Milwaukee Brewers keep pace in National League Central playoff race

MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Schoop responded to a tense situation in the biggest way possible.

Schoop hit a grand slam after Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, and Milwaukee beat San Francisco 6-3 on Sunday, completing a series sweep and preserving the Brewers’ lead in the NL wild-card race.

Milwaukee moved within two games of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central heading into a three-game series at Chicago.

In the sixth, Madison Bumgarner hit Braun with his third of three consecutive pitches inside to load the bases with two outs. Brewers players came a couple of steps out of the dugout, and manager Craig Counsell was ejected by plate umpire Tom Hallion.

Schoop, who had struck out in his first-two at-bats, then drove a 2-1 pitch from Bumgarner (5-6) over the wall in left to make it 5-2. It was Schoop’s fourth homer since being acquired from Baltimore on July 31.

“I was a little bit mad, but I calmed myself down a little bit, don’t let the moment get me,” said Schoop, who had a slow start after his trade to Milwaukee but now has 10 RBIs in his last four games.

Bumgarner allowed a first-inning RBI double to Braun and then retired 15 straight before a two-out walk to Christian Yelich in the sixth. Jesus Aguliar singled to left, bringing up Braun. Bumgarner’s first pitch was high and inside, spinning Braun off the plate, and then he threw inside again, triggering a stare-down between batter and pitcher. He then plunked Braun with his third pitch.

Milwaukee remained 2 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis for the top wild card spot.