CHICAGO — Nicholas Castellanos hit a pair of two-run homers, José Quintana took a shutout into the sixth inning, and the Chicago Cubs cruised to their fourth straight win, 7-1 over Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
Castellanos, who went deep off Chase Anderson in each of his first two at-bats, has 11 homers in 27 games with the Cubs since arriving in a trade at the deadline from Detroit and is batting .357 with Chicago. It was his second multi-homer game this season — both with the Cubs — and sixth of his career.
Kyle Schwarber added his team-leading 32nd homer, and third in five games, in the eighth.
The Brewers dropped their fourth game in five and fell to five games behind the Cubs, who hold the second wild-card slot. It was the first of seven meetings between the NL Central rivals in their next 10.
Chicago began the day 1 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central, and 2 1/2 games back of Washington in the first wild-card spot.
Quintana (12-8) rebounded after being roughed up by Washington last week. The left-hander allowed four hits and walked two before being relieved by David Phelps with two outs in the sixth.
Quintana also drove in a run with a double, the first extra-base hit of his career. Victor Caratini had two hits and an RBI.
Anderson (6-4) allowed five runs and seven hits through four innings. Manny Piña had three hits and singled in the Brewers’ only run off Pedro Strop in the eighth.
Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich had a single and double in four at-bats, but his season-high homer drought reached 11 straight games.
Two Cubs regulars, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward, were rested and didn’t start following Thursday night’s win over the Mets in New York. Bryant pinch hit in the eighth and struck out.
Ian Happ doubled to lead off the bottom of the first, then Castellanos followed with a two-run shot to left.
David Bote and Quintana smacked consecutive doubles to the left-center gap by with one out in the second to increase Chicago’s lead to 3-0.
Castellanos went deep to left one out later on a 2-1 pitch to make it 5-0. As he exited the batter’s box, Castellanos lifted his bat over his head with two hands and slammed it into the ground with delight before sprinting around the bases.
The Cubs tacked on an unearned run the seventh.
Brewers: Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura left the game in the sixth with left hamstring discomfort. … Manager Craig Counsell said 3B Mike Moustakas is progressing since leaving Monday’s game with pain in his left palm and wrist after being struck by hard-hit groundball, but had no date for his return. … All-Star RHP Brandon Woodruff (strained left oblique) threw off a mound before Friday’s game. He hasn’t pitched since July 21. … Counsell expects LHP Brent Suter and RHP Jimmy Nelson to rejoin the team this weekend. Suter underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2018 and Nelson had right shoulder surgery after a baserunning mishap at Wrigley Field in 2017.
Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo (back tightness) sat out his fifth straight game. … C Willson Contreras (strained right hamstring) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment behind the plate for Triple-A Iowa on Friday night. He’s been sidelined since Aug. 3.
Brewers RHP Zach Davies (8-7, 3.90) faces Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.73) on Saturday. Davies has lost five straight starts and has a 9.41 ERA during the slide.