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Fiers, Brewers clip Cubs; player notes

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mark Reynolds (7) celebrates with teammate Lyle Overbay (24) after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning Thursday at Wrigley Field. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

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CHICAGO — Mike Fiers struck out a career-high 14 in six scoreless innings as visiting Milwaukee earned a split of the four-game series with Chicago with a 6-2 win Thursday afternoon at Wriggly Field.

Fiers (2-1) made his second straight start in place of injured right-hander Matt Garza and scattered three hits and a walk while striking out the side in the second, fifth and sixth innings before handing it off to the bullpen. Scooter Gennett drove in two runs and Khris Davis homered as the Brewers increased their lead to 2 1/2 games over Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the National League Central.

Edwin Jackson (6-13) was reached for five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings as the Cubs finished up their seven-game homestand with a 3-4 mark. Chris Valaika delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single and Anthony Rizzo doubled among two hits for Chicago.

Milwaukee got off to a quick start when Jackson issued a pair of two-out walks in the first inning in front of Gennett, who drove a slider off the wall in right-center to plate both runners. Davis got hold of a flat slider in the third and took it into the front row in left for his 20th blast.

Elian Herrera hit the first base bag with a sharp grounder in the fourth and had it skip down the line in right for an RBI triple before scoring on Carlos Gomez's single to make it 5-0. Chicago took advantage of Fiers' exit to grab a pair of runs in the seventh, but Mark Reynolds belted a solo homer in the eighth as the Brewers put it away.

CREW CUTS: Fiers has allowed a total of one run and six hits while striking out 19 over 14 innings in two starts since taking over for Garza. ... Brewers RHP Kyle Lohse (ankle) could miss his next start after leaving after the third inning on Wednesday. ... RHP Jacob Turner made his Chicago debut and worked 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief.

Rodriguez close to a sure thing these days

CHICAGO — There are no guarantees in baseball, but the recent performances of closer Milwaukee Brewers Francisco Rodriguez come awfully close.

The 32-year-old right-handed reliever leads the major leagues with 36 saves.

Moreover, he’s recorded saves in his last seven opportunities, including the Brewers’ 3-1 win at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

“He started out the season really locked in early and nobody was getting on base,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “Sometimes I have to use him a lot and then (other times) he disappears and I don’t use him for a week, and I think his command got a little off.

“It looks like he’s back with his good command.”

Rodriguez, who has finished 54 games the season, has entered 49 times in the ninth inning.

He is 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA, 63 strikeouts and just 12 walks.

Player notes

—RHP Kyle Lohse (11-7) lasted just three innings, gave up four runs and departed to start the fourth after tweaking his right ankle during a third-inning at-bat. “I didn’t feel right from the start,” Lohse said. “And then tweaked it trying to check a swing and from there I (couldn’t) push off the way I want to. ... I probably could have kept going, but ... you have to be smart and not hurt something else.”

—C Martin Maldonado went 2-for-3 with a double, homer and RBI on Wednesday and combined with teammate Rickie Weeks with back-to-back seventh-inning home runs. It was Maldonado’s third of the season and first in 28 games since hitting his last on May 14 at Pittsburgh.

—3B Jonathon Lucroy went 1-for-4 and snapped an 0-for-11 hitless skid to begin the series with an eighth-inning triple to the right-field corner. The triple was the third of the year for Lucroy, who failed to score. He’s batting .303 with 28 doubles, 12 homers and 53 RBIs.

—Mike Fiers (1-1, 1.80 ERA) makes his second start and sixth appearance for the Brewers on Thursday. He pitched last Saturday against the Dodgers and picked up a 4-1 victory while working eight innings and giving up one earned run on three hits and a walk. Fiers was called up from Triple-A Nashville last Saturday and moved into the rotation in place of injured Matt Garza. He is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in two career games (one start) vs. the Cubs.

—RHP Matt Garza (oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 4. He had yet to resume throwing as of Aug. 12.

Quote of the day

“He started out the season really locked in early and nobody was getting on base. Sometimes I have to use him a lot and then (other times) he disappears and I don’t use him for a week, and I think his command got a little off. It looks like he’s back with his good command.” — Manager Ron Roenicke, on RHP Francisco Rodriguez, who has converted seven straight save chances and leads the majors with 36.