MILWAUKEE — Anthony Rizzo homered down the right-field line on the first pitch of a five-run 11th inning to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 on Monday night and jump into first place in the NL Central.
Rizzo turned on a fastball down the middle from Matt Albers (3-2) for a towering shot that snapped a 2-all tie. The Cubs scored four more runs in the inning with two outs, including a two-run double by Jason Heyward.
Trailing 2-1 most of the night, the Cubs scored six times over the last four innings against the Brewers’ normally lights-out bullpen. Chicago took a half-game lead in the division and won its seventh straight over Milwaukee.
Randy Rosario (3-0) retired all six batters he faced for the win.
After being held to one run by starter Junior Guerra, the Cubs broke through in the eighth against a bullpen with a league-best 2.53 ERA. The left-handed-hitting Heyward, who had three hits and three RBIs, tied the game at 2 with a run-scoring single to right off lefty reliever Josh Hader.
Left-handed hitters were 2 for 36 against Hader before Heyward’s single.
The Cubs dented the Brewers’ bullpen again three innings later for their fifth win in six games. Albers allowed five runs on three hits, leaving with two outs in the 11th. His ERA ballooned from 1.93 to 3.45.
Guerra struck out four while allowing five hits and two walks, aided by two double plays and two highlight-reel catches in left by Ryan Braun.
He made a diving grab to prevent Rizzo’s flare from falling for a hit to lead off the fourth. Two innings later, Braun made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Willson Contreras of a game-tying homer.
But the Brewers couldn’t bring back Rizzo’s no-doubt shot in the 11th.
Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) is scheduled to throw a bullpen in Milwaukee on Tuesday, as long as there wasn’t “any kind of negativity” while Darvish played catch Monday.
Brewers: Eric Thames was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after missing six weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb. While eager to get an at-bat, Thames did not play. “My hands, I’ve been doing so much grip stuff I can crush anything,” he said before the game.
Cubs: RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-4) hopes to have better control after walking seven in his last outing against the Phillies.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (4-5) has a 2.79 ERA over his last three starts against Chicago. But the Brewers have been shut out each time, outscored by a combined 9-0.