Chicago moved within a half-game of first place in the division thanks to Friday’s 4-2 win over Milwaukee and losses by co-leaders Houston and St. Louis.
The Cubs are also just a game behind a logjam of teams vying for the NL wild card.
Matt Clement allowed just two hits over the last five innings of his complete game as the Cubs ended the Brewers’ 10-game winning streak on Friday.
Wes Helms hit a solo homer, but it wasn’t enough for the Brewers, who lost for just the second time in their last 13 games.
Still, Milwaukee’s 10-game winning streak was its best since moving to the NL in 1998, and is tied for second-longest in franchise history. The 1987 team opened the season with 13 straight wins.
“I think it shows our fans at home that this team has gotten better since April. It shows our team and our coaches that we have gotten better since April,” Helms said. “We are on our way.”
The Brewers will send right-hander Matt Kinney to the mound on Saturday.
Kinney has won back-to-back starts, posting a 2.40 ERA in the process. The 26-year-old right-hander yielded four runs and six hits over eight innings in a 10-6 win over Cincinnati on Monday.
Kinney is 3-2 with a 4.56 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break.
STANDINGS: Brewers - 6th place, 12 GB, NL Central. Cubs - 3rd place, 1/2 GB, NL Central.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Kinney (9-9, 4.67 ERA). Kinney was roughed up for six runs and eight hits in a 6-1 loss to the Cubs on May 14, his only career start against Chicago.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Shawn Estes (7-10, 5.71 ERA). The struggling left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in August. Estes was roughed up for seven runs—six earned—and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings in a 13-2 loss to Arizona last Saturday. He’s has made 10 career starts against the Brewers, going 4-3 with a 4.63 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .313 avg. and 31 SBs; Richie Sexson, 35 HRs and 96 RBIs; Geoff Jenkins, 81 runs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .305 avg.; Sosa, 31 HRs; Sosa and Aramis Ramirez, 85 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 80 runs and 27 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Cubs, 7-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - 1B Sexson is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with two home runs and two doubles against LHP Estes. … OF Jenkins will likely miss the rest of the season after breaking his left thumb Thursday. … 3B Helms has hit three home runs in the last five games. Cubs - 1B Randall Simon is 3-for-7 with a home run against RHP Kinney. … 2B Grudzielanek, on the DL since Aug. 3 with a broken bone in his right hand, began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa. … OF Sosa is batting .283 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in August.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 31-37 on the road; Cubs - 33-32 at home.
INJURIES: Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Ford (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ruben Quevedo (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Jenkins (thumb), 15-day DL. Cubs - 2B Grudzielanek (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL.