Chicago Cubs

Brewers sweep Cubs; Central lead down to 2

Milwaukee Brewers' Travis Shaw, right, rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Chicago Cubs' Kyle Hendricks during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young)
Milwaukee Brewers' Travis Shaw, right, rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Chicago Cubs' Kyle Hendricks during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young)

CHICAGO – Through good times and bad – his own and the Cubs’ – Jason Heyward always has been a go-to guy in the clubhouse.

True to form, Heyward was at his locker Sunday to try to explain a three-game sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers got a tiebreaking
two-run homer from Travis Shaw in the sixth inning to lift the Brewers to a 3-1 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With the victory, the Brewers
(75-68) pulled within two games of the first-place Cubs (77-66) in the National League Central. The St. Louis Cardinals also are two back after beating the Pirates.

The Cubs had a five-game lead entering Friday with a chance to put some distance between themselves and the Brewers.

Now, it appears the Central will be a three-team race going all the way to the wire.

In the three games at Wrigley, the Brewers outscored the Cubs, 20-3. That came on the heels of the Brewers being swept in three by the last-place Reds in Cincinnati.

“What’s happened?” Heyward asked, repeating a question to him. “Nothing happened. Baseball happened. OK, if you go over there and ask their clubhouse what happened to them when they got swept by Cincinnati, it’s the way the game goes. You go to every team, any situation, any time, if you don’t win a game or win a series, it’s baseball.

“Not saying, ‘OK, so what?’ But that’s just a part of the game. Teams are going to pitch well sometimes. Sometimes you’re not going to hit well. Sometimes the ball’s going to go at people. Sometimes it’s going to be what it is. It’s a series.”

But it’s been happening a lot to the Cubs lately, and it should be worrisome.

Beginning with a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 3, the Cubs have been outscored, 43-16, by their opponents, and that includes an 8-2 Cubs victory in Pittsburgh.

“They got us,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. “Zero runs and one run in two of the three games. In [Saturday’s 15-2 loss], we had no chance, but we definitely had chances in the others. We pitched really well. You have to pitch better than good pitching to win, and they did it.”

The Cubs outhit the Brewers, 8-7, on Sunday, but struck out 11 times and walked only once, going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. That wasted a decent pitching performance from Kyle Hendricks (6-5), who worked six innings of four-hit ball.

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