That division title is within reach.

The Milwaukee Brewers took a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs tonight, dropping their magic number to 3.

Shaun Marcum was absolutely awesome tonight, throwing 8 innings and allowing 5 hits on no walks. Randy Wolf was the last Brewer to stretch 8 innings in a game, and he’s done it somewhat frequently. Marcum’s only other 8 inning outing was way back on May 21st. Tonight, his one blemish came on a solo home run to lead off the 6th inning. But it was the outing he needed, getting knocked around in his last two starts. He has a 3.20 ERA since the All-Star break, slighting better than his season total of 3.31. The Brewers are hoping his best stuff is yet to come.

It was a big 3rd inning that kick-started the Crew. Marcum and Corey Hart both doubled and were followed up by singles from Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Braun. Rickie Weeks brought in the final run of the inning to make it 4-0, and the Cubs had no chance to come back from that deficit. Weeks has now played in two straight full games, giving optimism that his ankle injury is back to 100%, or at least very close.

The division title seems inevitable at this point. Playoff positioning is still up for grabs, which means that the Brewers need to keep the foot on the gas as they pound through the final stretch of their regular season. Roughing up on some weaker teams might not be a fair way to prepare for the playoffs, but confidence is a big issue, and they should be fine in that regard.

 

Follow me on Twitter ( @MilwaukeeBrian ) and don’t miss the Brewers’ “A Simple Kind of Fan” each Tuesday from Pocket Doppler’s Brew Town Boozer.

 

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