MILWAUKEE – Christian Yelich sliced an opposite-field double off Brandon Kintzler to score the winning run in the ninth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, on Saturday night.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Austin reached on shortstop Addison Russell’s throwing error, and before Yelich batted, Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy came out to talk with Kintzler (3-3). Whatever was said didn’t work as Yelich had his 500th career RBI.
Yelich walked three times and swiped second each time, extending his career-best to 30 steals. He became the 10th player in major league history with 40 home runs and 30 stolen bases, a feat that’s been accomplished 12 times, the last by Ryan Braun in 2012. Yelich, who has 44 homers, was on in the first, sixth and eighth, getting the record-setting swipe off Rowan Wick.
Milwaukee pulled within three games of Chicago for the second NL wild card spot. The Cubs slipped to 3½ back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, who beat Pittsburgh, 10-1.
Brewers reliever Josh Hader (3-5) walked Anthony Rizzo with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but Yasmani Grandal lined the first pitch from reliever David Phelps into the Brewers bullpen to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
Trying to protect a 1-0 lead for Cubs starter Yu Darvish, Kyle Ryan got two quick outs in the sixth before consecutive walks and run-scoring base hit by Ben Gamel tied the game.
Darvish, who was scratched from his scheduled start Sept. 1 due to right forearm tightness, made his team-leading 28th start of the season a good one. He allowed three hits, a walk and seven strikeouts over five innings.
Gio González allowed just two hits over five innings, a harmless base hit and Russell’s ninth home run of the season. He started at short for Javier Báez who is sidelined indefinitely with a hairline fracture in his left thumb.
Cubs: SS Javy Báez has a hairline fracture in his left thumb, putting the rest of his season in jeopardy. An MRI in Chicago on Saturday revealed the extent of Báez’s injury, suffered when he slid headfirst into second base last Sunday against Milwaukee at Wrigley Field. He’ll undergo further examination with a hand specialist on Monday. The Cubs haven’t announced a timeline for his possible return.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said that C Manny Piña has a concussion and would not play this weekend. Piña left Thursday’s game after taking a foul ball off the mask. ... 3B Mike Moustakas, who missed his three consecutive games because his sore left hand, came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the seventh. ... Braun was out with a sore back.