CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant, Ernie Banks, Sammy Sosa, Anthony Rizzo and Ron Santo now have something in common, and it's not just that they all played for the Cubs. Bryant had five hits, including his 29th and 30th home runs, and five RBIs to lead the Cubs to a 9-6 victory on Thursday over the Brewers that completed a four-game sweep and improved the club's home record to an MLB-best 45-19.
Bryant tied his career high with the five hits and missed hitting for the cycle by a triple. He singled in the first and belted a two-run homer in the third, an RBI double in the fourth, a solo homer in the sixth and another RBI single in the eighth. It was his sixth career multihomer game and third this year. Bryant joined Banks, Sosa, Rizzo and Santo in becoming the fifth Cubs player to reach 30 homers at the age of 24 or younger.
"It was one of those days that went by too quick," Bryant said. "You really have to enjoy a 5-for-5 day; they don't happen too much. It just felt like a great day overall. A fun day to hit, that's for sure."
Jake Arrieta got the win, but it wasn't pretty. The ace right-hander, who walked a career-high seven batters over 5 2/3 innings, served up a three-run homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis and a solo drive to Hernan Perez. The five runs were the most allowed by Arrieta in 12 home starts this year. Cubs starting pitchers are 12-0 in 17 games since July 31.
Zach Davies had been the Brewers' best pitcher, with a 9-5 record coming into the game, but he gave up seven runs over four innings and took the loss. The Brewers have dropped 24 of their last 32 road games.
"It was a good day to be a hitter; the wind was blowing out," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We did a good job against Arrieta. It's a day where we didn't get a lot of hits against him, but the walks made a difference. Getting on base against him made a difference. Really, we just couldn't slow down the top of their lineup today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED First things first: In Wednesday's win, the Cubs scored five runs in the first inning, and they got off to a quick start on Thursday, too. With one out, Bryant singled and reached third on Rizzo's double before scoring on Ben Zobrist's groundout. Addison Russell added an RBI single for his 74th RBI of the season. The Cubs have outscored opponents, 80-45, in the first inning this season.
A hit, and some runs: The Brewers didn't have a hit before Arrieta wavered in the fourth. With two outs, Perez worked a walk and stole second base. Chris Carter came back from an 0-2 count to walk, too. That brought to the plate Nieuwenhuis, who entered the day with a .126/.263/.200 slash line and one home run in road games, versus .293/.385/.571 with nine homers at home. He turned around a 94-mph fastball and sent it to the bleachers in right-center field, temporarily cutting Milwaukee's deficit to 5-3.
"The first few innings, [Arrieta] was starting it off middle-middle, and he's got such good run on his ball and good movement on his slider that he was letting it go both ways," Nieuwenhuis said. "I think it got away from him a little bit in the fourth. But the first few innings, he was pretty sharp."
Walk this way: When Jonathan Villar worked a two-out walk against Spencer Patton with the bases loaded in the sixth to cut Milwaukee's deficit to 7-5, it gave the Brewers nine walks in the game. They finished with 10, the fourth time this season they've drawn that many in a game. The Crew's 462 walks rank second in the Majors -- to the Cubs, who have drawn 494.
"I think we did a good job of bringing in players this offseason that kind of started it," Counsell said. "Other guys have started to understand it and have bought into it and have grinded out at-bats. We've done a good job. We're getting to three-ball counts frequently, a lot of guys are hitting in 3-2 counts and we're making them work. It's a good start and a good step that our offense has taken, for sure."
Penmanship: Patton saved the day with his relief outing. The Cubs' bullpen was gassed, and manager Joe Maddon had hoped Arrieta would go deep to save some guys work. Instead, Patton was needed to pitch two innings, Justin Grimm went one-third of an inning and Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight opportunities since joining the Cubs. Maddon said he expected the relievers to be back on track for the three-game series in Colorado that starts on Friday.
"I would've liked to be a lot better," Arrieta said. "It wasn't the best effort, for sure."
"We're seeing signs of growth from him, which is a real positive. This is as good a series as he's had. … In terms of the quality of his at-bats and making pitchers work and making hard contact, it finished up with the Chapman at-bat. It's fun to watch a player that's started at the waiver-claim point and now has become a legitimate hitter who could be in any lineup." -- Counsell, on infielder/outfielder Perez, who capped a 12-pitch battle with Chapman in the ninth by lining a single to left field. Perez is hitting .319 with seven homers since the All-Star break
"Maybe 'Bryzzo' could be named MVP." -- Maddon, on whether Bryant or Rizzo deserves the honor
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cubs are 34 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 27, 2008 (97-63), which was the next-to-last game of that season.
The Brewers loaded the bases in the sixth, and rookie catcher Willson Contreras threw to first in an attempt to pick off Keon Broxton, who was called safe. The Cubs challenged the ruling, and after a review, it was determined that the call would stand. Contreras had picked off Ramon Flores in the fifth.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Milwaukee heads west for a three-game Interleague series against the Mariners that starts on Friday at 9:10 p.m. CT. Left-hander Brent Suter, a 31st-round Draft pick in 2012, will make his Major League debut, becoming the first southpaw to start a game for Milwaukee in nearly three years.
Cubs:Kyle Hendricks has thrived at home. How will he do on the road? The right-hander will open a three-game series at Colorado on Friday. He's 7-1 with a 1.22 ERA in his last 11 outings (10 starts). First pitch is 7:40 p.m. CT.