Christian Yelich hit a three-run homer off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat Chicago 4-0 on Sunday for their second straight shutout against the Cubs.
Milwaukee took two of three in the weekend series to pull within three games of Chicago for the second NL wild card. The Brewers had dropped four of five before limiting the Cubs to six hits in Saturday’s 2-0 victory.
A day later, it was the same story.
After Gio González walked four in three hitless innings, Jay Jackson (1-0) got six outs for his first major league win. Drew Pomeranz got two big outs in the eighth before Josh Hader finished the four-hitter.
The Brewers were clinging to a 1-0 lead before Yelich connected with two outs in the ninth, driving a full-count pitch to center field. It was his first homer since Aug. 17 at Washington and No. 42 on the year.
Yu Darvish was slated to start for Chicago, but the Japanese right-hander was scratched with right forearm tightness. Darvish was coming off perhaps his best performance with the team, pitching eight sparkling innings in a 5-2 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
Darvish has been dealing with the issue for about five starts, and manager Joe Maddon said he thinks the pitcher will be able to take his next turn in the rotation Saturday at Milwaukee.
“Just like a precautionary thing,” Maddon said.
Tyler Chatwood (5-3) replaced Darvish and allowed the game’s first run on Orlando Arcia’s groundout in the fourth. Ben Gamel set up the play when he went from first to third on Cory Spangenberg’s one-out single to left-center.
The Brewers had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth, but David Phelps struck out Spangenberg to end the inning.
The Cubs left nine runners on base and went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Kris Bryant led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. But Junior Guerra fanned Victor Caratini before Pomeranz struck out Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward to end the inning.
Cubs utilityman Ben Zobrist did not play in his first game since he was activated from the restricted list Saturday night. He was standing in the on-deck circle when Tony Kemp lined out to right to end the game.
Zobrist left the team in May to be with his family while he was going through a divorce.
Milwaukee designated Jeremy Jeffress for assignment after the reliever played a key role in the Brewers’ run to the NL Championship Series last year. The right-hander, who turns 32 on Sept. 21, has struggled this season, going 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA and spending time on the injured list.
Brewers: 3B Mike Moustakas (left palm, wrist) was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game. He pinch-hit in the sixth and fouled out. … Rookie INF Keston Hiura has a Grade 2 left hamstring strain. He got hurt on Friday, and president of baseball operations David Stearns said Hiura is expected to be sidelined for two weeks. … RHP Jimmy Nelson (elbow soreness) and LHP Brent Suter (Tommy John surgery) were reinstated from the 60-day injured list.
Cubs: INF Daniel Descalso was activated from the 10-day IL. He had been sidelined by a sprained left ankle.
Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.52 ERA) starts Monday against Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.85 ERA) and Houston. Houser left Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to St. Louis because of left hip discomfort. Cole is 11-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his last 16 starts.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-9, 3.47 ERA) faces Seattle on Monday in the opener of a two-game set. Hendricks went 1-1 with a 5.20 ERA in five August starts. LHP Justus Sheffield (0-1, 7.94 ERA) makes his third career start for the Mariners.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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