Cubs hit three home runs and stifle late Brewers rally in series-tying 6-5 win

CHICAGO (AP) — Nico Hoerner hit his first career lead-off home run, Christopher Morel hit his third homer in as many games and Patrick Wisdom sent one into the stands as the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Saturday.

“Our offense has been a little quiet lately obviously,” said Cubs manager Craig Counsell. “Christopher’s in a stretch right now. The homers, I think for most guys, come in bunches, and he’s had a good week.”

Chicago tied its first divisional series of the year at one apiece in Counsell’s first series against his former team. Brewers manager Pat Murphy also returned to the dugout after serving a two-game suspension for his role in a brawl with Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Milwaukee came within one twice late in the game. When Chicago’s Keegan Thompson replaced starter Jameson Taillon (3-0), up 4-0 after six strong innings, he walked Rhys Hoskins. Then Oliver Dunn hit a triple that sent Hoskins home. Blake Perkins homered the next at-bat.

Jackson Chourio singled before Counsell brought in Mark Leiter Jr. Sal Frelick then doubled on a ground ball to Mike Tauchman who tossed Dansby Swanson a tough throw he couldn’t collect. Chourio rounded the bases on the error, making the score 4-5.

Leiter cleaned it up in the eighth and Wisdom hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning that sent Michael Busch home from third.

“I just shortened up the swing, wanted to put something in the middle of the field, and I was able to put the bat on the ball there in a big spot,” Wisdom said. “Every run is important but especially late in the game.”

Héctor Neris came in to pitch the ninth inning and walked Blake Perkins. An RBI single by William Contreras scored Perkins to bring the score within one again. With the winning run on second, Tyler Black grounded into a forceout to end the game, sealing Neris’ sixth save of the season.

“He’s been in every big spot, he’s had the bases loaded, he’s pitched on the road in tough spots, he’s pitched in the playoffs,” Taillon said of Neris. “He’s confident, and there’s definitely no panic.”

Taillon gave up two hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings. The righty has now allowed one earned run or fewer in four straight starts.

“He’s really in control and his command is excellent,” Counsell said. “I thought he did a wonderful job with the running game today, and just executing multiple pitches.”

Brewers starting pitcher Tobias Myers (0-2) allowed four runs on three hits and walked four over three innings for the loss.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: CF Cody Bellinger and RF Seiya Suzuki participated in hitting and defensive drills pregame, and Counsell said returns from the 10-day injured list next week are “realistic” for them both. Bellinger sustained two fractured ribs trying to make a catch into Wrigley Field’s brick wall April 24, while Suzuki suffered a right oblique strain running out a ground ball to first on April 14. “They’re both largely in the same spot,” Counsell said. “I think we’ve got a chance to be without a rehab assignment. It’s likely Seiya does one, a very short one. I think Bellinger, maybe not.”

Brewers: LF Joey Wiemer was placed on the 10-day IL with knee discomfort. Wiemer exited Friday’s game against the Cubs after injuring his left knee trying to catch a ball in left field.

UP NEXT

RHP Javier Assad (2-0, 1.97 ERA) will take the mound Sunday for the Cubs in search of his first win since April 14 against Seattle. The Brewers will start RHP Freddy Peralta (3-0, 3.21), who has appealed a five-game suspension he received for his role in Milwaukee’s brawl against the Rays on Tuesday. Peralta is permitted to play as long as the appeal process isn’t completed before his scheduled appearance.

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