|5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, September 6, 2019
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 38,139
Cubs rolling on road, face sliding Brewers
A common storyline for the Chicago Cubs as they coped with inconsistencies earlier this season was an inability to win outside of Wrigley Field.
But as the Cubs have heated up to gain control of the second NL wild-card spot, they are showing an ability to win on the road.
Chicago seeks its seventh straight road win and attempts to push the Milwaukee Brewers further back in the wild-card race Friday night when the teams continue a four-game series.
Chicago is 29-39 away from home but has not lost a road game since Aug. 16 in Pittsburgh. That loss capped a stretch where the Cubs went 8-18 in 26 road games, but since then, Chicago has outscored opponents 37-16 in its last six road games.
It is Chicago's longest streak since winning nine straight road games in July 2017, and it continued with a 10-5 win in the series opener on Thursday.
That win pushed the Brewers five games behind the Cubs in the wild-card race, moved Chicago to within two games of Washington for the first wild-card spot and kept the Cubs 2 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central
"When you're in a race like this, someone's going to get really hot," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters before Thursday's game. "It happened last year. It's happened this year with the Cardinals. It just underscores the importance of getting hot yourself at the right time of the year.
"We're not where we want to be in the standings, but I think nonetheless we're pretty well positioned."
On Thursday, Willson Contreras had four hits, including a homer, while Kyle Schwarber hit a grand slam and Anthony Rizzo drove in three runs.
The Cubs opened the series with their 12th win in the last 17 games, and they totaled 16 hits while Javier Baez sat out with right thumb soreness.
Milwaukee's chances are dwindling, and three more losses in this series would push the Brewers' deficit to eight games. The Brewers are 9-12 in their last 21 games since last holding the second wild-card spot following a 3-2 win over Texas on Aug. 10.
Yasmani Grandal, Hernan Perez and Cory Spangenberg homered Thursday, but Christian Yelich was 0-for-5 and has three hits in his last 21 at-bats.
"We got to win some games this series," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "There's still plenty of games after that, but we definitely got to put some wins on the board this series."
Cole Hamels (7-5, 3.69 ERA) will start Friday for Chicago and is facing Milwaukee for the second straight outing. He last pitched on Saturday and took his first home loss of the season when he allowed two runs in six innings.
Hamels is 1-2 with a 6.33 ERA in his last six starts since returning from a strained left oblique. The veteran left-hander is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee this season. He is 8-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 19 career starts against the Brewers.
Zach Davies (8-7, 3.76), who is 0-5 with a 7.76 ERA in his last six starts, pitches for Milwaukee. He is facing the Cubs for the second straight time after allowing four hits in 4 2/3 innings and taking a no-decision in Milwaukee's 2-0 win at Chicago on Saturday.
Davies is 1-2 with a 4.21 ERA in five starts against the Cubs this season. He is 6-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 19 career starts against Chicago.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 6, 2019