Anthony Rizzo homers for 8-4 win to reopen Chicago Cubs’ 3-game lead over Milwaukee Brewers

The Cubs’ David Both, right, scores on a wild pitch by Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Junior Guerra as catcher Manny Pina looks toward the loose ball during the third inning Wednesday in Chicago. (AP photo)

CHICAGO — It’s purely about the math for Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs.

A three-game lead is better than a one-game advantage, and that was all that mattered Wednesday.

Rizzo homered, drove in three runs and stole two bases in his return to the cleanup spot, and Chicago beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-4 to strengthen its hold on the NL Central.

The Cubs bounced back nicely from their 7-0 loss in the opener of the two-game series, improving to 9-4 against the Brewers this year. But they have six more games left in the season series and St. Louis is gaining quickly, so Rizzo and company coolly packed up their three-game advantage over the second-place Brewers and got ready for a six-game trip.

Kyle Hendricks (9-9) struck out eight in six-plus innings on his bobblehead day, providing a lift for the Cubs after Jon Lester and Jose Quintana struggled in recent starts.

Milwaukee had a chance to inch closer to Chicago, but instead lost for the fourth time in six games. Junior Guerra (6-8) lasted just 3 2/3 innings, and first baseman Eric Thames committed an error that helped set up a run.