Braun knocks in 4 in Crew's win over Cubs

Braun knocks in 4 in Crew's win over Cubs

MILWAUKEE -- Jason Hammel had won 10 of his previous 14 starts against the Brewers and Anthony Rizzo gave him a boost to a potential 11th when he smacked a home run in the first. But the Brewers answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning, more than they had scored in any previous start against Hammel. And that's all they needed.

Jonathan Villar hit a leadoff home run and Domingo Santana added a two-run single in the five-run first and Ryan Braun drove in four runs -- including three on his 26th home run in the sixth -- to lead the Brewers to a 12-5 victory on Tuesday night over the Cubs, who will file this away as a rare clunker.

Complacency not an issue for Cubs

"We come to work every day," Villar said. "We've come to work for the last month. We're going to finish it hard; that's what we're like as a team."

Wily Peralta denied the Cubs their 90th win despite serving up three home runs, including two by Rizzo, who added a two-run shot in the eighth for his 12th career multihomer game and third this season. Miguel Montero also hit a solo homer with two outs in the second. Peralta struck out six over 7 2/3 innings and collected his first win since Aug. 14.

Montero's solo roundtripper

"All of my starts since I've come up have given me confidence, because I'm throwing the ball better, I've been executing my pitches better," said Peralta, who has a 3.35 ERA in six starts since being recalled from Triple-A. "That's what I need to do."

Braun's homer was his fourth off Hammel, tied for his highest career total against any one pitcher. Hernan Perez finished with a career-high four hits, including a two-run single in the eighth.

Perez's four-hit game vs. Cubs

It was a tough outing for Hammel.

"Too many pitches up in the zone," Hammel said. "I didn't set the tone for us early. This one is on me, and obviously, it doesn't sit well. We're fortunate to have a comfortable lead now, and we'll just brush this off now and move on."

Batting around: The Brewers did not make an unproductive out in the first inning until their ninth batter -- Peralta -- struck out swinging, one pitch after hitting a bloop down the right-field line that landed just foul. It was already 5-1 by then thanks to Villar's third career leadoff home run, Braun's go-ahead single, Santana's two-run single and Martin Maldonado's sacrifice fly. By scoring five times on six hits and a walk, the Brewers scored more runs against Hammel in that single inning than they had managed in any of his previous 14 starts against them.

"That was a big offensive night, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We haven't had a first inning like that, and we kind of got Hammel out of his rhythm to start the game and we took advantage of it. We hit 10 guys in the first inning. That's a first inning you can have against a guy who's been tough against us, but if you can get to them before they get into their rhythm, you have to take advantage of that."

Brewers plate five in the 1st

Cold night for Hammel: Hammel had opened the season's second half with six straight wins, ending questions about his past second-half struggles. But since then he's been hot and cold. He was upset after being pulled early on Aug. 27 against the Dodgers, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. In his next start, he held the Pirates to one run over six innings. On Tuesday he served up a season-high 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has shrugged off questions about his postseason rotation, waiting until the team actually clinches before discussing who will make the roster. This outing won't affect Hammel.

"It's not an audition -- he's got 14 wins this year," Maddon said. "He's had a nice season. Everybody has bad moments. I don't worry about things like that." More >

Wily, Wily good: Peralta has held down the National League's No. 2 and 3 scoring teams in consecutive starts. He struck out 10 Cardinals while limiting St. Louis to one run on three hits in seven innings on Aug. 30, then came back on Tuesday against a Cubs lineup that entered the night averaging 5.03 runs per game, second in the league to the Rockies. When Peralta retired Chris Coghlan leading off the eighth, he became the first Brewers starter to record an out past the seventh inning since Junior Guerra on July 29.

"He just continues to pitch well since he's been back," Counsell said. "He's doing his job, and it's coming out good." More >

Peralta whiffs Baez for sixth K

Jason's jump: There weren't many highlights for the Cubs, but Jason Heyward showed off his leaping ability in the second when he robbed Braun of a potential extra-base hit. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Heyward perfectly timed his jump at the right-field wall to snare Braun's fly ball for the second out.

"It was a nice play -- that's what he does every day," Rizzo said.

Heyward's leaping catch

"I don't know why I see him so well, because he has really good stuff. I just see the ball and put good swings on him." -- Rizzo, on Peralta, against whom he is 16-for-32 with three doubles, seven homers in his career

"I have to face him a couple more times, probably a thousand more times, I don't know. I'm going to try to find a way to get him out." -- Peralta, on Rizzo

The Brewers' 13 hits against Hammel were tied for the third-most allowed by a starter this season. Peralta is also among the seven pitchers to allow 13 hits in a game this season, doing so against the Marlins on May 1.

Leading off the Chicago ninth, pinch-hitter Albert Almora Jr. dropped a ball down the right field line that was called foul. The Cubs felt it was fair and challenged the ruling, and after a review, the call stood.

Call stands in 9th

Cubs: Lefty Mike Montgomery will make his fourth start for the Cubs on Wednesday in the series finale. He did not get a decision in his last outing, against the Giants, giving up three earned runs over four innings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.

Brewers: Matt Garza will face his former team on Wednesday when the Brewers and Cubs complete their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. CT. Garza is 1-4 with a 4.29 ERA in seven career starts against the Cubs, including a loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Aug. 16 at Wrigley Field in which he surrendered three runs in five innings.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for 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 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.