Rizzo, Soler drive in 2 as surging Cubs beat Brewers 6-3
CHICAGO (AP) Whether they're playing the defending World Series champions or a last-place team, it doesn't seem to matter to the Chicago Cubs.
They just keep winning.
Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler each drove in two runs, Dan Haren picked up his first victory for the Cubs and Chicago won for the 11th time in 12 games, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Tuesday night.
The Brewers, last in the NL Central, announced earlier in the day that Doug Melvin is moving into an advisory role after 13 years as general manager.
The Cubs, meanwhile, continue to roll.
They moved 15 games over .500 at 63-48 and pulled within 2 1/2 of Pittsburgh for the first wild card. Most of all, there was no letdown against a struggling team after the Cubs swept four games from defending champion San Francisco.
''We kind of like have blinders on right now,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''We're just playing the game. We're trying to beat the game through execution. It doesn't matter who's on the other side.''
Haren (8-7), acquired from Miami on July 31, pitched into the sixth.
Rizzo had two hits, including an RBI double, and drew a bases-loaded walk. He is 19 for 42 in his past 12 games.
Soler extended his hitting streak to 10, and Chicago took advantage of three errors along with some wild pitching on the way to yet another win.
Soler singled and scored in a three-run second that was aided by two errors. Rizzo added an RBI double in the third before Chicago chased Taylor Jungmann (6-4).
''Regardless, I have to make pitches and I didn't put myself in many situations to make pitches,'' Jungmann said. ''You can't make pitches in 2-0 counts, 3-0 counts. They're sitting on stuff.''
Chicago added two in the fourth to make it a five-run game after Milwaukee scored in the top half.
Tyler Thornburg walked Rizzo with the bases loaded and hit Soler in the elbow to force in another run, putting the Cubs up 6-1.
Haren, making his second start for Chicago, gave up three runs and five hits. He left to cheers with one out in the sixth after striking out Jonathan Lucroy following a two-run homer by Adam Lind.
Four relievers combined to shut out the Brewers the rest of the way. James Russell worked the ninth for his first save in three chances, with closer Hector Rondon getting the night off.
Jungmann lasted 2 2/3 innings in his shortest outing, allowing four runs - two earned - and five hits. He walked three and struck out three.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Starlin Castro, no longer Chicago's everyday shortstop, came through with a highlight reel catch in his first career appearance at second base.
The three-time All-Star entered the game in the sixth. And with one out in the ninth, he raced down the right field line and made a sliding catch near the wall on Elian Herrera's foul pop.
''You won't be able to tell (he's down on himself),'' Rizzo said. ''But as a competitor, as his friend, I know.''
Brewers: The Brewers held OF Ryan Braun out of the lineup because of a back issue that flared up during the series against San Francisco two weeks ago. Manager Craig Counsell saw a chance to give the six-time All-Star and 2011 NL MVP two days' of rest with an off day Monday, although he did pinch hit in this game.
Cubs: The Cubs activated INF Tommy La Stella (strained right oblique) from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. Acquired from Atlanta in November, he has been limited to two games with the Cubs.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (6-12, 4.95 ERA) meets his former team for the second time this month. He gave up three runs over six innings in a loss to the Cubs on Aug. 1, then dominated in a win over San Diego.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.17), unhappy about a quick hook from Maddon against San Francisco last week, starts for Chicago.