MILWAUKEE — Zach Davies pitched well enough to win. But beating the Chicago Cubs these days isn’t so easy.
The right-hander matched Cy Young candidate Kyle Hendricks for six innings, yet was done in by a few well-placed hits Monday in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 7-2 loss to the Cubs.
Davies (10-7) recorded the first two outs of the seventh inning before the Cubs scored two runs on three consecutive hits to take a 3-1 lead. He exited having allowed two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.
“Every run they scored, even the base hits he gave up, that was soft contact,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Some jam shots. If anything, they get rewarded for contact today. It wasn’t hard contact, it was just contact and they got rewarded for that. He pitched great.”
The Cubs had just two hits off Davies through five innings — singles by Miguel Montero in the third and Javier Baez in the fifth.
Davies issued a leadoff walk to Tommy La Stella in the sixth but came back to strike out Kris Bryant. Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia then slipped and fell on a ground ball hit by Anthony Rizzo, which led to Milwaukee getting just one out on what could have been a double play.
Jorge Soler followed with a broken-bat single to tie the game.
“It’s a great lineup, but through six innings, it was nice to keep them off balance and keep them in check,” Davies said. “But they found some holes, and they capitalized on that.”
It was 1-all in the seventh when Davies retired the first two batters. Montero then doubled and scored on the single by pinch hitter Chris Coghlan, who took second on the throw.
La Stella followed with an infield single that second baseman Scooter Gennett misplayed into the outfield, allowing Coghlan to score.
With Davies out of the game, the Cubs scored four runs off reliever Ben Rowen in the eighth to break the game open.
“I thought Davies threw well,” Coghlan said. “The whole time we just kept saying, stick with it, we’ll get to him, he can’t keep tricking us and getting us out. And we were able to do that.”
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the second on Chris Carter’s 33rd home run of the season.
That was all Milwaukee could muster against Hendricks, who lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.07 by allowing just one run over six innings.
“He pitched like he’s been pitching all year,” Counsell said of Hendricks “We gave ourselves some two-out opportunities but no big opportunities. That’s what you kind of expect, limited opportunities. I thought it was a day that we’d have to get a two-out hit to win that game and we didn’t get one early enough today.”
Ryan Braun connected for his 25th home run in the ninth.
The Brewers acquired minor league outfielder Ryan Cordell from Texas on Sunday as the player to be named in the trade that sent Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers on Aug. 1.
Cubs: RHP Hector Rondon is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, according to Maddon. Rondon has been out since Aug. 17 with a right triceps strain.
Brewers: SS Jonathan Villar returned to the lineup Sunday after not starting Milwaukee’s past two games with a sore left knee.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (14-7, 3.14 ERA) will start the second game of the series in Milwaukee. He is 10-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 14 career starts against the Brewers.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (5-9, 5.53) will make his 19th start of the season Tuesday. He is coming off his best outing of the year in which he allowed one run and struck out 10 on Aug. 30 against St. Louis.