What once seemed like just a dream is now a reality. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched the National League Central Division with a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The two teams finished the first 162 games of the regular season tied with 95 wins apiece, requiring a 163rd game to serve as the tiebreaker. Due to the Cubs winning 11 of the 19 head-to-head contests during the season they earned the right to host the game.
The Brewers struck first with a run in the third inning on a RBI-single from outfielder Christian Yelich scoring Orlando Arcia from third. Those two went a combined 7-for-8 at the dish on the day as Yelich was 3-4 and Arcia was a season-best 4-4 in the win.
The Cubs then tied the game on an Anthony Rizzo solo home run off of Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin in the fifth inning. That home run was the only damage allowed by Chacin. He pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing just the one run on one hit and two walks while striking out three.
From there the bullpen was mostly good as Xavier Cedeño struggled, but Joakim Soria, Corey Knebel and Josh Hader well pitched very well.
Knebel earned the win as he pitched a perfect seventh inning and Hader recorded a two-inning save, allowing only a two-out base hit to Chicago’s Javy Baez in the ninth. He then retired Rizzo on a fly ball to right field and the celebration was on.
The Brewers now advance to the National League Division Series where they will take on the winner of the NL Wild Card Game between the Cubs and the loser of the Game 163 between Colorado and Los Angeles.
The NLDS will begin on Thursday at Miller Park. A start time has not yet been announced.