Cubs beat Brewers, try to keep up in race to host wild card

MILWAUKEE (AP) The Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 on Friday night behind six strong innings from Jake Arrieta, but failed to gain ground in their bid to host the NL wild card game against Pittsburgh.

Anthony Rizzo had two hits and three RBIs, including a solo homer into the Cubs bullpen in right in the fourth off Ariel Pena (2-1).

Arrieta (22-6) allowed two singles and stuck out seven in his final tuneup before the postseason. His ERA dropped to 1.77.

His next start will likely come against Pittsburgh in the NL wild card game. The Pirates are in prime position to host that game with a two-game lead over the Cubs with two games left in the regular season after defeating Cincinnati 6-4 in 12 innings later Friday.

In Milwaukee, the Brewers finally broke through after Arrieta yielded to the bullpen in the seventh. Khris Davis hit a homer, his 27th, off Trevor Cahill.

Otherwise, it felt like Wrigley Field North at times on Friday with all the Cubs fans at Miller Park cheering on another dominating outing by Arrieta. The Cy Young Award contender improved to 11-0 since Aug. 1.

Chicago added two runs in the fifth after Milwaukee center fielder Logan Schafer bumped into right fielder Domingo Santana while going for a routine fly ball. The ball bounced off a glove and fell to the ground, allowing Kris Bryant to reach on an error and load the bases for Rizzo.

The left-handed slugger roped a two-run single to center for a 4-0 lead.

Pena allowed five hits, two walks and four runs while striking out six in 4 1/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t going to get Arrieta out of his routine even though the Cubs had already clinched a playoff berth, so having his ace skip his start was not an option. ”We have to keep him in some sort of routine right now. He’s a routine freak. And we’re still vying for home field position,” Maddon said.

Brewers: The lineup has been unsettled this season in part because of injuries. The team had used 126 different lineup combinations going into Friday’s game, the 160th of the season. C Jonathan Lucroy (toe, concussion) and OF Ryan Braun (lower back) are among key players who have missed time.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-7) is 1-1 in three starts against the Brewers this season, including a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings over two starts at Miller Park.

Brewers: It could be a bullpen day on Saturday with RHP Tyler Wagner (0-1) on the hill. He has yet to make it past the fourth inning in either of his two starts.

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP