MILWAUKEE – After losing consecutive close games in a matchup of NL Central contenders, Kyle Schwarber made sure the Chicago Cubs could breathe easier in the series finale.
Schwarber hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to power the Cubs past the Milwaukee Brewers 11-4 on Sunday, averting a three-game sweep. The Cubs moved into a first-place tie with St. Louis, with Milwaukee one game back.
“It’s nice to be able to hop out to a lead,” Schwarber said. “That was a really big game for all of us. We had a couple tough ones.”
Schwarber crushed a first-pitch slam deep into the second deck in right field off starter Zach Davies (8-4) with one out in the second inning for his 23rd home run of the season.
“It started with (Schwarber),” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That set it up.”
The Chicago slugger took Davies deep again in the fourth with an opposite-field shot to give the visitors a 7-0 advantage.
After the Brewers cut it to 7-3 in the fifth, Schwarber’s infield single with two outs in the sixth kept the inning alive for pinch-hitter Victor Caratini, who hit a three-run homer off Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
Schwarber, who has struggled at the plate lately, reached base all four times while batting eighth in the lineup.
“He’s going to definitely feel better about himself,” Maddon said. “It’s been a tough July for him overall.”
Nationals 11, Dodgers 4
In Washington, Stephen Strasburg tossed seven masterful innings to win his seventh consecutive start, leading the Nationals to a rout of Los Angeles.
Brian Dozier and Juan Soto homered, while Anthony Rendon had three hits and four RBIs that helped the Washington (56-49) prevent a three-game sweep by the top team in the majors.
Corey Seager hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Nationals reliever Michael Blazek to help the Dodgers avoid their largest loss of the season.
Strasburg (14-4) took over the major league lead in wins after striking out nine, walking none and limiting a potent LA lineup to one run and two hits.
Mets 8, Pirates 7
In New York, Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer in a six-run first inning against Chris Archer, and the Mets matched their longest win streak of the season at four with a win over Pittsburgh.
Phillies 9, Braves 4
In Philadelphia, J.T. Realmuto hit a grand slam, three other Phillies went deep and Philadelphia avoided a three-game sweep against Atlanta.
Aaron Nola (9-2) cruised through six scoreless innings before faltering in the seventh. He left after surrendering seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in 6⅔ innings.
Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Adam Haseley also homered for the Phillies, who pulled within 6½ games of the NL-East leading Braves.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 6
In Boston, Didi Gregorius and Austin Romine each hit a two-run homer off Chris Sale, and Domingo German struck out nine to help New York avoid a four-game sweep.
After trimming the Yankees’ lead in the AL East from 11 games to eight — winning the first three games of the series by a combined 38-13 — the Red Sox committed three errors to fall into third place, nine games behind New York in the division.
German (13-2) took a no-hitter into the fourth and allowed four hits and a walk through 5⅓ innings.
Twins 11, White Sox 1
In Chicago, Miguel Sano hit a three-run homer in a five-run first inning, and Minnesota pounded Dylan Covey and the White Sox to strengthen its hold on the AL Central.
Jorge Polanco, Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler also homered as the Twins ran their major league-leading total to 205 home runs.
In Other Games
Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 1
Reds 3, Rockies 2
Giants 7, Padres 6
Astros 6, Cardinals 2
Rays 10, Blue Jays 9
Royals 9, Indians 6
Angels 5, Orioles 4
Athletics 6, Rangers 5
Mariners 3, Tigers 2 (10)