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MILWAUKEE (AP) – Zack Greinke pitched effectively into the eighth to remain perfect at home, Corey Hart homered for the second time in as many days and the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Chicago Cubs with a 3-2 win on Sunday.
Greinke (13-5) improved to 10-0 at Miller Park and didn’t allow a hit until Marlon Byrd’s fifth-inning bloop. In the bottom of the inning, Greinke singled, stole second and scored on Hart’s blast.
The NL Central-leading Brewers began Sunday a franchise-best 10 1/2 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, who faced Pittsburgh.
This one got tight late after John Axford allowed a solo homer to Tyler Colvin in the ninth and third baseman Casey McGehee bobbled two balls before tagging out Byrd to end it.
In the eighth, Greinke left with two out and a man on second for Francisco Rodriguez, who allowed an RBI double to Darwin Barney that made it 3-1 before Aramis Ramirez grounded out to end the inning.
Colvin homered off Axford with one out in the ninth. Axford walked Byrd before getting Alfonso Soriano to hit a warning track fly ball for the second out, but McGehee misplayed pinch hitter Reed Johnson’s grounder to put two on.
McGehee bobbled the next ball by pinch hitter Geovany Soto, but recovered to tag out Byrd to give Axford his 40th save this year.
The Brewers completed their second straight three-game sweep over the Cubs to improve to 21-5 this month, tying the franchise mark for most wins in a month set in June 1978.
Greinke extended his franchise-best home start to 10-0 with a 2.96 ERA over 12 starts as Milwaukee won for a major-league best 50th time at Miller Park this season. The victory ensures Milwaukee will finish .500 or better for the third time in the last five years.
Just like the day before, the Brewers scored in the first against the Cubs.
Hart extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single, reached second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Ryan Braun’s double.
In the bottom of the fifth, Greinke singled and stole the first base of his career when Cubs starter Casey Coleman (2-7) never looked over at him. Hart reached safely for the 10th straight plate appearance with his home run to left.
Greinke struck out seven, scattering four hits and two walks. The Brewers have won all 12 starts the 2009 AL Cy Young winner has made at Miller Park, and he also was part of a strong defensive effort.
After Byrd’s bloop landed in front of center fielder Nyjer Morgan in the fifth, Soriano hit a liner right back to Greinke, who doubled off Byrd for the second out then struck out Koyie Hill to end the inning.
In the sixth, Hart stretched out to grab Starlin Castro’s liner to right, preventing what would’ve been at least a double.
It was another dismal series in Milwaukee for the Cubs, who won their first game at Miller Park this season and lost the final eight. Ramirez’s 16-game hitting streak and Castro’s career-high 11-game streak ended, but Cubs manager Mike Quade didn’t see much of it. He was ejected by plate umpire Bill Miller after Ramirez struck out in the first.
NOTES: According to STATS LLC, Greinke joined Cliff Lee of the Phillies and Ted Lilly of the Dodgers as the only pitchers with stolen bases this season. … The Brewers have a day off Monday before starting a three-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday. Brewers RHP Shaun Marcum (11-4, 3.38 ERA) is expected to face RHP Edwin Jackson (3-2, 3.99) in the opener. … The Cubs open a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday. Cubs RHP Randy Wells (5-4, 5.53) will take the mound against Tim Lincecum (12-10, 2.46).
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