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Adrian Houser, Brewers blank Cubs to enter playoffs on a roll

Adrian Houser struck out five over five innings and Tyrone Taylor clubbed a solo home run as the playoff-bound Milwaukee Brewers closed the regular season with a 4-0 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

Houser (8-5) continued his strong finish to the season while yielding three hits and two walks. The veteran right-hander has allowed five earned runs over 21 innings to go 3-1 in four starts since coming off the injured list with an elbow issue for the NL Central champion Brewers (92-70), who enter the postseason winners in four of five.

Christopher Morel had two of the five hits by the Cubs (83-79), who rested most of their everyday players to end the club’s first winning season in three years.

Chicago, eliminated from the postseason race on Saturday, was 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers on Sept. 6, along with holding a seemingly solid wild-card position. The Cubs then lost 15 of the final 22, including 10 of 12 on the road.

Houser loaded the bases in the first inning on two singles and a two-out walk, but he struck out Patrick Wisdom to strand all three runners.

After the Cubs failed to take advantage of that scoring opportunity, Milwaukee did not waste its chance in the bottom of the frame against Drew Smyly (11-11), who started in place of staff ace Justin Steele and lasted all of six batters.

The veteran left-hander opened the inning with a walk to Christian Yelich, who went to second on William Contreras’ infield single that extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Yelich scored when Mark Canha dropped a one-out single into right field. Back-to-back walks to Willy Adames and Josh Donaldson gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

Smyly was charged with his third run on Garrett Mitchell’s sacrifice fly to close the first-inning scoring for the Brewers.

Taylor added some insurance in the sixth with a towering drive into the left field seats off Chicago’s Tyler Duffey for his 10th homer. It marked the third straight season that Taylor has recorded double-digit home runs.

–Field Level Media

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