CHICAGO — After the Milwaukee Brewers were swept in a three-game series at Wrigley Field, manager Craig Counsell was asked diplomatically following the finale Thursday if his team simply ran into a hot team at the wrong time.
His reply wasn’t quite so diplomatic.
"No, we got our butts kicked," he said. "I mean, it’s pretty simple. The Cubs are playing well, but we got our butts kicked."
Kyle Schwarber hit two homers and drove in four runs, Jon Lester won his fourth straight decision and the Chicago Cubs beat the Brewers 9-2 for their seventh victory in a row.
Schwarber, Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo each homered in the fifth inning as Chicago won for the 13th time in 14 games. The Cubs’ winning streak is their longest since 2011.
The Cubs, holding the lead for the second NL wild-card spot, completed their first undefeated homestand of at least seven games since 2008. They began this stay at Wrigley Field by sweeping four from San Francisco, then took three from the Brewers.
"The guys are absolutely jacked up, there’s no question," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "But we’ve got to take care of Friday tomorrow. That’s it.
"It’s a nice mix right now. The vibe’s good; we’ve got to keep it going."
Schwarber later connected in the seventh and has two multihomer performances in 31 games of his first season in the majors. Fellow rookie Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to 10 games and Chris Denorfia later added the Cubs’ fifth homer of the day.
"He’s a really good young hitter," Counsell said of Schwarber. "I think the best thing you can say about him is he’s stepped into the league and he’s already a guy you have to look out for. He’s established himself quickly as a middle-of-the-order-type presence and somebody you have to manage around. Obviously, he’s got big power."
Lester (8-8) struck out 10 in six innings. He gave up two runs and seven hits.
Milwaukee starter Tyler Cravy (0-4) limited the Cubs to one run before the fifth inning. Before he was yanked with one out in the fifth inning, he had allowed four runs on four hits.
"That third time through, the lineup they got to him," Counsell said.
Cravy acknowledged that the Cubs were taking better swings the third time around.
"You’re trying to read the swings," he said. "If the hitter fouls it off, you try to shy away from that pitch. I feel like we should have doubled up on some pitches; make them put it in play."