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Cubs' fifth shutout of Crew in '18 fuels sweep

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- The Cubs didn't overpower the Brewers during their four-game series, but they got just enough offense and plenty of solid starting pitching to complete a sweep on Sunday, led by Tyler Chatwood.

Chatwood gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings and helped himself with an RBI single in the Cubs' 2-0 victory over the Brewers. It was the Cubs' fifth shutout of the Brewers this year, and Chicago now holds a 7-1 lead against its NL Central rivals.

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CHICAGO -- The Cubs didn't overpower the Brewers during their four-game series, but they got just enough offense and plenty of solid starting pitching to complete a sweep on Sunday, led by Tyler Chatwood.

Chatwood gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings and helped himself with an RBI single in the Cubs' 2-0 victory over the Brewers. It was the Cubs' fifth shutout of the Brewers this year, and Chicago now holds a 7-1 lead against its NL Central rivals.

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"When you can play somebody in your own division eight times and do well, that's always a boon," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They came in winning eight in a row. I have a lot of respect for them. We didn't beat up their pitching, either. Don't be deceived here. They pitched really well, too. They played really well, too. We just happened to pitch a little better in the series.

"They're a very good ballclub, and we just happened to get them this time around," Maddon said. "They're never to be taken for granted."

Video: MIL@CHC: Maddon on Chatwood's strong outing in win

It's the first time the Cubs have won four in a row despite scoring three or fewer runs in all four games since at least 1908.

"Our pitching staff did a tremendous job all weekend. We just couldn't score any runs," the Brewers' Travis Shaw said. "It's tough to score runs here when the wind is blowing in. We're kind of a home run-hitting team, and we need to find other ways to score when the home runs are not there."

Milwaukee, which came to Wrigley riding an eight-game winning streak, totaled two runs in the four games, the fewest runs allowed in a four-game set against the Cubs since June 2-4, 1919, against Pittsburgh.

Video: MIL@CHC: Russell on stellar pitching in Cubs' sweep

Chatwood struck out four and walked three, including leadoff batter Lorenzo Cain on four pitches. The right-hander threw one strike among his first eight pitches, prompting a quick visit from catcher Willson Contreras.

"I noticed he was a little anxious and moving too quickly," Contreras said. "I went to the mound to slow him down and change the rhythm of the game."

"He kind of just said, 'Trust your stuff, trust that we're going to have a good day,'" Chatwood said of the conversation. "After that, I felt I was able to pound the zone really well. Kris [Bryant] made a really good play on [Ryan] Braun to help me out and keep the double-play situation in order, and I was able to get Shaw to ground into it."

Braun then singled with one out, but Chatwood got Shaw to ground into a 3-6-1 double play and end the inning. Chatwood said he relied on his two-seam fastball most of the game.

Video: MIL@CHC: Chatwood coaxes an inning-ending double play

"That's kind of who I am, throwing a lot of two-seams, getting early contact and getting ground balls," Chatwood said. "With that defense we have behind us, [I was] utilizing that. I just feel I haven't been doing that as well as I know I could. Today that was the big focus, throwing two seams and trying to get quick outs."

The outing was the sixth straight quality start for the Cubs. In 19 games before that stretch, the Cubs pitchers had seven quality starts.

"It's like hitting -- [good pitching] is contagious," Maddon said. "I think you'll see them continue to feed off each other."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chat's bat: Addison Russell tripled to open the fifth and scored one out later on Chatwood's single to center. It was the first RBI for a Cubs pitcher this season.

Video: MIL@CHC: Chatwood rips an RBI single up the middle

"It slipped, and it was a bad pitch," Brewers starter Zach Davies said of the pitch to Chatwood. "I hung it right over the plate. … For them, that was enough today."

"That's what the fun part is -- we have a chance to impact the game, as well, on the offensive side," Chatwood said. "To have a chance to do it and come through is nice."

Russell was responsible for the Cubs' other run in the sixth. They loaded the bases when Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch, Contreras doubled and Kyle Schwarber was intentionally walked. Russell then hit a sacrifice fly to center for a 2-0 lead, chasing Davies.

Video: MIL@CHC: Russell extends lead with sacrifice fly

SOUND SMART
The Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. and Javier Baez both entered the game riding career-high 11-game hit streaks. But the two went a combined 0-for-8.

The Cubs starting pitchers did not give up an earned run over 27 innings in the four-game series, the longest such stretch since July 4-8, 1976 (32 innings).

HE SAID IT
"I think we have a nice rhythm going down there. I think we'll see better results [when the weather improves]. For me, the cold wind just makes the baseball feel almost, like, chalky. You just can't get a comfortable grip. Once we're in the swing of the season with the weather and stuff, you'll see better results." -- Cubs closer Brandon Morrow, who picked up his seventh save in as many opportunities

Video: MIL@CHC: Morrow retires Shaw to lock down the save

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the Milwaukee sixth, Cain backed off from a pitch from Chatwood that the Brewers thought hit the outfielder on the hands. Manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, but after a review, it stood.

Video: MIL@CHC: Cain fouls off a pitch in the 6th

UP NEXT
The Cubs play host to the Rockies in a three-game series starting Monday night. Jon Lester gets the start against fellow lefty Kyle Freeland. Lester served up four hits over seven innings in his last outing against the Indians, but three of those hits were solo home runs. He's 1-3 with a 2.73 ERA in four career starts vs. the Rockies, giving up three homers total over 26 1/3 innings. First pitch will be at 6:05 p.m. CT.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Tyler Chatwood, Addison Russell