CHICAGO -- Miguel Montero smacked a redeeming walk-off home run leading off the 10th inning and Anthony Rizzo made an acrobatic catch to lead the Cubs to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night over the Brewers for their 12th win in the last 13 games. It was the Cubs' 11th walk-off win this season.
Milwaukee had tied the game at 2 in the ninth when Ryan Braun scored from third on a wild pitch by Hector Rondon, which Montero said he should've blocked. Braun belted his 250th career home run in the first inning, but the Cubs tied the game in the second on Kris Bryant's opposite-field blast and took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on Addison Russell's RBI single.
Montero connected off Michael Blazek for his second career walk-off hit.
"He was upset with himself [about the wild pitch] -- any catcher would be," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Montero. "You always believe it's your fault. [The home run] was kind of a redeemer right there. That ball was properly struck."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Glovework: Rizzo's spectacular catch was a highlight of the game. He jumped on top of the rolled tarp near first base, then took a step on top of the wall and the back of a seat to grab a popup by Braun with one on and one out in the sixth. Besides his balancing act on the tarp, Rizzo also made a stellar defensive play in the second. Scooter Gennett was at second with nobody out when Jean Segura bunted to Jason Hammel, who threw him out at first. Rizzo then fired to Bryant at third to get Gennett, who had rounded the bag too far. Rizzo wasn't alone. In the third, second baseman Chris Coghlan made a leaping catch to rob Jonathan Lucroy of a potential hit and end the inning. Rizzo also made a perfectly timed grab of Segura's liner in the fifth. More >
"That was one of the best plays I've ever seen in baseball," Hammel said of Rizzo's precarious play. "It was impressive."
Extra life: The Brewers missed an opportunity to put Russell away in the fifth. With two outs and a runner at second base, Milwaukee's Adam Lind and Gennett converged on Russell's popup in foul ground near the visitor's bullpen, but neither could come up with a catch. Russell smacked the very next pitch for a go-ahead single against Milwaukee starter Matt Garza, who pitched seven innings for the second straight start.
"It's a tough play," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Tough play, but makeable."
Start me up: Hammel wasn't happy about being pulled after four-plus innings in his last start, and didn't look pleased when he was lifted with two outs in the sixth Wednesday. Hammel did reach a milestone when he fanned Shane Peterson to start the sixth -- it was career strikeout No. 1,000. The right-hander scattered four hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out five in the game. More >
"I am certain he's going to be upset," Maddon said of Hammel. "I expect him to be upset. I'm happy that he's going to be upset because he's such a competitor and an outstanding pitcher."
Wanting more: Braun's single put the Brewers in business in the top of the ninth inning against Rondon, who had already thrown one wild pitch when he found himself with runners at second and third and nobody out in a one-run game. Rondon struck out Khris Davis and Gennett, then struck out Segura, too, but threw another wild pitch in the process that allowed Braun to score the tying run.Still, it felt like a missed opportunity for Milwaukee.
"We had a couple spots in the game where we had to execute, and I think with where we're at right now to win games we've got to out-execute the other team and execute the baseball plays," Counsell said. "We had a baserunning mistake early that cost us a rally. We were fortunate to tie it there in the end. But we've got to make that extra play to win a game like this."
"They've got a youth movement. They sacrificed a lot of years for, not only the city, but a bunch of guys who played here to get what they've got, but they've been adamant in sticking with their plan, and they got what they wanted. -- Garza, the former Cub talking about the buzz at Wrigley Field of late
"Of course [I've seen Derek Jeter make those kind of plays]. I don't know what baseball fan hasn't. Mine is nothing compared to his. He's all out, face in the stands. I had a nice easy landing, which I'm very lucky for. It's one of those things where instincts take over. Every little play matters." -- Rizzo on his catch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Braun had three hits and scored three runs, beginning with the first-inning solo home run off Hammel that left Braun one shy of Hall of Famer Robin Yount's franchise record for home runs. Yount hit 251 home runs during his 20-year Brewers career. More >
Cubs starting pitchers are 9-0 with a 2.38 ERA in their last 13 games.
"This is a team on a roll right now. At times, you play teams during different stretches, and this is a team that's playing well, playing with a lot of confidence right now. Everything is going their way. We have to upset that somehow." -- Counsell, on the Cubs
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Rookie right-hander Tyler Cravy will make his first career start against the Cubs when the teams finish their three-game series on Thursday. Cravy is still seeking his first big league win after three starts and one relief appearance, including a loss to the Cardinals last week in which Cravy surrendered six earned runs in five innings.
Cubs: Jon Lester is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his last four starts, and will try to keep that string going Thursday in the series finale against the Brewers. This will be Lester's fourth career start against Milwaukee and second this year. He picked up a win May 1 at Wrigley over the Brewers, throwing seven scoreless innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT. More >