Peralta, Crew send Cubs to rare home series loss

Peralta, Crew send Cubs to rare home series loss

CHICAGO -- The Brewers were rude house guests at Wrigley Field this weekend. They won on Thursday to postpone the Cubs' celebration for winning the National League Central, then beat Jake Arrieta on Saturday to spoil his attempt at a possible 20-win season. On Sunday, Wily Peralta and Co. ruined Kyle Hendricks' day.

Peralta earned his first career win at Wrigley Field in six starts and helped himself with an RBI single, and Chris Carter smacked his 36th home run in the Brewers' 3-1 victory over the Cubs to take the series, three games to one. It's the first time the Cubs have lost a series at home since dropping two of three to the Reds from July 4-6. Milwaukee improved to 11-6 in September.

"Our guys just keep doing it," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "So, as much as anything, it just speaks to them finishing the season and finishing it strong. [They're] continuing to play well and at a high level. Obviously, we're playing good teams. These are really good teams."

Maldonado's RBI single

Milwaukee, which blew a ninth-inning lead Friday, won a road series for just the fourth time this season. The Brewers finished the season series against the Cubs 8-11, and won five of the final six games.

Hendricks began the day with the best ERA at home in the Major Leagues and had given up two earned runs over 40 2/3 innings in his previous six starts at Wrigley Field, yet the Brewers matched that in the second inning, including Peralta's single.

"This team is playing good baseball now," Hendricks said of the Brewers. "They're aggressive, but then they'll surprise you at times and be patient. It's good for you, because every team that comes in here will be coming for us and it's always a test."

With the Nationals' loss to the Braves, the Cubs' magic number to clinch home-field advantage through the National League Championship Series was reduced to seven.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big fly: Carter struck out in his first three at-bats to set a single-season high in strikeouts for the Brewers (191), who still have 12 games left. He entered the game tied with Jose Hernandez, who set the previous high (188) in 2002. Carter proved why Milwaukee is content with his high strikeout rate in the eighth, when he launched his 36th homer of the season, and second in as many games.

"Well, that's why he's in there," Counsell said. "There were three strikeouts to start the game, but then there's a homer in there that produces a run." More >

Carter belts solo homer

Missed opportunities: Addison Russell leads the Cubs in second-half RBIs with 41, and he had a chance to add to that in the third. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out against Peralta when Hendricks and Kris Bryant both singled and Anthony Rizzo walked. But Peralta struck out Ben Zobrist and got Russell to pop up to first baseman Carter in shallow right to end the inning. Rizzo hit an opposite-field double in the fifth, but Peralta again got Russell to fly out and end that threat.

"We hit the ball well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought we had good at-bats. It was one of those days when it didn't play in our favor. We only scored one run, but there was a lot more action offensively and we could not get it to fall in the right spots."

Peralta escapes bases-loaded jam

The Professor: Hendricks was coming off eight no-hit innings against the Cardinals, and he had one bad inning Sunday to end his unbeaten streak at home. The right-hander needed 27 pitches to deal with seven batters in the Brewers' second when they took a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Martin Maldonado and Peralta. In his last 13 starts at Wrigley, he now has given up 11 earned runs over 87 1/3 innings and is 9-1 in that stretch. For the season, Hendricks still leads the Majors with a 2.06 ERA. This was his 21st straight start of allowing three or fewer earned runs, the longest streak of any pitcher this year. More >

Hendricks K's Reed

Start me up: Peralta entered the game 0-4 with a 4.71 ERA in five career starts at Wrigley Field, but he worked out of multiple jams to leave this game with just one run allowed. He worked out of jams in four straight innings, and didn't allow a run until pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella's two-out double plated Javier Baez in the sixth. The Cubs put multiple runners on base in the second, third and fourth and had a runner in scoring position in the fifth. Peralta worked out of each one, including a bases-loaded situation with one out in the third.

La Stella's RBI double

"I had a lot of people on base today, but when I had to make a pitch, I was able to execute it," Peralta said.

Peralta induces flyout

QUOTABLE
"We're always trying to win. We're always trying to do what we can approach-wise and get our pitch to hit. It doesn't matter what the circumstances of the game are. We're playing for ourselves, playing for each other and playing for home-field advantage in general. We respect the game. We haven't done anything yet." -- Chicago's Jason Heyward

"They're certainly the aircraft carriers of their lineup, but they're both aircraft carriers. They're both productive, dangerous hitters and they're both also doing good things defensively for their team. I'm not voting, but they're certainly both worthy candidates." -- Counsell, on Cubs NL MVP Award candidates Bryant and Rizzo

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cubs went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the third time this season they've gone hitless with at least 10 at-bats in those situations.

Tyler Thornburg faced two more right-handed hitters without allowing a hit. He hit Baez to start the ninth and struck out Bryant for the inning's second out. The Brewers' closer has held 37 straight right-handed batters hitless, which is the longest active streak of its kind in the Majors.

Thornburg picks up the save

REPLAY REVIEW
Home-plate umpire Ted Barrett signaled that Thornburg hit Baez with a pitch to open the ninth. The Brewers challenged the ruling, but after a review, the call on the field stood.

Baez gets hit by a pitch

WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: Right-hander Matt Garza will start Tuesday against the Pirates at Miller Park to open the final homestand of the season for Milwaukee. Garza has allowed 12 runs in his past four starts, but only three earned runs. Garza, making his fourth start against Pittsburgh this season, is 1-2 with a 2.93 ERA vs. the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.

Cubs: Jason Hammel will open a three-game series against the Reds on Monday night. He's coming off a loss to the Cardinals in which he gave up four runs on a pair of two-run homers. A ground-ball pitcher, the right-hander has had a tough time keeping the ball on the ground. He's 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his career against the Reds and has not given up a run in his last three starts against them. First pitch will be 7:05 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.

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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.

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Brewers on Sunday.

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