Cubs keep showing Brewers why they're dominating rivalry: 'There are no tight butts'

Tony Andracki
NBC Sports Chicago

If the Cubs weren't in the Brewers' heads before, they surely are now.

The Cubs have now won 8 of 9 against their division rivals this season and stand alone in first place in the National League Central.

The Brewers blew a 2-1 lead Monday night in front of another chapter in the Wrigley North Takeover and saw the Cubs dismantle the strongest part of this team - their bullpen.

The Cubs made the formidable Josh Hader look human as they plated the tying run off the young left-hander in the top of the 8th inning and then unloaded on former White Sox pitcher Matt Albers for 5 runs in the 11th.

This is the first time all year Hader has worked in a game the Brewers lost and since he was forced to throw 35 pitches, he will definitely not pitch Tuesday and may be down for Wednesday's series finale as well. Corey Knebel threw 25 pitches to get 4 outs Monday, so the Cubs guaranteed he would only be able to work one of the next two games of the series at most.

To put it simply: Things are not looking great for the Brewers.

"I don't think there's ever any sense of panic with what happens," said Anthony Rizzo, who drew a walk off Hader and hit a homer off Albers to begin the 11th. "They have a guy that's unhittable come in the game and we somehow scratch a run off of him and no one's fazed.

"It's just grind at-bats out. It's an organization-wide mentality of not giving up and we do a good job with that."

No matter what way you slice it right now, the Cubs are the clear big brother in this rivalry.

They have the experience in high-pressure games. They have the talent. They have the attitude.

And now they have sole possession of first place (for now, at least).

"Our guys are loose cannons in the dugout," Joe Maddon said. "There are no tight butts. It's kind of interesting to listen to the conversation, even in a tight game.

"They're in the present tense and that's all I can ask for."

The Cubs won't take any of this for granted. Even with such a ridiculous start in the season series between the two teams, the Brewers are talented enough to win the next 10 straight against their neighbors to the South and finish over .500 against the Cubs.

But for now, the Cubs will take it.

"Yeah, it feels good," Rizzo said. "It's fun playing here. They have a good team, the fans are into it, they're engaged. You got the Cubs fans and the Brewers fans going at it all game.

"These are tough games, we know they're tough games. It's which way is the ball gonna fall and for us, fortunately this year, they've fallen our way."

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