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Game #163 Recap: Late rally pushes Brewers to NL Central title over Cubs

Christian Yelich collects 3 more hits, Orlando Arcia has first career 4-hit day, and the pitching staff shuts down Chicago

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Corey Knebel (4-3); LP: Justin Wilson (4-5); Save: Josh Hader (12); Homeruns: Mil - none; Chi - Anthony Rizzo (25)

NL Central Champs Box Score

I told my wife I had to “go to work” after the final flyball landed in Keon Broxton’s glove, which is kind of a joke of mine. Well, entirely a joke. She said “just put in the score and then say ‘please comment below’. It’s like she has actually ever read BCB. Which she hasn’t.

The Milwaukee Brewers (96-67) won their eighth straight game to close out the 2018 regular season, clinching their first divisional title since 2011, beating the Chicago Cubs (95-68), 3-1. The win gives the Crew the home field edge throughout their National League run. And if the Cleveland Indians win the AL title, that’ll be home field advantage in the World Series, too.

Milwaukee outhit Chicago 12-3 but could never quite pull away from the Cubs. Seven of the Brewers’ hits came from two guys: Orlando Arcia had a four-hit game (and if you had that in the pool you should be incredibly wealthy), and Christian Yelich had three (if you had Yeli, you’d have probably just gotten your money back). Arcia led off the third with his first hit, and Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin laid down a good sac bunt with two strikes.

Jose Quintana has been tough forever against the Crew, and he retired Lorenzo Cain on a grounder up the middle that Javy Baez made a nice play on, with Lando moving to third. So it was Q against Yeli, and the Cubs had the option to walk him and face Ryan Braun. They pitched to Yeli, and his base hit up the middle gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead.

Chacin was very good. He held the Cubs without a hit until Anthony Rizzo launched an 0-1 fastball 34 of the way up the rightfield bleachers, tying things up at one. He retired the next three, then had a walk leading off the bottom of the sixth to pinch hitter Ian Happ. Jhoulys then got Willson Contreras to tap a slider back to the mound, which turned into an easy 1-6-3 double play. That was it for Chacin, and Xavier Cedeno came in for Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist.

A walk and a single later, Baez was up with the lead run on second with two down. Joakim Soria came in and fell behind 3-0, but fought back and fanned Baez on an elevated fastball to keep the score tied at 1.

Corey Knebel came in for the seventh, and had yet another 1-2-3 inning, this time with only one strikeout. That’s OK, Corey. You’ll do better next time.

In the top of the eighth against lefty Justin Wilson, Arcia led off with his third hit. Domingo Santana hit for Knebel and pulled a double down the left field line to get runners to second and third with nobody out. Steve Cishek came in to face Lorenzo Cain, and Lo lined a base hit up the middle to score Arcia for the lead.

Yelich was up next, and Randy Rosario came in to face him. Surprisingly Yeli fanned, and the crowd went wild. Brandon Kintzler came on for Braun, despite Braunie being 2-2 against him for his career. With two strikes, Ryan singled to right center for the 3-1 lead. 3 for 3.

Craig Counsell went with Josh Hader, and it was pure Haderade. The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth with two K’s. He retired the first two in the bottom of the ninth, but Baez singled to left after a long battle. Rizzo then flew out to Keon Broxton in right, and the NL Central crown belonged to the Milwaukee Brewers. Huzzah!

Now the Brewers get off until Thursday, and will get to work on putting together their roster. September ball is over; it reverts to 25 man rosters. Which is too bad, because Craig Counsell and the Brewers used their September roster better than any other team. That’s a subject for Wednesday, once we know the opponent.

Game Notes:

  • The bottom two spots in the Brewers’ order ended up with five hits, two sac bunts, a double, and all three runs scored.
  • Jhoulys Chacin had a great, great start. 5.2 innings, one hit, one run, two walks, three Ks. All of the talk before the game about how Q was a Brewer killer ignored how well Jhoulys had done all season against against the Cubs.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2018 MVP: Christian Yelich; .326 (first), 36 home runs (second), 110 RBIs (second), and his final OPS?: 1.000. Are you kidding me?
  • Enjoy your next few days. Relax. Get ready for Thursday.
  • In post game interview, Lorenzo Cain said that the team calls him Lo Battery. I find that to be awesome.