MILWAUKEE -- Brandon Woodruff pitched another gem and the Milwaukee Brewers made the most of their two hits, hanging on to edge the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Tuesday night for their season-high seventh straight win.
A day after battering Chicago 14-4, the Brewers extended their NL Central lead to five games. The second-place Cubs lost their fifth in a row.
Chicago had not dropped a game when allowing two hits or fewer since a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers on Aug. 4, 2013.
Milwaukee managed to win with just an RBI double by Christian Yelich in the first inning and an RBI single by Jace Peterson in the fourth. Both runs were walked aboard by Zach Davies (5-5), making his first start against his former team.
Woodruff (7-3) allowed one run on four hits in six innings, striking out eight and nudging his ERA down from 1.89 to 1.87. In four starts against Chicago this season, he is 2-0 with a 0.72 ERA, allowing two earned runs in 25 innings.
“Obviously, facing them three times this year, tonight was the fourth, I had a pretty good idea what they wanted to do,” Woodruff said. “Tonight, I think they were just a little more patient, a little more passive early in the counts, and I wasn’t getting ahead for most of the night it felt like.”
Brent Suter and Jake Cousins pitched the seventh, Brad Boxberger worked the eighth and Josh Hader finished for his 20th save in 20 opportunities.
Hader allowed a one-out single to Joc Pederson and walked Willson Contreras, but then struck out Javier Baez got pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton on a bouncer to first.
Davies gave up two runs on two hits with three walks in four innings. Davies won 43 games in his five seasons with Milwaukee, including a 17-9 record in 2017, before being traded to San Diego following the 2019 season.
Davies said he felt no extra pressure in facing the Brewers for the first time.
“Just another game, really,” Davies said. “Go out there and try and compete and try to win a ballgame.”
Chicago tied it in the fourth when Baez tripled and Patrick Wisdom delivered a one-out double. Jason Heyward walked, but Woodruff struck out Sergio Alcantara and got Eric Sogard on a pop out.
“You’ve just got to take a breath, kind of be in the moment, try to make a pitch and just limit the damage,” Woodruff said. “I was able to do that.”
The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but failed to capitalize. Cousins relieved with a runner on first and two outs and walked Contreras and hit Baez with a pitch, but then struck out Ian Happ.
Chicago, which stranded 12, also had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth when Sogard lined into an inning-ending double play.
“You’ve got to give credit to their guys making pitches, but if we want to win, we’ve got to come through with men on base,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Cubs: Kris Bryant, bothered by a sore right side sustained while diving for a ball over the weekend against the Dodgers, was not in the lineup. 1B Anthony Rizzo, who left Saturday’s game against Los Angeles with a tight lower back, also was out, but is improving, Ross said.
Brewers: 2B Kolten Wong, bothered by left calf tightness, took groundballs and batting practice, but was out of the lineup for the third straight game. “We’re going to avoid the injured list here, I think we kind of know that at this point, but as far as his availability or starting a game tomorrow, no decisions on that yet,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
ASHBY TO START
Highly touted prospect Aaron Ashby is being called up from Triple-A Nashville to make his major league debut with a start against the Cubs. The 23-year-old left-hander, nephew of former major league pitcher Andy Ashby, was 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA at Nashville in 12 games, including six starts. “I’m comfortable with whatever they want to do,” said Ashby, recently moved to the bullpen at Triple-A. “That’s kind of why the move to the pen was what it was, so that I’m comfortable doing whatever they needed me to do. So, come here tomorrow and start this game and give these guys some quality innings.”
Selected LHP Adam Morgan from Triple-A Iowa and RHP pitcher Trevor Megill was optioned to Iowa. INF Matt Duffy was transferred to the 60-day injured list. RHP Ryan Tepera was placed on 10-day IL (left calf strain). RHP Tommy Nance was recalled from Iowa. Morgan relieved to start the eighth inning.
LHP prospect Aaron Ashby has been called up to start the series finale on Wednesday. RHP Jake Arrieta (5-8, 5:32 ERA) starts for the Cubs.
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