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Cubs clinch NL Central title despite falling to White Sox, 9-5

By LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs couldn't hold on to a three-run lead Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, but they still clinched the National League Central title with help from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jose Abreu drove in three with a double to cap a five-run fourth inning for the Sox in a 9-5 win in the City Series at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox snapped a six-game losing streak, but the Cubs (33-26) clinched the division for the first time since 2017 because the Brewers beat the Cardinals, 3-0, in St. Louis. The Brewers-Cardinals game went final as the City Series contest entered the seventh inning.

The Cubs will be the No. 3 seed in the NL playoffs and will host a best-of-three first-round series beginning Wednesday.

With the NL Central wrapped up, the American League Central remains up for grabs. The Sox (35-24) are one game behind the first-place Minnesota Twins (36-23), who beat the Reds 7-3. The Sox have the tiebreaker over the Twins.

The Cleveland Indians (34-25) are in third place after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-0.

The Sox were without manager Rick Renteria, who served a one-game suspension after MLB ruled reliever Jimmy Cordero intentionally hit Willson Contreras with a pitch in the seventh inning of Friday's 10-0 Cubs win. Cordero received a three-game suspension, which he is appealing.

The Cubs built a three-run lead Saturday with the help of Kris Bryant, who missed the previous four games because of lower right oblique tightness. Bryant hit a grand slam to left field off Sox starter Dane Dunning in the third, giving the Cubs a 5-2 lead.

 

The Sox regained the lead with the five-run fourth. They loaded the bases with one out for Nick Madrigal. He hit a grounder to short and beat Javier Baez's throw to first. James McCann scored.

Jon Lester struck out Tim Anderson but then walked Yoan Moncada. Luis Robert scored, making it 5-4.

Ryan Tepera replaced Lester, and Abreu ripped a 2-2 cutter over the head of left fielder Kyle Schwarber. Three runs scored on the double, giving the Sox a 7-5 lead. Abreu leads the AL with 60 RBIs.

Moncada extended the lead with a two-run home run off Jason Adam in the sixth.

Matt Foster (6-1) pitched a spotless fourth inning for the win, Garrett Crochet struck out three in two scoreless innings and Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Alex Colome pitched one hitless inning each to close it out.

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