Garza pitches 6-hitter, Cubs stall Brewers
CHICAGO Matt Garza pitched a six-hitter, Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and the Chicago Cubs prolonged Milwaukee's drive to clinch the NL Central, beating the Brewers 7-1 in the final game at Wrigley Field this season.
The Brewers' magic number for winning the division title and closing out second-place St. Louis remained at three. The Cardinals played the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
The Brewers dropped two of their games against the Cubs and finished 39-42 on the road. They now go to Miller Park to wind up the regular season with a six-game homestand against the Marlins and Pirates beginning Friday.
Garza (9-10), 3-0 in his last five starts, allowed just an unearned run and struck out 10 in pitching his second complete game this season and eighth of his career. He walked one in a 123-pitch effort.
DJ LeMahieu broke a 1-all tie with two-out, two-run double in the fifth off Randy Wolfe (13-10). Center fielder Nyjer Morgan appeared to lose the ball in the sun and the drive scored Alfonso Soriano, who had singled, and Starlin Castro, who was intentionally walked as he came to the plate trying for his 200th hit of the season.
Byrd's three-run shot, his ninth homer of the season, followed singles by Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto in the sixth.
Wolf, who entered the game with a 1.37 ERA in three previous starts this season against the Cubs, allowed 10 hits and six runs in six innings.
Castro's error on a double-play grounder allowed the Brewers to take a 1-0 lead in the third. Yuniesky Betancourt led off with a single and Garza plunked Wolf with a pitch as the Brewers starter was attempting to bunt. Corey Hart hit a grounder toward the middle that Castro reached, but the shortstop's flip was wide of second and Betancourt scored.
Castro made up for it with an RBI single in the bottom half on a hard ball that deflected off third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. Castro's 199th hit of the season scored Bryan LaHair, who led off with a double.
In his final three plate appearances needing one hit to get to 200, the 21-year-old Castro drew an intentional walk, grounded to short and walked.
NOTES: Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo will make his 33rd start of the season and second of the season against the Marlins in the series opener. He struck out a career-high 13 in his start last Saturday against the Reds. ... The wind was blowing out at 14 mph on a 70-degree day. ... Castro doubled leading off the bottom of the first and was thrown out trying to stretch. It marked the 34th straight game he has reached base, matching the Cubs' record for a shortstop set in 1929 by Woody English. ... Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez sat out with a leg injury in what could have been his final home game for the Cubs. ... Ryan Dempster will start for the Cubs on Friday in St. Louis. Dempster (10-13) is 8-8 on his career against the Cards. .. As is custom at the final home game, the Wrigley Field grounds crew led the singing during the seventh-inning stretch. ... A crowd of 30,965 gave the Cubs a home attendance for 2011 of 3,017,966. It marked the eighth straight season the Cubs have drawn more than 3 million fans. Chicago finished 39-42 at home. ... Garza's first complete game this season came in a losing effort, 1-0 against the White Sox on July 2.