Crew falls to Cubs; playoff chase slowed

Crew falls to Cubs; playoff chase slowed

MILWAUKEE -- There was no late drama this time. Jose Quintana and the Cubs made sure of that.

After a trio of 10-inning thrillers to begin this four-game showdown of National League Central contenders, Quintana surpassed 200 strikeouts on the way to his second career shutout, and Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo delivered late two-run hits for a 5-0 win over the Brewers in Sunday's finale at steamy Miller Park.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Finals week: Wild tests facing NL Central

Cubs close to clinching; Brewers, Cardinals in pursuit

Finals week: Wild tests facing NL Central

MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs will have champagne on ice this week in St. Louis, ready to celebrate a second straight National League Central title. The Brewers and Cardinals have the NL Wild Card in their sights. And the Reds have a chance to play spoiler along the way.

There was still much to play for in the Central as the regular season rounded its final Sunday. Amid a Midwest heat wave, baseball fans in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis entered the final week longing for the crisp air of October.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers lament lost series, but not giving up

Milwaukee's Central chances slim, but NL Wild Card remains in reach

Brewers lament lost series, but not giving up

MILWAUKEE -- Keon Broxton might have offered the best description of the Brewers' extended weekend against the Cubs when he called it "draining on our hearts." But after three losses in four charged games all but dashed Milwaukee's division hopes and forced their focus toward the National League Wild Card race, manager Craig Counsell refused to hang his head.

"I couldn't be prouder of the way we played. One-hundred percent," Counsell said after Sunday's 5-0 loss to Chicago left-hander Jose Quintana. "It was a good baseball series, man.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pina's sprained thumb may be season-ending

Pina's sprained thumb may be season-ending

MILWAUKEE -- With the baseball calendar running short, a painfully sprained ligament in Brewers catcher Manny Pina's left thumb has put the rest of his season in doubt.

Pina underwent an MRI scan Saturday that confirmed the sprain, which he suffered tagging out the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo at home plate in the 10th inning of Friday's loss to the Cubs at Miller Park.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arcia's key HR off Davis was with Miggy's bat

Arcia's key HR off Davis was with Miggy's bat

MILWAUKEE -- As if Orlando Arcia's stunning, game-tying solo home run off Cubs closer Wade Davis was not compelling enough as a standalone moment, there was a good backstory, too.

Arcia hit the shot with a Miguel Cabrera bat, which he's used this season during batting-practice home run-derby contests against teammate Domingo Santana, but had never swung in a game before Saturday. Another Brewers teammate, Hernan Perez, who had been gifted the bat by the Tigers superstar while they played together for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, suggested Arcia take it to the plate.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Davies, Crew continue postseason chase

Davies, Crew continue postseason chase

With the "Cincinnati sweep" still fresh on their minds, the Brewers will begin their final push for a postseason berth with a rematch against Joey Votto and the Reds beginning on Tuesday at Miller Park.

"It's been a fun September already, and now it's going to be a race to the end," said Brewers 17-game winner Zach Davies, who will start against rookie Deck McGuire for Cincinnati.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shaw thriving on field amid tough year off it

Brewers outfielder's baby daughter battling congenital heart defect

Shaw thriving on field amid tough year off it

MILWAUKEE -- It's not easy playing a game that often can create stress when every moment away from the field is thick with it. That is the challenge Travis Shaw has confronted during a sleep-deprived debut season with the Brewers, splitting time between a newborn daughter in the hospital and anchoring the lineup for a team that finds itself in a pennant race.

On Saturday, Shaw had a good story for baby Ryann. His first career walk-off home run was a two-run shot off Cubs closer Wade Davis, and capped the Brewers' desperately-needed 4-3 win that featured a pair of comebacks against one of baseball's most reliable relievers.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew to decide Hader's future role in offseason

Crew to decide Hader's future role in offseason

MILWAUKEE -- As Brewers left-hander Josh Hader slings his way to dominant numbers as a multi-inning relief weapon, the Brewers' public stance on his future has evolved from a firm, "We still view him as a starter long-term," to "Let us get back to you on that."

Where is Hader most valuable to the Brewers as they evolve into contenders? Starting rotation or bullpen? Twice as many innings as a starter, or impact twice as many games in relief?

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew bolsters hopes with rallying win vs. Cubs

Crew bolsters hopes with rallying win vs. Cubs

MILWAUKEE -- "This is playoff baseball for us," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after his team pulled off its most stunning victory of the season. If the actual playoffs prove this compelling, baseball fans everywhere are in for a treat.

In a third consecutive extra-inning thriller between two teams which have jockeyed in the National League Central, Orlando Arcia lined a tying leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and Travis Shaw hit a walk-off two-run blast in the 10th as the Brewers twice rallied against lights-out Cubs closer Wade Davis for an improbable 4-3 win in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday at Miller Park.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nelson rejoins Brewers with arm in sling

Right-hander out until next season after shoulder surgery

Nelson rejoins Brewers with arm in sling

MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson completed the transition from Brewers No. 1 starter to No. 1 Brewers fan on Thursday, when he returned from shoulder surgery in the middle of the team's epic series opener against the Cubs.

With his right arm in a sling on Friday afternoon, Nelson said it could be several weeks before he has a better idea of a timetable for his rehabilitation, which general manager David Stearns said would keep Nelson sidelined for "a chunk" of next season.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers fall to Cubs in 10 for 2nd night in a row

Brewers fall to Cubs in 10 for 2nd night in a row

MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs found themselves another step closer to clinching the National League Central. The Brewers found themselves in third place.

Pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella worked a bases-loaded walk from Brewers All-Star closer Corey Knebel in the top of the 10th inning, and Carl Edwards Jr. finished a 5-4 Cubs win on Friday night at Miller Park in the teams' second straight extra-innings thriller.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew denied in 3rd straight heartbreaker

Brewers fall to 5 1/2 behind Cubs, 2 back of Wild Card

Crew denied in 3rd straight heartbreaker

MILWAUKEE -- After three straight heartbreaking losses in the opponents' final at-bat, including two in a row to the team they are chasing in the National League Central, is it Wild Card or bust for the Brewers?

Mathematically, no. A 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Cubs on Friday night at Miller Park dropped the Brewers 5 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL Central and two games behind the Rockies in the chase for the second NL Wild Card, with the Cardinals suddenly standing in the way again. The Brewers have eight games left. However slim their chances, both goals remain within reach, even the division crown.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sogard kids show off their cuteness

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Sogard kids show off their cuteness

The apple doesn't tend to fall far from the tree in baseball. For example, five-time All-Star and 2001 World Series champion Luis Gonzalez's son is making a name for himself in the baseball world. And then, of course, there's the story of the Bellinger family.

For Brewers infielder Eric Sogard and his wife Kaycee, their daughter Saydee is proving the skills her parents possess could translate into her own baseball career.

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Santana dedicates HR to US Virgin Islands

Brewers outfielder's father is safe in St. Thomas, but busy dealing with property damage

Santana dedicates HR to US Virgin Islands

MILWAUKEE -- Like a vicious one-two punch, Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into the U.S. Virgin Islands this month, leaving in their wake vast damage that literally hit home for Brewers right fielder Domingo Santana.

Santana spent much of his childhood in picturesque St. Thomas, where his father, a former professional ballplayer by the same name, still resides. Before Thursday's series opener against the Cubs, Santana said he has been in near-daily contact with his dad, who weathered the storms safely but is without power and busy cleaning up significant property damage.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew's depleted 'pen can't hold lead vs. Cubs

Milwaukee trails Chicago by 4 1/2 games in NL Central after loss Thursday

Crew's depleted 'pen can't hold lead vs. Cubs

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers All-Star closer Corey Knebel and setup man Anthony Swarzak were unavailable Thursday after pitching the previous three nights in Pittsburgh. Lefty weapon Josh Hader, as valuable to the Brewers' future as he is to the moment, was deemed off-limits, as well. It turns out that "all hands on deck" has its limits.

Those limits forced Milwaukee to employ other relievers in a 10-inning, 5-3 loss to the Cubs at Miller Park, a second straight defeat in the opponent's final at-bat and a sour opener to a huge four-game series between the top two teams in the National League Central. Milwaukee trails their first-place neighbors to the south by 4 1/2 games, although they didn't lose any ground in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot thanks to a loss by the Rockies, whom the Brewers trail by one game.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew can't close out Cubs, falls 4 1/2 back

Crew can't close out Cubs, falls 4 1/2 back

MILWAUKEE -- This was not the postseason, but it sure felt that way Thursday night at Miller Park as the Cubs and the Brewers traded late-inning blows in Milwaukee's most charged September ballgame in years.

Javier Baez hit a tying two-out RBI single in the ninth, Wade Davis escaped a bases-loaded jam to force extra innings and Kris Bryant's two-run home run in the 10th sent Chicago to a 5-3 win in the opener of a four-game series that could decide the National League Central.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Replay mania: 5 reviews in Cubs-Crew thriller

Replay mania: 5 reviews in Cubs-Crew thriller

MILWAUKEE -- There were two plays at first base, one at third and one at home plate, plus a near home run to boot. The Cubs and Brewers kept Major League Baseball's replay center busy while they battled for the National League Central on Thursday night at Miller Park.

Five times on the way to the Cubs' 5-3 win in 10 innings crew chief Dana DeMuth donned the headset near the visitors' dugout. Here's a rundown of the close plays that dotted a thriller:

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nelson expected to miss 'a chunk' of 2018

Right-hander underwent surgery on right shoulder Tuesday in Los Angeles

Nelson expected to miss 'a chunk' of 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Jimmy Nelson is expected to miss "a chunk" of the 2018 season while recovering from right shoulder surgery, Brewers general manager David Stearns said Wednesday.

Nelson hoped for better news from his Tuesday afternoon surgery in Los Angeles, saying last week that doctors told him there was a chance they would not have to repair his partially torn labrum. When Dr. Neal ElAttrache got into the joint for a look, however, a repair was deemed necessary. Stearns offered no specific timetable for Nelson's rehabilitation.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Counsell goes all-in with 'pen, bench vs. Bucs

Brewers skipper uses seven relievers Wednesday ahead of crucial set vs. Cubs

Counsell goes all-in with 'pen, bench vs. Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- The calendar said it was still September, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell operated like it was October, emptying his bullpen and then his bench in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Pirates in an effort to cash-in on a chance to gain ground in the National League Central and Wild Card chases. Worries about the Brewers' next series, a huge four-game showdown against the division-leading Cubs at Miller Park beginning Thursday, would have to wait for Thursday.

When Thursday arrived, the Brewers had used their reliable late-inning arms without a victory to show for it. Setup man Anthony Swarzak and closer Corey Knebel are question marks for the opener against the Cubs after pitching all three games at PNC Park, including Knebel's extended outing on Wednesday that resulted in his first blown save in more than two months.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew drops chance to draw even in WC chase

Crew drops chance to draw even in WC chase

PITTSBURGH -- Brewers closer Corey Knebel picked a bad night to have a bad night.

With the Rockies' and Cubs' losses already on the out-of-town scoreboard, Knebel's eighth-inning error snapped his streak of 21 straight saves, and his leadoff walk in the ninth extended the inning for Adam Frazier's two-out, two-run, walk-off home run in a 6-4 Pirates win over the Brewers at PNC Park on Wednesday night.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pina, Shaw team up for smooth caught stealing

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Pina, Shaw team up for smooth caught stealing

Everything is coming up the Brewers lately. Entering Wednesday's game against the Pirates, they had won eight of their last 10 games, had shut out Pittsburgh for two consecutive games and were just a half-game behind the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card spot. 

That good fortune reared its head in the bottom of the first inning. With the speedy Starling Marte on second base, rookie Aaron Wilkerson's offering to Josh Bell bounced in the dirt. Catcher Manny Piña blocked it, but it dribbled behind Bell's body, so Marte took off for third. That would prove a bad decision. 

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Crew cuts lead to 1; hardest throw of '17 key

Crew cuts lead to 1; hardest throw of '17 key

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers, thanks to their strong arms on the mound and in the outfield, won another series. Now they will eye a sweep.

Chase Anderson continued his string of solid starts by pitching six scoreless innings, and Domingo Santana backed him with a solo homer in a 1-0 win over the Pirates on Tuesday at PNC Park. The shutout was also aided by the burgeoning reputation of center fielder Brett Phillips, who kept the potential tying run from even thinking of trying to score from third in the sixth on a flyout to center. Phillips unleashed a 104.7-mph throw to the plate -- the hardest-thrown ball this season, according to Statcast™ -- and he now owns the top three hardest outfield throws for 2017.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers flex arms again in 'special' sixth frame

Brewers flex arms again in 'special' sixth frame

PITTSBURGH -- For those scoring this unexpected Brewers season at home, circle the sixth inning of Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Pirates on your scorecards.

Chase Anderson's escape from a man on third, no-out jam in the sixth sent the Brewers to their second consecutive shutout victory and boosted their record to 11 games above .500, matching their season high. Corey Knebel's 37th save sealed the Brewers' second set of back-to-back shutout victories this season. They also did it at Tampa Bay last month.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Knebel shows no sign of rust in Crew's win

Knebel shows no sign of rust in Crew's win

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers hope that hard-worked closer Corey Knebel got just the break he needed to finish the season strong.

By circumstance, Knebel had been exempt from the Brewers' recent reliance on bullpen days, appearing on Monday for the first time in six days -- and only the fifth time in 17 days -- to lock down a 3-0 win over the Pirates at PNC Park that improved Milwaukee's place in the standings, within two games of a Wild Card spot, and 3 1/2 off the division lead.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew improves standing with shutout of Bucs

Crew improves standing with shutout of Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- With the Cubs and Rockies idle, Monday offered the Brewers an opportunity to gain ground in each of their two paths to the postseason. Mission accomplished.

Ryan Braun homered and five pitchers combined for the Brewers' 11th shutout victory, a 3-0 triumph over the slumping Pirates at PNC Park. With 12 games left on their schedule, the Brewers pulled within 3 1/2 games of the Cubs in the National League Central and two games of the Rockies in the race for the second NL Wild Card.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillips' powerful arm gets an 'upgrade'

Phillips' powerful arm gets an 'upgrade'

PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes you get what you ask for.

MLBPipeline.com bumped 23-year-old Brewers outfielder Brett Phillips to an "80-grade" arm last week, making him the only prospect with that top rating on the 20-80 scouting scale, after he recorded the strongest throw recorded by Statcast™ all season in a win over the Pirates at Miller Park. Phillips' 104-mph dart to home plate completed a double play while surpassing his own record for the previous season high in MLB -- 102.6 mph on July 17, also against the Pirates. His 104-mph throw was the second hardest by an outfielder since 2015, when Statcast™ started gathering such data.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crew gains ground behind Woodruff, big 4th

Crew gains ground behind Woodruff, big 4th

MILWAUKEE -- Where one rookie starter faltered, another stood strong.

Brandon Woodruff put together seven solid innings in a critical series finale as the "road" Brewers knocked off the Marlins, 10-3, at Miller Park on Sunday. The clubs played in front of 24,535 fans as a total of 68,983 watched the three-game set, which was moved to Milwaukee in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Brewers on Sunday.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Marlins on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bats 'firing on all cylinders' down the stretch

Bats 'firing on all cylinders' down the stretch

MILWAUKEE -- In terms of offensive outbursts, the Brewers' eighth inning on Friday night used a series of explosions to sink the Marlins.

On Sunday, the Brewers poked holes in the Marlins' defense to score eight runs -- seven with two outs -- in the fourth inning as part of a 10-3 win at Miller Park.

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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shaw-Thames duo making Brewers history

Shaw-Thames duo making Brewers history

MILWAUKEE -- Surely, when the Brewers quietly added Travis Shaw and Eric Thames to their third- and first-base depth this offseason, they weren't expecting this.

The duo has gone into the club's history books, with Shaw's knock in Saturday's loss to the Marlins clinching its status as just the third pairing of left-handed hitters to hit 30 homers apiece in the same season. Only Geoff Jenkins and Jeromy Burnitz in 2000 and Cecil Cooper and Ben Oglivie in 1982 had previously accomplished the feat -- something that has admittedly come as a surprise to manager Craig Counsell.

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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.