- Associated Press - Saturday, July 23, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Jimmy Nelson jumped high off the mound to make a tough play on a bouncer, only to throw wildly to first, allowing Addison Russell to reach on a throwing error to lead off the second inning.

The mistake doomed the Milwaukee Brewers starter on Friday night.

The Chicago Cubs scored three in the inning, highlighted by Dexter Fowler’s two-run double with the bases loaded, to pull away from the Brewers in a 5-2 win.

“It started off with me throwing the ball away, so I kind of did it myself there. That was pretty much the story,” Nelson said. Fowler’s double with nobody out came three batters after Russell reached.

But the Brewers had problems at the plate, too, going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

“The game every night’s going to come down to hitting with runners in scoring position, certainly, and when you go 0 for 9, you’re not going to put up big numbers,” manager Craig Counsell said.

Fowler had no such issues.

He led off the first with a homer and drove in three runs in his first game back from the disabled list, finishing 3 for 4 with a walk and scoring twice after being sidelined more than a month with a strained right hamstring.

“How about it? Just right out of the gate, crushes the ball to center-field,” manager Joe Maddon said.

Jason Hammel (9-5) allowed four hits and two runs over five-plus innings for his second victory since the All-Star break for NL Central-leading Chicago. He never trailed after Fowler slugged a 3-1 pitch from Jimmy Nelson (6-8) over the center-field wall to lead off the game.

Hernan Perez had a run-scoring double for the Brewers, and Ryan Braun hit a solo homer.

There were so many fans in Chicago shirts that their boos drowned out cheers from Brewers backers when Braun stepped to the plate in fourth. Braun went deep to center on the first pitch of the at-bat from Hammel for his 14th homer of the year.

TURNING POINT

Hammel departed after allowing a leadoff double to Scooter Gennett in the sixth with the Brewers trailing 4-2. Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. then retired the Brewers’ 3-4-5 hitters in order, capped by strikeouts of Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter on six pitches total.

WRIGLEY NORTH

By the end of the night, Miller Park felt more like Wrigley Field North after Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save, getting Ramon Flores to fly out to the warning track in right with a runner on second.

Even pregame ceremonies had some Chicago flair when cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman, who retired earlier Friday after signing a one-day contract with the NFL’s Bears, threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: CF Fowler missed 27 games after going on the 15-day DL on June 19. “Definitely got some rest. But, you never want to get the rest like this,” he said before the game.

Brewers: Starting RF Domingo Santana was making progress from his right elbow injury after been sideline since June 8. “We’re getting close, certainly,” Counsell said.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP John Lackey (7-6) is looking to overcome a tough five-start stretch, having gone 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in that span.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (6-4) has turned into one of the team’s top starters in his first full year in the majors. He is 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA over his last 13 starts.

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

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