MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers had been shut out in Chase Anderson’s three most recent starts against the Chicago Cubs.
Given some rare run support on Tuesday night at Miller Park, the right-hander pitched seven innings of one-hit ball as Milwaukee won 4-0 to end a seven-game skid against the Cubs and take back first place in the NL Central.
“You could tell right away, his fastball especially, he had a different gear today,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Anderson.
Travis Shaw hit a pair of two-run doubles, and Anderson (5-5) locked it down from there.
“Any time you get an early lead against the Cubs it’s a good thing,” Shaw said. “And Chase did his thing.”
Anderson threw a Brewers’ season-high 107 pitches. Chicago’s only hit against him was an infield chopper by Willson Contreras in the second. Anderson also made effective use of his curveball and changeup and retired his final 17 hitters.
Milwaukee (40-27) became the first NL team to reach 40 victories and moved a half-game ahead of the Cubs (38-26).
Taylor Williams, who allowed a single to Addison Russell in the eighth, and Jacob Barnes finished up for Milwaukee with an inning each.
The Cubs were blanked for the fifth time this season. This marked the first time they were held to two hits since April 2 at Cincinnati.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Shaw’s shot off Tyler Chatwood that evaded diving first baseman Anthony Rizzo and rolled into the right-field corner.
Shaw lined a low pitch into right field for his second two-run double in the third. A heads-up play by Lorenzo Cain allowed the Brewers to escape a rundown and set the table for Shaw’s hit.
Cain’s bouncer up the middle trapped teammate Christian Yelich in a rundown between second and third, but Cain confused the Cubs by running nearly to second base. Yelich returned to second safely and Cain went back to first with no out recorded.
“That baserunning play by Cain was flat-out brilliant,” Counsell said, mentioning Cain practiced that situation while playing for Kansas City. “I tip my hat to him. That was incredible.”
Chatwood (3-5) allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings. He walked two and struck out five.
Albers to DL
Brewers reliever Matt Albers was placed on the 10-day disabled list, the day after surrendering five earned runs in the 11th inning of a 7-2 loss to the Cubs.
Albers (3-2, 3.45 ERA) has a right shoulder injury, and reliever Jorge Lopez was recalled from Class AAA Colorado Springs in a corresponding move.
“He reported some soreness after the game,” Counsell said. “He said it has been there for a little bit. We’ve got to just shut him down and try to get him better.”
Lopez has split time between the Brewers and Colorado Springs this season. He is 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA in 10ª innings with Milwaukee.
Darvish on mend
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session, and manager Joe Maddon was encouraged by what he saw.
“Outstanding. He threw really well,” Maddon said. “Easy gas. Great location. Good spin on his breaking ball. Very impressed.”
Darvish was put on the disabled list May 23 with right triceps tendinitis. Maddon is not sure if Darvish will return before the All-Star break.
Wives play ball
The Brewers’ spouses defeated the Cubs’ 10-3 in the first Brewers-Cubs Wives Softball Challenge at Helfaer Field.
Kaycee Sogard, the wife of Brewers infielder Eric Sogard and five months pregnant, was named MVP of the game that benefited Milwaukee and Chicago’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs.
Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery (2-1, 3.56 ERA) will make his fourth start since replacing Darvish in the rotation on Wednesday afternoon. Montgomery is 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA in his three starts, including a victory over Pittsburgh last week.
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (5-1, 3.58) has emerged as the Brewers’ ace. Milwaukee is 11-3 in his starts and opponents are batting .231 against him.