MILWAUKEE (AP) — Eric Lauer kept up his strikeout success, fanning 11 in seven innings as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 9-1 on Saturday night.
Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Christian Yelich and Hunter Renfroe connected for consecutive home runs in the eighth.
The Cubs are 2-9 in the last 11 games after winning six of 10 to start the season.
Lauer (2-0), who struck out a career-high 13 last weekend against Philadelphia, reached double digits in strikeouts in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
“It was really nice to be able to string a couple of good ones together,” Lauer said. “Hopefully, you can just keep doing that.”
Lauer allowed a solo home run by Yan Gomes in the second inning and just four singles after that.
“I felt really locked in with all my pitches, all the command,” Lauer said. “I felt like I was able to use the heater in good spots and kind of best guys with fastballs early.”
The Brewers are 4-0 in his starts this season.
“Getting a swing and a miss on a fastball in the strike zone is hard to do in this league,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s doing that pretty well.”
Tellez also had an RBI single in the first. Renfroe, who scored three times, and Yelich each had three hits and drove in two runs.
“When you have guys like Lauer coming out and punching out 10 on multiple nights, and every one on your pitching staff is capable of doing that, we just have to put a couple of runs on the board,” Tellez said.
Yelich hit a two-run shot off Locke St. John and Renfroe followed with a drive. St. John had just been recalled from Triple-A Iowa.
The Brewers scratched out three runs in the first off Justin Steele (1-3) on four hits, two errors and an overturned out call at first.
“We can’t beat ourselves,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Steele beat the Brewers 9-0 on April 9, but since then he’s lost three straight.
“Executing his game plan probably a little more consistent,” Ross said. “One thing we’ve got to do we got to play better defense behind him.”
Steele seemed to take the loss in stride.
“It’s just baseball,” he said. “Today, I mean honestly as far as pitching stuff, it was one of the better times I felt this year.”
Cubs: OF Clint Frazier (appendicitis) was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to Wednesday. “I know he is recovering and not on a rehab assignment yet,” Ross said. Frazier is batting .143 (3 for 21) with two walks and two doubles in 10 games.
Brewers: INF Luis Urías (left quad) will be re-evaluated Sunday at the conclusion of his rehab assignment with Double-A Biloxi. He has yet to play in the majors this season and has missed 22 games.
St. John, who last pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2019, was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, where the lefty was 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in five games. RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (0-1, 7.84 ERA in four games, including three starts) was optioned to Iowa.
Two right-handers each make their fifth start of the season in the finale of the three-game series. Marcus Stroman (0-3, 6.98 ERA) goes for the Cubs while Corbin Burnes (1-09, 1.75 ERA) is on the mound for the Brewers.
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