NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers finish regular season by shutting out playoff-eliminated Chicago Cubs, 4-0

The Chicago Cubs’ Pete Crow-Armstrong, bottom, steals second with the Brewers’ Brice Turang covering in the fifth inning on Sunday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

MILWAUKEE — 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.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s how it works now. Nobody is going to care about rest. It’s a three-game series where you just go after it and you pull out all the stops.”

Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich said the Brewers and Diamondbacks are similarly constructed teams, which should make for an exciting matchup.

“I think they are a pretty good team. They are very similar to us in a lot of ways if you look at their roster and how they’ve won all year,” he said. “It’s going to be a great series. Anything can happen in a three-game series like that. You’ve got to come out and play well and see what happens.”

The Brewers' Eduardo Escobar throws at a practice for the Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 5, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP file photo)

The Brewers are hoping for a long postseason run.

“Everybody that’s made the postseason has an awesome opportunity ahead of them,” Yelich said. “You hope to be one of those teams that gets hot and plays well and can make a deep run. Over the next month, we’ll see what we’ve got.”

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.

On Sunday, 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.

“I’m confident in our team. We’re a great team. We’re just going to go out there and play some baseball,” Taylor said of the upcoming matchup with Arizona.

Houser (8-5), who could figure into the Brewers’ postseason pitching plans at some point, 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 a sellout crowd of 42,964 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.



Cubs manager David Ross stressed the importance of bringing back Bellinger, who will be a highly coveted free agent.

“Cody has been extremely important to our success this year. He carried us, especially in the middle of the summer. He’s hands down got to be the Comeback Player of the Year. He did a really nice job of coming out and proving what he’s worth. I think he likes it here, we like having him here and he was really important to our year.”


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB


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