Tyler Austin drove a pinch-hit, three-run homer during the Brewers' five-run fourth inning against Jon Lester, and Milwaukee beat the Chicago Cubs 8-5 Sunday to earn another series victory. The Brewers took 3 of 4 at home a week after winning 2 of 3 at Wrigley Field, and that pulled them within two games of the Cubs for the second wild card with three weeks left in the regular season.
The Cardinals are 4 1/2 games ahead of Chicago for the NL Central lead. The Arizona Diamondbacks lost to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 and are a 1/2 game ahead of Milwaukee in the wild-card chase.
Staked to a 3-1 lead, Lester (12-10) allowed RBI hits to Ryan Braun and Hernan Perez before Austin delivered his fourth pinch homer this season. Eric Thames added a solo shot off Lester in the sixth, and pinch-hitter Tyrone Taylor added an RBI single off Duane Underwood Jr. for his first major league hit.
Milwaukee's Brent Suter (1-0) followed starter Adrian Houser and pitched scoreless ball across the fifth and sixth innings.
Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer off Milwaukee reliever Jimmy Nelson in the top of the ninth.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was hit in the face by a 94 mph fastball from Houser. He fell to his knees, holding his head, but eventually was able to compose himself and walk to first base accompanied by Maddon and two trainers.
Russell keyed a three-run rally before Ian Happ replaced him in the field. Russell stole second with a head-first slide and later scored on right fielder Christian Yelich's throwing error. Lester and Ben Zobrist each had a run-scoring double.
Russell was pulled in a precautionary move. He has a nasal contusion and is under evaluation for a possible concussion. He will travel with the team to San Diego.
Lester allowed eight runs and seven hits, walked three and struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings.
Kyle Hendricks (9-9, 3.39 ERA) makes his 27th start of the season and 15th on the road Monday night against RHP Cal Quantrill (6-6, 3.45 ERA) and the San Diego Padres. Cubs are 3-0 in his last three starts.