MILWAUKEE -- For the fourth time this season, Kyle Hendricks started after a Cubs extra-inning game, and for the fourth time the right-hander picked up a win. Hendricks lowered his ERA to a Major League-leading 2.07 on Monday in the Cubs' 7-2 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.
The Cubs right-hander did serve up a leadoff homer to Chris Carter in the Brewers' second, but it was the only blemish over six innings. Any time Hendricks pitches on the road it must feel as if it's 9,000 miles away, not 90 miles, which is the distance between Chicago and Milwaukee. Of course, he did get help from the large contingent of Cubs fans in the sellout crowd of 43,662.
"It was loud," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Even from the introductions, they were totally into it."
Hendricks, who is 9-1 with a 1.21 ERA at home, is now 5-6 on the road, giving up 26 earned runs over 75 2/3 innings (3.09 ERA). More important to the Cubs' bullpen, he's 4-0 this season after extra-inning games.
"He pitches. He's a complete pitcher," Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said. "In order for him to get away with stuff, he needs to be smart about it and locate his pitches. Same with [Milwaukee starter Zach] Davies. The guys who don't throw 98 [mph], they need to be a pitcher."
Is Hendricks worthy of the Cy Young Award?
"I don't think there's any doubts," Montero said. "Is anybody having a better year than him? Probably he doesn't have as many innings as other guys, but that's not his fault. He goes out there and gives you his best. The way he's been pitching, I don't see anyone pitching as good as he's been."
Montero helped his starter when he doubled and scored the tie-breaking run on Chris Coghlan's pinch single in the seventh, and Coghlan added a two-run single in a four-run eighth as the Cubs took advantage of Brewers mistakes to deal Davies a tough-luck loss after 6 2/3 well-pitched innings.
Chicago is now a season-high 41 games over .500 at 89-48, and the magic number to clinch the National League Central is 10. The Brewers, meanwhile, saw their win streak halted at four games.
"Once they got the momentum," Davies said, "they kept it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Slip-ups:Tommy La Stella, leading off in place of Dexter Fowler, walked to open the Chicago sixth, and one out later moved up when shortstop Orlando Arcia slipped fielding Anthony Rizzo's grounder and had to settle for one out at first rather than a double play. La Stella then scored on Jorge Soler's bloop single to left field to tie the game at 1.
After Montero scored the tie-breaking run in the seventh, La Stella bounced an infield single to second baseman Scooter Gennett, who tumbled backwards. The ball got away, and Coghlan scored on the error.
"Every run they scored, even the base hits [Davies] gave up, that was soft contact," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Some jam shots. If anything, they get rewarded for contact today. It wasn't hard contact, it was just contact, and they got rewarded for that."
Home sweet home: Carter matched the longest streak of his career when he homered for the third straight game, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead that lasted into the sixth. Twenty-two of Carter's 33 home runs this season have come at Miller Park. The franchise record for homers at home belongs to Richie Sexson, who hit 28 at Miller Park in 2001.
Heads up: Cubs second baseman Javier Baez made a quick tag on Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was trying to steal second, to end the fourth. Baez has almost patented that move.
But in the fifth, he got a little too aggressive on the basepaths himself. Baez singled to lead off and tried to advance on Montero's fly ball to left, but Ryan Braun threw to Gennett in time for the double play.
Tough day, kid: Arcia had chances to turn critical double plays in the sixth inning and the eighth, but he came up empty both times. After his slip in the sixth, he misplayed Jason Heyward's high chopper up the middle for a one-out error in the eighth that opened the door fo four runs in the frame.
"That's the ball I just think he didn't see well," Counsell said. "That's a double-play ball, and it's still a 3-1 game, a different story."
"It's fun to go out there with a guy who kind of throws similar. That's the fun part of our game, that you go into each start and you don't have to have the biggest stuff. If you find hitters' weaknesses and you exploit that, then you can be successful, too." -- Davies, on the matchup against Hendricks
"It's just the team, and what's cool is because of our depth and how good we are and the talent up and down the roster, any day you can impact the game to win. [Rizzo and Kris Bryant] always do, day in and day out, and that's why they're both MVP candidates, and we're pumped to have them on our team." -- Coghlan, on how the rest of the lineup made up for Rizzo and Bryant, who were a combined 0-for-9
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• This matchup featured two of baseball's best changeups. Entering the day, opponents were batting .124 (27-for-217) against Hendricks' change, the lowest mark in baseball, according to Statcast™ (min. 100 at-bats).
Davies' changeup produced the lowest average exit velocity -- 81.4 mph -- in baseball (min. 50 balls in play). More >
• Braun's solo homer off Cubs callup Jake Buchanan in the ninth gave Braun his eighth season with at least 25 home runs, extending his own franchise record. Prince Fielder is second in Brewers history with six seasons of 25-plus homers.Sammy Sosa owns the Cubs' record with 12 such seasons.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jason Hammel will make his 27th start of the season on Tuesday. He gave up three hits over six innings in his last outing against the Pirates. Hammel is 10-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 14 career starts against the Brewers. First pitch will be 7:10 p.m. CT.
Brewers:Wily Peralta is coming off his second career double-digit strikeout performance in a no-decision against the Cardinals. He is 3-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 starts against the Cubs, though he has yet to face them this season.