CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta pitched six solid innings and the Chicago Cubs handed the Milwaukee Brewers their seventh straight loss, 7-1 Tuesday night.
Shortstop Elian Herrera made two errors that helped the Cubs score four runs in the first inning, and Milwaukee went on to match its worst skid of the season.
Since owning a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL Central on Aug. 19, the Brewers have lost 10 of 12.
Jake Arrieta (8-5) gave up five hits in six innings, and lowered his ERA to 2.81.
Yovani Gallardo (8-8) allowed a season-high seven runs and eight hits in five innings.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro sprained his left ankle on an awkward slide home in the first inning, and left the game. Initial tests revealed no fracture for the three-time All-Star.
Jorge Soler and Luis Valbuena each hit RBI singles in the first. Herrera made one fielding error and one poor throw.
Ryan Braun singled home Scooter Gennett in the Milwaukee third.
Welington Castillo had an RBI double in the fifth and Arismendy Alcantara hit his eighth home run, extending the Cubs’ lead to 7-1.
Valbuena got two hits and scored twice. Over his past 17 games, he has hit six homers, driven in 10 runs and scored 12.
Brewers: OF Carlos Gomez was diagnosed with a sprained left wrist and will not swing a bat for at least one week, manager Ron Roenicke said. Roenicke, who said that the injury could potentially sideline the two-time All-Star for a few weeks, said that Gomez will remain available as a pinch-runner and defensive substitute.
Cubs: All-Star 1B Anthony Rizzo was diagnosed with a back strain Tuesday and will miss an extended period of time. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said the injury could be season-ending.
The Brewers and Cubs finish their three-game set Wednesday night. RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-1, 1.91) starts for the Cubs, aiming to win his fifth consecutive decision. He will face RHP Matt Garza (7-7, 3.58), who makes his first start since being put on the 15-day disabled list with strained left oblique on Aug. 5.