It was the first time the Cubs won a game in which their only two hits were homers since April 14, 1985, when Jody Davis and Gary Matthews went deep in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Expos.
Milwaukee’s Rowdy Tellez tied the game with a leadoff homer in the ninth off Brandon Hughes, but the Brewers squandered chances to close it out in the ninth and 10th. They went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s a frustrating night, for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We got runners on early not much kind of middle of the game, did a nice job in the ninth and the 10th but didn’t capitalize on really big opportunities.”
The Brewers had runners on first and second in the ninth after Keston Hiura reached on an error by shortstop Nico Hoerner and Luis Urías walked, but the Brewers couldn’t get the winning run across. Mark Leiter Jr. got Victor Caratini to fly to left, and Sean Newcomb (2-0) retired Kolten Wong and Christian Yelich.
Chicago then regained the lead when Williams allowed a homer for just the second time this season. The other occurred when Bryan Reynolds hit a game-ending drive for Pittsburgh in an 8-7 loss on Aug. 3.
“Not a good pitch,” Williams said. “He’s sitting changeup, and I hung it right down the middle.”
The Brewers got a one-out RBI single from Hunter Renfroe in the 10th that cut Chicago’s lead to 4-3 and put runners on first and second. The runners advanced on a wild pitch, and a Tellez walk loaded the bases.
Pinch-hitter Jace Peterson then sent a grounder to second baseman Nick Madrigal, who tagged Tellez out and threw to first to complete the game-ending double play.
Manuel Rodríguez earned the save in his first appearance of the season. Rodríguez, who has been dealing with an elbow issue, was activated from the 60-day injured list earlier in the day.
Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta pitched six hitless innings, departing with a 1-0 lead after 82 pitches. It was Peralta’s fifth appearance since coming off the IL after missing over two months with a right lat strain.
“Our goal is to have Freddy make eight more really good starts,” Counsell said. “We’re not going to push him at a time when it’s a little questionable whether he should be out there again.”
Peralta said he didn’t want to come out but he felt it was the right decision.
The Cubs are 10-7 against the Brewers this season after losing 15 of 19 meetings in last year’s season series. Nine of the matchups have been decided by one run, and the Cubs are 7-2 in those games.
Milwaukee has slid out of playoff position after leading the NL Central for much of the year in part because of its struggles against the bottom three teams in the division. The Brewers are 3-12 in their last 15 matchups with the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Justin Steele, one of the NL’s hottest pitchers, left with lower back tightness after retiring Renfroe on a fly to the warning track to start the bottom of the sixth. Steele struck out six, walked four and allowed four hits, including a Tyrone Taylor homer in the fifth.
“It’s still a little bit tight, but it definitely got better once we started working on it a little bit and stuff,” Steele said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
In his last six starts, Steele has allowed just three earned runs over 31 2/3 innings. He entered Friday’s game with a 1.47 ERA since June 29 to lead all NL starters over that stretch.
BREAKING THE TIE
The Cubs’ victory gave them a 208-207 lead in the all-time series between the teams.
Cubs: Transferred RHP Alec Mills (back) to the 60-day injured list and optioned RHP Kervin Castro to Triple-A Iowa.
Brewers: RHP Trevor Rosenthal, who hasn’t pitched since 2020, is getting examined after leaving his last rehabilitation assignment early with lat soreness. The Brewers acquired Rosenthal from the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline and have been hoping he could join their bullpen for the final month of the season. … Peterson was activated from the injured list. He hadn’t played since July 17 due to an elbow issue.
LHP Drew Smyly (5-7, 3.47 ERA) starts for the Cubs and RHP Brandon Woodruff (9-3, 3.51) pitches for the Brewers on Saturday.
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