MILWAUKEE – Manny PiÃ±a scored twice, Eduardo Escobar and Jace Peterson also scored, and the Milwaukee Brewers secured their fourth straight place with a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
The Brewers won for the seventh time in nine games to secure at least one wild card after San Diego and Cincinnati lost earlier in the day. Milwaukee’s magic number to secure the NL Central title is three over St. Louis.
“There’s a little partying tonight,” said Brewers starter and NL Cy Young Award contender Corbin Burnes. “But the main celebration will be when we consolidate the division.”
Burnes has been shaky by his standards in his first start since throwing eight innings in a combined no-hitter a week ago. He allowed three runs and six hits over six innings, dropping 11.
The right-handed man gave up on Ian Happ’s 23rd homer with a man in the fifth. It was the first homer Burnes allowed since August 6, when the Brandon Belt drove him down in San Francisco.
“You’re not going to be perfect every night, so sometimes zero in six is ââstill a big part of a game that helps you win a ball game,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “He did that tonight.”
PiÃ±a, Milwaukee’s backup catcher, scored the first run of the evening when he sent Justin Steele’s first pitch of the second inning into the center. Escobar followed up with a solo shot to lead the third and score a 1-1 draw.
Burnes walked out a 3-2 lead thanks to a solo home run from Peterson to lead the sixth, but the Cubs tied it off an inning later when Willson Contreras, who was deprived of a home run by Lorenzo Cain in the second, marked it Brad Boxberger for a two-out solo shot that made it a 4-4 game.
PiÃ±a struck again from the starting position in eighth position and sent a 0-2 slider from Scott Effross (2-1) over the left field line. Kolten Wong later added an insurance run in the inning, racing in Pablo Reyes on an infield single.
“I wasn’t sure if it was fair or lazy,” said PiÃ±a. âSo I used my body to say, ‘Stay in! That was a good swing, good contact. “
Devin Williams (8-2) took a goalless eighth place and Josh Hader stranded two runners in ninth place for his 33rd save.
Saturday marked the second straight night that the Cubs bullpen enabled an eighth inning rally, but Cubs manager David Ross was impressed with the way his team kept Hader under pressure in the ninth round and kicked off brought the gate position.
“We gave ourselves the chance to win both nights,” said Ross. “It didn’t turn out to be and it (stinks) for sure, but for us to have second and third places that have the chance to tie this thing in ninth place I was proud.”
The loss was the 11th
PiÃ±a’s multi-homer game continued a formidable run for the Brewers backup catcher, who hit the field on Saturday at .310 (18 for 58) with five homers and 22 RBIs in his last 22 games.
“He’s shooting in his best offensive season,” said Counsell. âIt wasn’t done with the batting average, but with power and home runs and driving in runs. He’s having a great season and he graduated tonight. “
ONLY ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE
Without the ad on the video board, the 33,625 fans on Saturday night might not even have noticed that Milwaukee had won a playoff spot.
After Hader dropped Patrick Wisdom to end the game, there was little celebration other than the usual post-game handshakes returning to the dugout, but the subdued response was intentional as the Brewers decided to wait for the NL Central title they could claim as early as Monday when the Cardinals come to Milwaukee for a four-game series.
“We have the ability to win the division under our control,” said Counsell. âThat is our goal and we are sticking to it. We know we’re in the playoffs and everyone is thrilled, but we have the right to wait until we win this division. “
Cubs: INF Nico Horner arrived in Milwaukee on Saturday and took part in punch training, but will not be activated until the Sunday before the series finale in Chicago against the Brewers. Horner has been on the road with an oblique strain since the end of July. Ross plans to make Hoerner the daily starter at Shortstop to assess progress on the 2018 first-round pick, which was limited to just 39 games this season due to injuries.
Brewers: OF Avisail Garcia (back cramps) has been removed from line-up for the third year in a row. Counsel had hoped to have Garcia back on Saturday, but after an investigation, medical staff decided Garcia was not at the point they had hoped.
The rivals end their 2021 season on Sunday when Cubs RHP Adrian Sampson (1-2, 2.53 ERA) takes on Milwaukee left-handed Eric Lauer (6-5, 3.10).