Suter, Knebel shut down Cubs, lead Brewers to 2-1 win
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers called on Brent Suter to slow down the surging Chicago Cubs in the opener of a pivotal three-game series Friday night.
Suter responded by tossing seven scoreless innings in a career-long outing as the Brewers slipped past the Cubs 2-1 to move within one-half game of first place in the National League Central.
"It was probably one of the biggest starts of my life and to come through and get the team a win, it feels good," Suter said, a broad smile flashing across his face.
Suter (2-1), who moved into the rotation earlier this month as a replacement for the injured Chase Anderson, limited the Cubs to four hits.
"He's done what Chase was doing, if not even more," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been outstanding. He's really picked us up. We've found a player."
Suter struck out five and walked one.
"We could not get anything going against Suter," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He was outstanding, mixing speeds. He really knows what he's doing out there."
Milwaukee pushed across a run in the second on Manny Pina's run-scoring groundout.
In the fourth, Hernan Perez led off with a sharp grounder to the right side that Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo fielded cleanly. Rizzo was slow to get to his feet, however, and his feed to Jose Quintana covering the base was late. Initially called out, Perez was awarded first after a brief review.
Perez later scored on a fielder's choice.
The Brewers didn't have a base runner after the fourth inning.
Javier Baez's solo homer with one out in the eighth off newly acquired reliever Anthony Swarzak cut the lead to 2-1.
Corey Knebel notched his 18th save in 23 attempts, striking out pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber with the tying run on third.
The Brewers appeared poised to extend the lead in the third off Quintana (2-1). Domingo Santana led off with a liner to center that Albert Almora dropped for a two-base error. Ryan Braun followed with a deep drive to right. Jason Heyward reached above the fence to rob Braun of a homer. Braun stared toward Heyward, shaking his head in disbelief.
"I think he's probably the best defensive right fielder in baseball," Braun said. "I don't think anybody else catches that ball."
Quintana, making his third start with the Cubs after being acquired in a trade with the White Sox on July 13, gave up four hits and two runs in six innings. He struck out six and walked three.
"Today was really hard for me in the first few innings," Quintana said. "You try to keep the game close and wait for a comeback."
Quintana slashed a pitch from Suter to right field in the third for his first career hit. He had been hitless in 29 career at-bats. "I'm not a hitter," Quintana said.
Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw stretched far into the Cubs dugout to snag a foul ball by pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist in the eighth. "I didn't realize I had caught it," Shaw said. "That was as far as I could reach. If I'm not getting any hits, they aren't getting any hits."
NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR ON HAND
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, took in the game. His son, Andrew, works in the Brewers baseball operations department.
The Brewers recalled RHP Paolo Espino from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned RHP Michael Blazek, who surrendered six home runs, including five in the third inning, in Thursday's loss. RHP Rob Scahill accepted an outright assignment to Colorado Springs.
Cubs: Schwarber, who has been dealing with a stiff back, didn't start but Maddon said the decision wasn't based on Schwarber's health. "It had been bothering him for a couple days, but it didn't bother him yesterday," Maddon said. "And today's lineup was generated prior to yesterday's game."
Brewers: Anderson (left oblique strain) is scheduled to pitch a bullpen session on Saturday, Counsell said. The Brewers are hoping to have Anderson, who has been out since late June, return to the rotation by the second half of August. ... Jon Jay's bunt attempt in the sixth bounced off the plate and struck Pina near the throat. Pina remained in the game.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (4-3) will make his second start after a seven-week stint on the disabled list with right hand tendinitis. He is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six career starts at Miller Park.
Brewers: Junior Guerra (1-4) is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two career starts against the Cubs, both coming last season in Milwaukee.