Cain, Escobar move Brewers close to title with 10-3 win
CLEVELAND (AP) — Lorenzo Cain hit a grand slam to cap a six-run fifth inning, Eduardo Escobar homered from both sides of the plate and the Milwaukee Brewers moved closer to the NL Central title, beating the Cleveland Indians 10-3 on Friday night.
Milwaukee’s magic number to win the division is nine and the Brewers (87-55) are 32 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.
Cain’s home run off reliever Sam Hentges was his third career grand slam and gave Milwaukee a 9-1 lead. Escobar led off the fifth with a home run off right-hander Eli Morgan and started the sixth with a homer against the left-handed Hentges, marking the fourth time in his career he’s homered from both sides.
Cain batted ninth in the lineup that included the designated hitter since the game was played in an AL ballpark. Daniel Vogelbach was the DH and Rowdy Tellez played first base, leaving Cain in an unfamiliar spot in the batting order.
“Honest, I don’t remember the last time I batted ninth,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll take it any way they come. Grand slams are always nice. Tonight was a huge one for me.”
Luis Urías hit a two-run homer in the fourth after committing two errors in the first.
“We had a nice night tonight with hitting some home runs in some big spots,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We’ll take them.”
Adrian Houser (9-6) gave up one hit in six innings— Bobby Bradley’s two-run single in the first — and worked around five walks.
The Indians got their first look at the Brewers this season in the opener of the three-game series.
“They pitch very well,” interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. “They can create and score runs multiple ways. They’ve got the extra base hit ability too. They’re a very well-rounded team. You have to play good baseball to beat them.”
The Indians stole six bases, matching the most in the majors this season, and have stolen 35 straight bases, a streak that began Aug. 11.
Cleveland catcher Ryan Lavarnway committed two errors. Milwaukee scored in the first when he blocked a pitch in the dirt with Kolten Wong on third, but touched the ball with his mask. Wong was awarded home by plate umpire John Bacon.
Lavarnway was charged with catcher’s interference in the fifth when his glove made contact with Urías’ bat with the bases loaded. Milwaukee was awarded a run and Cain hit his grand slam to batters later.
Urías’ throwing error on leadoff hitter Myles Straw’s ground ball to short led to two unearned runs in the first. Urías later misplayed a grounder that forced Houser to pitch out of bases-loaded jam and throw 32 pitches in the inning that ended with Cleveland leading 2-1.
Urías made up for the errors in the fourth with his 20th home run on a 2-2 pitch that scored Omar Narváez, who doubled to lead off and sparked Milwaukee to another road win. The Brewers tied a franchise record for road wins in a season and are a major league-best 47-24 on the road.
Morgan (2-7) allowed eight runs — seven earned — in 4 1/3 innings.
Counsell got his bullpen going in the first. The inning featured two errors, two walks and a hit, but Houser finally ended it when Lavarnway bounced into a fielder’s choice.
“The first inning could have gone sideways pretty fast,” Counsell said. “He made some pitches. After that he was brilliant. He really was.”
“Being able to rebound from that, having a short memory and moving on to the next pitch,” Houser said. “The boys picked me up, They scored some runs. We took the lead again and I didn’t want to give that lead up.”
The Indians had three hits after being held to one hit Wednesday against Minnesota. Cleveland snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak Thursday.
Brewers: C Manny Piña (strained oblique) was activated from the 10-day injured list and walked in the ninth. C Luke Maile was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. … OF Tyrone Taylor (strained right oblique) was sent to Nashville on a rehab assignment.
Indians: Hale said RHP Shane Bieber’s next step in his recovery from a strained shoulder will be to either throw a simulated game or pitch in a minor league rehab game. Bieber, the AL Cy Young winner last season, has been out since June 13.
Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (9-4, 2.38 ERA) hasn’t lost since May 25 and has recorded 196 strikeouts in 144 innings.
Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (10-4. 4.53) has won his last three starts. He allowed three runs in five innings against Boston on Sunday.