Soto powers Cubs over Brewers

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CHICAGO (AP)—Cubs manager Mike Quade thinks the Milwaukee Brewers have put together a terrific season. He just wants them to find another spot for their big party.

Geovany Soto(notes) hit a pair of two-run homers and a run-scoring single, leading Chicago to a 5-2 victory over the Brewers on Monday night.

Milwaukee’s loss and St. Louis’ win over Philadelphia kept the Brewers’ magic number for clinching the NL Central at four. They are looking for their first division title in 29 years.

While praising Milwaukee’s strong season, Quade said, “I would like to see them not finish it here. Tonight was a good start.”

Now, the earliest the Brewers can clinch is Wednesday, which is the end of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

“You’re still just trying to take it game by game,” Brewers starter Chris Narveson(notes) said. “Magic numbers don’t mean anything until you clinch.”

With Milwaukee’s loss, the NL East champion Phillies clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

“It’s just a game,” Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy(notes) said. “We got beat today. Hopefully we can come tomorrow and get a win.”

The Cubs snapped a six-game losing streak to the Brewers.

Soto connected against Narveson (10-8) in the third and Marco Estrada(notes) in the sixth. He also singled in Marlon Byrd(notes) in the fourth.

Soto has three career multihomer games, each coming against the Brewers.

“I heard about that, but I think it’s maybe because we play against them so much,” he said. “I got a lot of opportunities against the division. Like I said, I was just trying to be consistent and put together good at-bats.”

Cubs starter Casey Coleman(notes) (3-8) had a career-high eight strikeouts in six inning, yielding one run and two hits. The right-hander was 0-5 with a 7.98 ERA in his previous 10 appearances.

“It’s been a learning year for me, have a good outing and I would get too comfortable sometimes and the next outing three innings and you’re out of the game,” Coleman said, “so tonight I was taking it inning by inning, out by out, and they played good defense behind me and that’s the way it’s got to be.”

Jeff Samardzija(notes) and Sean Marshall(notes) combined for two scoreless innings before the Cubs went to closer Carlos Marmol(notes) for the ninth.

Marmol provided some drama by giving up a solo homer to Casey McGehee(notes) and allowing consecutive singles to Mark Kotsay(notes) and Lucroy. With runners on first and second and one out, Marmol struck out Taylor Green(notes) and Corey Hart(notes) to end the game.

Narveson was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits.

Despite sweeping Cincinnati over the weekend, the Brewers have lost seven of their last 12 games.

Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) went deep in the third for his first homer since joining the Brewers on July 30.

The Cubs responded in the bottom half. Carlos Pena led off with a walk and Soto cleared the bleachers in left field for his 16th homer.

It was Narveson’s first start since allowing six runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings during a 7-2 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 8.

NOTES: Cubs RHP Randy Wells(notes) is Tuesday’s scheduled starter. He is 5-0 with a 3.57 ERA in his last nine starts. … RHP Shaun Marcum(notes) is scheduled to start for the Brewers on Tuesday. In his last two starts, Marcum allowed 10 earned runs in 11 2-3 innings. … The Cubs called up C Steve Clevenger(notes) and RHP Rafael Dolis(notes) from Double-A Tennessee. … Cubs SS Starlin Castro(notes) has reached base in 32 straight games.

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