National League Central

NL Central champion Brewers cruise past Cubs 4-0 in final playoff tune-up

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyrone Taylor homered and Adrian Houser pitched five sharp innings as the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0 on Sunday in their final playoff tune-up.

After wrapping up their third division title in six years last week, the Brewers will host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a best-of-three postseason series beginning Tuesday.

Chicago heads home for the winter after falling short down the stretch in a crowded NL wild-card race. Cody Bellinger and the Cubs were eliminated from contention Saturday night, despite a 10-6 win over the Brewers, when Miami finished its 7-3 victory at Pittsburgh to secure a wild card.

Mark Canha blooped an RBI single to right field in the first inning and Milwaukee scored two more runs on Josh Donaldson’s bases-loaded walk and Garrett Mitchell’s sacrifice fly off starter Drew Smyly (11-11).

William Contreras had an infield single to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games.

Smyly got only one out, giving up three runs and two hits while walking three.

Taylor belted a 397-foot solo homer to left with two outs in the sixth.

Houser (8-5), who could figure into the Brewers’ postseason pitching plans, limited the Cubs to three hits while throwing 47 of 72 pitches for strikes. He walked two and struck out five.

Andrew Chafin and Janson Junk finished the five-hitter.

The Brewers finished 92-70 after going 86-76 last season. The Cubs completed the season 83-79 after going 74-88 in 2022.

Chicago was in prime playoff position after improving to 78-67 with a 5-4 victory at Colorado on Sept. 11, but a September swoon cost the Cubs a spot in the postseason. Chicago dropped 10 of its last 11 road games.


Cubs: Selected RHPs Shane Greene and Tyler Duffey from Triple-A Iowa, and recalled INF Jared Young from the Arizona Complex League. Optioned RHP Hayden Wesneski and LHP Jordan Wicks to the Arizona Complex League.

Brewers: Recalled Junk from Triple-A Nashville and optioned LHP Eric Lauer to the Arizona Complex League.


Cubs: Placed 2B Nico Hoerner on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 30, with a bruised left knee. ... Transferred RHP Michael Fulmer and INF Nick Madrigal to the 60-day IL.


With Sunday’s announced crowd of 42,964, a sellout, at American Family Field, the Brewers reached total attendance of 2,551,347 for the season, an increase of 5.3% compared with last season’s total of 2,422,420. This season’s figure remains well off the team’s attendance in 2019, the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when 2,923,333 fans attended Brewers home games at what was then known as Miller Park.

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