Shaw helps Brewers get extra-innings redemption with walk-off win over Cubs
MILWAUKEE — Waiting for Travis Shaw at the plate after his game-winning, two-run homer were giddy teammates holding orange Gatorade buckets.
Finally, the Milwaukee Brewers had something to celebrate in extra innings against the Chicago Cubs.
Shaw went deep with one out in the 10th inning off All-Star closer Wade Davis, and the playoff-hopeful Brewers stunned their NL Central rivals with a 4-3 victory on Saturday. The Brewers had lost the first two games of the pivotal series in 10 innings.
“It just feels good to come out on the right side of things after a couple of tough days,” Shaw said.
Milwaukee moved within 4 games of NL Central-leading Chicago and closed within one game of Colorado for the second wild-card spot.
“I mean, this is as must-win as you get,” Shaw said.
With eight days left in the regular season, the Cubs still seem to be in good shape to win a second straight division title.
But they suddenly look vulnerable in the late innings after Davis blew his first save opportunity of the year after 32 successful chances.
Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia homered off Davis (4-2) to lead off the ninth to tie the game at 2.
“There’s nothing to lament right there,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Another intensely good baseball game and they got us at the end. But there’s no way shape or form to point a finger at Wade.”
The Brewers still have a lot of work to do to make the playoffs. Whatever happens, the young team will surely benefit from another high-stakes game played in a postseason-like atmosphere.
Both sides have played good defense and pitched well. Boisterous Cubs fans showed up again in droves.
They were drowned out by the end of the afternoon by Brewers fans anxious to see their team make its first postseason appearance since 2011.
“I haven’t been able to come up with the words for this series,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “This is about as exciting as it gets.”
The Cubs had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th on Jon Jay’s RBI single off Jeremy Jeffress (4-0).
Out came Davis from the dugout for the bottom of the 10th to try to close out the game again for the Cubs.
Shaw had other plans.
Ryan Braun doubled to right with one out to set up Shaw’s heroics in the next at-bat. He hit a curveball from Davis.
“He missed with the curveball on the first pitch, and I was going to see if he’d do it again and he tried it again,” Shaw said.
Maddon used Davis for more than an inning for a second consecutive appearance. The reliever picked up the win in the series opener on Thursday when he threw 29 pitches over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Davis threw 23 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings on Saturday.
“He’s your best guy,” Maddon said. “There’s no second guessing whatsoever.”
Davis said his “arm was dragging a little bit. I just made a lot of bad pitches and good pitches for them to hit.”
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks threw a season-high 112 pitches, allowing one run and eight hits over six solid innings.
Brewers: LHP Brent Suter pitched 5 1/3 effective innings, allowing six hits including Ian Happ’s two-out RBI single in the second. He has a 1.66 ERA in four appearances since returning on Sept. 3 from a two-plus week stint on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff.
Cubs: Maddon doesn’t think LHP Jon Lester’s recent struggles are related to an injury. Lester has an 8.22 ERA with six home runs allowed in 23 innings over his last five starts. “There’s nothing wrong with him, ailment-wise. If there was, I’d be concerned. But I’m not getting that at all,” Maddon said.
Brewers: C Manny Pina missed a second straight game with a sprained left thumb.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (10-11) looks for another solid outing against the Brewers. He’s 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in three career starts against Milwaukee.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (11-3) finally gets to face the Cubs at Miller Park this season. He was 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA in three starts this year at Wrigley Field.
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