Chicago Cubs hold off Milwaukee as division lead grows to four games

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Jose Quintana stepped up and turned in a quality effort, the offense broke out and the Chicago Cubs managed to salvage the finale against the Brewers.

Needing a big outing from Jose Quintana, the veteran southpaw pitched into the seventh, allowing just a pair of earned runs on five hits, doing his part as the Chicago Cubs held onto a lead late to push their NL Central lead over the Milwaukee Brewers back to four games Wednesday night.

With the victory, Chicago (82-57) guaranteed itself a winning season for the fourth consecutive campaign under manager Joe Maddon. Granted, the days where that’s the goal are long gone, but it’s still nice to have that under your belt.

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Daniel Murphy got the offense started as the lineup battled Jhoulys Chacin the second time through the order with an opposite field home run. The Cubs hung a four spot on the Brewers right-hander in the fourth, which included another incredible baserunning display from NL MVP candidate Javier Baez.

The Cubs added insurance runs that proved vital in both the fifth and sixth. Their final tally came courtesy of a Kyle Schwarber moonshot – his 25th long-ball of the season. The Brewers inched their way back, pulling within two at 6-4 after Curtis Granderson took Jesse Chavez deep for a two-run shot in the seventh.

But, thankfully the pen held on and Pedro Strop stranded two runners in the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout of none other than Granderson. That netted the right-hander his 12th save of the year.

Chicago heads to Washington, D.C. for a weekend series against the Nationals in a series that features some big-time pitching. Maddon’s club draws both Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. Of course, the last time the Cubs saw Scherzer, the game ended on a walk-off grand slam from David Bote. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to such heroics again on Saturday.

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What’s Next?

Chicago opens a series against the Nationals Thursday night in Washington, D.C. Kyle Hendricks squares off against Stephen Strasburg in the first game of the series at Nationals Park.