Brewers rally comes up short in loss to Cubs

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Rookie Jorge Soler hit one of Chicago’s four home runs, and the Cubs’ bullpen nearly squandered a four-run lead before holding on for a 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer to the right-field corner off reliever Hector Rondon to make it a one-run game with two outs in the ninth. The Brewers followed with two more singles off Rondon to bring up Gerardo Parra.

Rondon let out a yell on the mound after striking out Parra swinging on a slider to end the game.

Milwaukee had five hits over the final two innings off Chicago relievers after being held to five hits over the first seven innings by starter Jason Hammel (3-1).

Chicago had built its lead in part on solo shots from Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, on top of Soler’s two-run homer.

But the bullpen nearly blew it for Chicago. The nervous moments for manager Joe Maddon started in the eighth.

Davis hit a two-out RBI double in the eighth off Pedro Strop to get Milwaukee within two runs before the reliever struck out Martin Maldonado with the bases loaded to end the threat.

Cubs fans who made the roughly 90-minute drive north from Chicago cheered like they were in Wrigley Field.

Chicago got two important insurance runs in the ninth, starting with Castro’s leadoff homer.

Addison Russell extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an infield single with two outs in the ninth before advancing to third on two straight throwing errors — one by charging third baseman Elian Herrera, and the second by second baseman Scooter Gennett, who was backing up the play at first.

The error proved costly after Kris Bryant made it 7-3 with an infield RBI single.

Hammel settled down after giving up a run and four hits in the first inning. He struck out eight and walked three; the only other hit he allowed after the first was a solo shot in the sixth by Davis.

Jimmy Nelson (1-3) finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings, giving up five hits and four runs.