Sweep success: Hammel leads Cubs past Crew

Sweep success: Hammel leads Cubs past Crew

CHICAGO -- Jason Hammel continued his stingy ways, and got some stellar help from his defense, including daredevil first baseman Anthony Rizzo, as the Cubs beat the Brewers, 4-1, on Tuesday night to sweep the doubleheader. Chicago won Tuesday's first game at Wrigley Field, 4-0.

Javier Baez smacked a two-run homer, and Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant each hit RBI singles for the Cubs, who held the Brewers scoreless for more than 17 innings over the two games before Hernan Perez hit a solo home run off Travis Wood with two outs in the ninth inning of the nightcap.

After Chris Carter followed with a single, the Cubs called upon Aroldis Chapman, who eventually recorded the final out -- a bases-loaded strikeout of Martin Maldonado -- for his second save of the day.

Chapman earns the save

Rizzo showed no fear in the fifth when he jumped onto the brick wall near the tarp to catch a popup. Hammel helped himself defensively in the sixth after he had walked Scooter Gennett with one out. The right-hander got Ramon Flores to hit a comebacker, and then Hammel turned a 1-6-3 double play.

What was Cubs manager Joe Maddon thinking as his All-Star first baseman was teetering on the ledge?

"Just that he would stick the landing," Maddon said. "I was hoping for at least a 9.5 from the Luxembourg judge. It was a great play. He did a nice job of getting there."

It's the first doubleheader sweep since Sept. 11 last year against the Phillies, and first at home since July 7, 2015, when the Cubs took two against the Cardinals. The Cubs now have won 16 of their last 19 games, and are 22-8 since the All-Star break, the best record in the Major Leagues.

Milwaukee not only lost both games, it lost starter Chase Anderson and left fielder Ryan Braun to injuries. Bryant lined a ball off Anderson's left leg that knocked him out of the game in the first after just 11 pitches, while Ryan Braun limped off the field with a a sprained left knee and a sprained ankle after sliding into the wall in foul territory.

"It's a long day," Braun said. "Obviously, everybody is here for a long time, and it's a lot more fun when you win at least one of the two games in a doubleheader. When you lose both games, and you're here for 15, 16 hours, that's a long day."

Baez's two-run home run

Start me up: Hammel gave up two hits over seven innings, striking out seven. He has not given up a run in his last 22 innings, and has won six straight starts for the first time in his career. The right-hander, now 8-1 at Wrigley Field, apparently is over the second-half struggles he's had in the past, improving to 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA (four earned runs over 38 innings) since the All-Star break.

Hammel's scoreless start

"When he fell behind, he made pitches when he had to," Cubs catcher David Ross said of Hammel. "He was throwing strike one, being aggressive. I think that's a better lineup than people give them credit for."

Can't buy a run: The Brewers' scoreless streak chugged along in the fourth inning thanks to some quick reflexes from the Cubs' middle infielders. With two on and two outs, Ross tried to throw behind the runner at second base but was wild. Second baseman Ben Zobrist was able to recover the baseball and flip it to shortstop Baez, who dove toward the bag to retire Chris Carter before the big Brewers first baseman could reach second. The out ended the inning, and by the eighth, the Brewers had played 17 innings without scoring.

"We're struggling sustaining some rallies and putting at-bats together with men on base," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But we'll just keep at it."

Cirque du Soleil: Rizzo showed his acrobatic skills in the fifth. With one out, Rizzo chased Keon Broxton's popup in foul territory near the rolled up tarp, then stepped onto the ledge in front of the fans, leaned over, and caught the ball. Somehow, he maintained his balance and jumped back onto the field. The Brewers have seen this before. On Aug. 13, 2015, Rizzo jumped onto the rolled tarp next to the brick wall, and stepped into the seats, yet somehow was able to catch Braun's popup.

Rizzo's amazing grab

"He lives for those moments," Zobrist said of Rizzo. "When he sniffs that, he can't wait to get up on that wall and try to do that. You could tell it was a fun moment for him and the crowd."

Losing Anderson after 11 pitches presented the Brewers one immediate problem, and losing Braun three innings later presented another. Braun injured his left knee and one of his ankles sliding hard into the padded wall along the left-field line in an effort to catch a foul ball. He walked in the outfield with head athletic trainer Dan Wright and Counsell before slowly turning toward the dugout. Braun was 0-for-3 Tuesday, including a pinch-hit flyout in Game 1, but he entered the day hitting .392 with nine home runs over his last 22 games.

Braun exits with injury

Anderson, meanwhile, was diagnosed with a bruised left quad from the 107-mph Bryant comebacker that struck him two batters into the bottom of the first. Anderson tried to remain in the game, but was forced to exit after a few practice tosses from the mound.

Anderson leaves the game

"I thought our bullpen did a heck of a job. Your bullpen starts covering in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader, and keeps you in the ballgame, they did a really nice job. We hung in there, and then we gave ourselves a chance in the ninth inning. I was proud of them for doing that." -- Counsell, praising the work of relievers Jhan Marinez, Blaine Boyer, Rob Scahill, Corey Knebel and Tyler Thornburg in Game 2

With one out in the Chicago fifth, Matt Szczur tried to score from second on Rizzo's single and was called out after a strong throw home from Braun's replacement, Ramon Flores. The Cubs challenged the ruling, and after a review, it was ruled that the call stands and Szczur was out.

"Ramon's throw kept us in the game," Counsell said.

Flores nabs Szczur

Brewers: Entering Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. CT start at Wrigley, Jimmy Nelson has lost his past five starts, and he has a 7.43 ERA in that span. He's 0-5 lifetime against the Cubs in 10 games (eight starts), despite a 2.91 ERA in those outings.

Cubs: Jon Lester will start Wednesday, making his 24th start of the season. The lefty is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his last three starts. He has 18 quality starts so far. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.