Gary Sánchez hits tiebreaking 2-run homer in 8th inning as Brewers defeat the Cubs 6-4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gary Sánchez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-4 on Thursday.

The NL Central-leading Brewers won three of four games against Chicago in a series that marked Cubs manager Craig Counsell’s return to American Family Field. Counsell, the winningest manager in Brewers history, was showered with boos every time he left the dugout this week.

The Cubs (28-29) have lost seven of their past eight and are below .500 for the first time since the end of March.

“We've just got to keep going,” Counsell said. “We're in a tough stretch. When you're in a tough stretch, it feels like you don't get breaks. We've got to make our own breaks, and we'll keep doing that.”

After the Cubs twice came from behind with game-tying homers off Bryan Hudson (4-0), Sánchez delivered the biggest shot of all to put Milwaukee back in front for good. His 422-foot drive over the center-field wall came on a 3-2 sweeper from Tyson Miller.

The Brewers earlier wasted a golden opportunity to score in the eighth. After Luke Little (1-1) walked Christian Yelich and Willy Adames to start the inning, pinch-hitter Owen Miller grounded into a double play on a 3-2 pitch.

Right-hander Tyson Miller came out of the bullpen and gave up the towering homer from Sánchez. The right-handed-hitting Sánchez had entered Thursday with a .971 OPS against left-handers but only a .643 OPS against right-handers.

“He's going to have some strikeouts, but the guy's dangerous, and everybody in the league knows it,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “I'm really happy for him. He’s kind of shoved it in our face a little bit, like, ‘Hey man, I can hit more than lefties,’ Pretty cool.”

This wasn’t the first time Sánchez has won a game with an eighth-inning blast this season. He had a two-run, pinch-hit homer off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning of a 7-5 victory at Pittsburgh on April 25.

“Really, nothing changes there,” Sánchez said through a translator regarding his ability to hit in the clutch. “I think the focus remains the same. Find a pitch in the zone and try to put a good swing on it. I was able to do that today.”

Elvis Peguero worked around a one-out single by Dansby Swanson in the ninth to earn his first save in two opportunities. The game ended with Patrick Wisdom grounding out on a nice play by third baseman Joey Ortiz.

Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel homered for the Cubs.

After Suzuki’s two-run, pinch-hit homer off Hudson tied the game in the top of the seventh, the Brewers scored a go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning.

Blake Perkins reached on a two-out infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brice Turang’s infield hit.

Chicago tied the game again in the eighth when Morel sent a 3-1 pitch from Hudson over the wall in right-center for his team-leading 10th homer of the season.

Before Thursday, the only homer Hudson had allowed all season was an inside-the-park shot by Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz on April 8. Hudson’s performance Thursday raised his ERA from 0.59 to 1.13.

TRAINER'S ROOM

The Cubs recalled outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong before the game and optioned infielder Luis Vázquez to Triple-A Iowa. The Brewers recalled right-hander Kevin Herget from Triple-A Nashville and designated right-hander Mitch White for assignment.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Return home for a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds. The scheduled starting pitchers for Friday's series opener are right-hander Javier Assad (4-1, 2.17 ERA) for the Cubs and right-hander Graham Ashcraft (4-3, 4.67) for the Reds.

Brewers: Begin a three-game home series with the Chicago White Sox. Friday's schedule starting pitchers are right-hander Tobias Myers (1-2, 4.43) for the Brewers and right-hander Erick Fedde (4-1, 2.80) for the White Sox.

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