MILWAUKEE — When it comes to their nine-game win streak, Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers are employing a time-tested philosophy.
A short-term memory.
“It's just really been about that night and going into it thinking that you're 0-0, you know, you got a zero-game winning streak and just got to play well that night,” Yelich said.
Yelich and Mark Canha homered during Milwaukee's four-run first inning, and the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Monday night in the opener of a big three-game series between NL Central rivals.
Wade Miley pitched six effective innings as Milwaukee moved five games ahead of second-place Chicago in the division. The nine straight wins is the longest streak for the Brewers since an 11-game run in 2021.
“It's so many guys doing their jobs,” manager Craig Counsell said, “and that's what it takes. It takes different guys.”
Returning home after a 5-2 trip, Chicago committed two costly errors and finished with five hits. Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom homered, but Jameson Taillon got off to a rough start.
Yelich drove Taillon's third pitch to left-center for his 17th homer. It was Yelich's fifth leadoff homer of the season and No. 9 for his career.
“Starting off games like that is the ultimate momentum builder,” Counsell said. “We put our best hitter at the top of the lineup, and it matters."
Sal Frelick and Willy Adames singled with one out, and each runner moved up when shortstop Dansby Swanson committed a throwing error on Adames' grounder. Following Rowdy Tellez's sacrifice fly, Canha hit his eighth homer deep into the bleachers in left field.
Milwaukee added another run in the second when Yelich singled, advanced to second on second baseman Nico Hoerner's throwing error and scored on William Contreras' single to left.
Taillon (7-9) was charged with four earned runs and nine hits in six innings. The right-hander, who signed a $68 million, four-year contract with Chicago in December, dropped to 0-3 with a 7.84 ERA in his last four starts.
“There was a lot of hard contact early on. It was loud. They weren't missing mistakes,” Cubs manager David Ross said, “and then it looked like the execution got better as the performance got better.”
Wisdom trimmed Milwaukee's lead to 5-2 with his 21st homer in the fifth, but Adames responded with a two-out RBI double off Drew Smyly in the seventh.
Miley (7-3) permitted four hits in his first win since July 9. The veteran left-hander struck out one and walked none while throwing 50 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
“The use of my changeup has been down a lot, like 8% down, and it's kind of rated as my worst pitch right now,” Miley said. “It's kind of been the pitch that's gotten me along for the last couple years, and I just made a point to throw it more tonight. Threw more cutters and knocked off the fastballs a little bit.”
Miley helped himself in the fourth, snaring Seiya Suzuki's two-out liner with a runner on first. Second baseman Brice Turang also robbed Nick Madrigal of a hit with a diving stop in the third.
Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser was placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow stiffness. RHP JB Bukauskas was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. ... 1B Carlos Santana rested one day after he sprained his right ankle. Tellez started at first.
Cubs: RHPs Marcus Stroman (rib cartilage fracture) and Michael Fulmer (forearm strain) were scheduled for checkups Monday. There likely will be an update on each player Tuesday. ... LHP Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation) threw live batting practice.
Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes (9-6, 3.65 ERA) and Cubs left-hander Justin Steele (14-3, 2.80) take the mound Tuesday night. Burnes is looking for his first win since July 20. Steele is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA in his last seven starts.