- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Scooter Gennett followed a heads-up play with a costly mistake.

The Milwaukee Brewers might have had a better shot at a comeback win if not for the second baseman’s throwing error while tracking down a separate errant toss that sailed wide of first base in the top of the ninth.

Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the inning off Hector Rondon to get Milwaukee within a run of Chicago. But Rondon struck out Gerardo Parra with the tying run on second to preserve the Cubs’ 7-6 victory Friday night.

“In hindsight, I don’t know how that game would have turned out,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “But we made mistakes in the top of the ninth that cost us runs.”

Rookie Jorge Soler hit a two-run homer, and Chicago got solo shots from Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

The Cubs added the run in the ninth after Addison Russell singled and advanced to third on the consecutive throwing errors by charging third baseman Elian Herrera and Gennett with two outs.

Kris Bryant hit an infield single that was overturned on replay review from an out call to drive home Russell two batters later to make it 7-3 going into the bottom of the inning.

“He beats out a ground ball. We challenge. Run scores. That’s the game right there,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

The ninth started with Castro’s leadoff homer off reliever Brandon Kintzler.

Then Russell extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his infield single.

There were plenty of mistakes to go around for the Brewers. But a safer play by Gennett following Herrera’s initial error could have prevented another run from scoring.

“You’ve got to keep your head up on the field. Your head can’t be down,” Counsell said. “If there’s a runner at second base, your head’s got to be up.”

Braun finished 2 for 3 with three runs scores to improve his average to .242. Khris Davis was 4 for 5 with three RBIs.

NERVOUS NINTH

A feast-or-famine Brewers lineup seemed like it would be easy work for Rondon, the hard-throwing closer pitching in a non-save situation.

But Milwaukee got to Rondon. Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer to the right-field corner to make it a one-run game with two outs in the ninth. The Brewers followed with two more singles to bring up Parra.

Rondon let out a yell on the mound after striking out Parra swinging on a slider to end the game.

Hammel said he was proud of the bullpen “for grinding it out there at the end. … I guess (wins) are not always pretty.”

Milwaukee had five hits over the final two innings off Chicago relievers after being held to five hits over the first seven innings by Hammel (3-1).

THAT’S A START

Hammel settled down after giving up a run and four hits in the first inning. He struck out eight and walked three; the only other hit he allowed after the first was a solo shot in the sixth by Davis.

Jimmy Nelson (1-3) finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings, giving up five hits and four runs.

But the young right-hander couldn’t overcome the Cubs’ homers.

“Jimmy had no-hitter stuff, in my opinion,” Counsell said. “But the mistakes he made, they hit home runs.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: 3B Aramis Ramirez was a late scratch from the lineup with lower back tightness. He was replaced by utility man Herrera. … CF Carlos Gomez could return on Saturday from what Counsell called a “very mild” right hip flexor injury. Counsell said it was a precaution because of Gomez’s earlier right hamstring injury. Gomez has missed the last two days.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Travis Wood (2-1) will try to reverse his fortunes on the road, where he is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in three starts this season.

Brewers: Well-traveled veteran Kyle Lohse (1-4) has pitched for the Reds and Cardinals along with the Brewers in the NL Central. He has a career record of 7-7 with a 4.88 ERA in 23 starts against the division rival Cubs.

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Follow Genaro Armas at https://twitter.com/GArmasAP


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