The Milwaukee Brewers bounced back from their series opening shutout loss against the Cardinals to win the next three games, culminating in a shutout of their own on Thursday afternoon, winning 6-0 over St. Louis.
Wade Miley got the start for Milwaukee and kept those Cardinals bats quiet through six innings and scattering just three hits. J.B. Bukauskas and Julio Teheran locked down the final three innings to complete the shutout.
The Brewers offense was feeling homer-happy. Blake Perkins got the scoring started with a solo blast in the third inning. Then Milwaukee manufactured a few runs with an RBI single from Sal Frelick in the 5th and Andruw Monasterio had an RBI single in the 6th. The 6th inning was the big inning for the Crew as Victor Caratini came up right after Monasterio and slugged a three run homer to put the Crew up 6-0.
This was Milwaukee's third straight win and dropped the magic number from four to three. But wait, the Cubs hadn't played yet.
What is the Brewers magic number to clinch the NL Central?
The Chicago Cubs lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6, which means the Milwaukee Brewers have a magic number of two to clinch the NL Central heading into play on Friday. A combination of two Brewers wins or Cubs losses over the next nine games to finish the season will result in the Crew winning the division.
The Brewers have a chance to clinch the division on Friday night here if they beat the Marlins and the Cubs lose to the Rockies. A division title feels imminent.
The Cubs had a rollercoaster of a game against the Pirates, but ultimately dropped the game and the series against a team with nothing left to fight for. Pittsburgh had a 3-0 lead after the 5th and the Cubs brought it to within two after the 7th. But the Pirates then scored five runs over the final two innings. A Ji Hwan-Bae triple and Connor Joe single in the 8th gave them two more runs and a 5-1 lead.
The Cubs answered by scoring three in the bottom half to make it a 5-4 ballgame. Momentum was Chicago's but not for long. The Pirates answered in the top of the 9th with a 3 run homer from Joshua Palacios, putting the Pirates up 8-4. Chicago made it closer in the bottom of the 9th with a homer from Dansby Swanson, but ultimately fell short.
The Brewers just have to take care of business, up by 8 games in the division with 9 to play. Corbin Burnes is on the mound tonight for the Crew against Johnny Cueto of the Marlins. The Marlins are tied with the Cubs for the 3rd Wild Card spot, making this an important series in the playoff chase that will have many eyes on it.