MILWAUKEE — Pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella drew a bases-loaded walk off All-Star closer Corey Knebel with one out in the 10th inning, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Friday night to tighten their grip on the NL Central.
The Cubs hold a five-game lead with nine days left in the regular season after winning their second straight tense game over the Brewers. Milwaukee dropped into third in the division, 5 1/2 games behind Chicago, after St. Louis beat Pittsburgh earlier Friday.
The Brewers had the tying run at first with one out in the bottom of the 10th, but Eric Sogard was called out at second trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. Shortstop Addison Russell appeared to hold the tag as Sogard's foot lifted off second for a split-second, and the call was confirmed on review.
What started as a rebuilding season in Milwaukee is ending with a postseason push that has defied expectations.
But the Brewers' hopes for a division title took another hit after another loss in 10 innings to the reigning World Series champions.
Knebel (1-4) took the loss after allowing three walks and two hits over two innings. Carl Edwards Jr. (5-4) got the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Stephen Vogt and Brett Phillips hit back-to-back homers in the second for Milwaukee. Leadoff hitter Jon Jay went 2 for 5 with two runs and a RBI for the Cubs.
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Cubs: Manager Joe Maddon said that Willson Contreras did not start after taking a foul tip off his knee in Thursday's game, though the catcher entered the game in a double switch in the fifth.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson said he wasn't sure how long it would take him to get back to the mound after having surgery recently to repair a partially torn labrum. Nelson suffered the injury after dislocating the shoulder while sliding back into first base during a game earlier this month. Nelson said he thought his arm would be in a sling for a few weeks, followed by five or six months of rehab before he could start a throwing program.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5) takes the mound after coming off his longest start of season, allowing just a solo homer in 7 2/3 innings in a 4-1 win over St. Louis on Sept. 16.
Brewers: The quick-pitching style of LHP Brent Suter (3-2) could be effective against a Cubs lineup coming off a short turnaround between the games on Friday night and Saturday.