fowler who had himself a huge game.
Boy oh boy, it sure does feel great to have Fowler back in this lineup that missed him for 20 plus game due to a hamstring injury. He was activated before the game which resulted in Albert Almora Jr. being sent back down to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs affiliate.
Fowler finished 3-for-4 at the dish with a home run, double, three RBI and a walk in the 5-2 victory over the Brewers. While Dexter was making himself comfortable, right-hander Jason Hammel (9-5, 3.35 ERA) put together a decent outing, enough to keep his club in the lead.
Jason held the Brewers (40-54) to two earned runs on four hits while issuing two walks, and recording four strikeouts in five innings of work.
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Veteran outfielder Ryan Braun crushed a solo home run off Hammel in the home half of the fourth — his 14th of the year that made it a 4-1 ballgame. Fowler led things off with a solo shot of his own out to deep center field and was all smiles in the dugout afterward.
With the Brewers stumbling out of the game early on, the Cubs (58-37) ended up with the bases loaded in the second inning with no outs. Addison Russell reached on a throwing error by Jimmy Nelson (6-8, 3.40 ERA) and ended up on second.
Hammel later came through with a bunt single that was meant to move Miguel Montero and Russell over but Hernan Perez was unable to make a play. Moments later, Fowler slapped a pitch down the third-base line, driving in two runs with his 20th double of the campaign, making it 3-0.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo would push Fowler across home plate on a sacrifice fly out to left field. Milwaukee continued to fight back, cutting Chicago’s lead down to just two in the fifth.
But the North Siders were not going to let this one slip away. Willson Contreras opened the eighth with a walk and moved over on Russell’s one out single before scoring on Miguel’s RBI base knock to right field.