Brewers remain ahead of Cubs with decisive win against Reds

While most expect the defending World Series champion Cubs to rise up in the NL Central, the Brewers are proving they are a legitimate threat to win the division.Jimmy Nelson led the Brewers to an 11-3 win against the Reds Thursday by giving up just two runs with 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He improved to 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA on the season, and Milwaukee (42-39) retained a one-game lead over the Cubs.Jonathan Villar, batting leadoff for the Brewers, belted two solo home runs. The first came in the third inning, then he added another in the fourth. Villar has really struggled this season. Milwaukee would love to see his bat perk up.With Eric Thames on the bench Thursday,Jesus Aguilar filled in admirably by collecting three hits, a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs. The Brewers https://www.philliesedges.com/philadelphia-phillies/mike-schmidt-jersey po se s a deep lineup which allows them to rotate frequently. That should bode well for them as the season progre ses.The Brewers had lost four of their last five games entering Thursday night’s win, but they proved their ability to heat up in a hurry at the Reds’ expense.Pitching could become a problem for the Brewers as their playoff push becomes more real after the All-Star break. Nelson and Chase Anderson, who is injured, are their only regular starters with sub-4.00 ERAs, and the bullpen lacks depth.Still, the Brewers boastan impre sive lineup, one that can stay in the hunt in this year’s mediocre NL Central. If theymake a big splash before the July 31 trade deadline, they could even be postseason threats.Studs of the nightIndians ace Corey Kluber to sed eight innings of one-run baseball in a 5-1 win against the Rangers. Kluber allowed just three hits while striking out 12 batters to improve to 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA for the season. Kluber allowed just six earned runs in 43 innings during the month of June.Ubaldo Jimenez turned back the clock in a 2-0 win against the Blue Jays by to sing a rare gem. Jimenez threw eight scorele s innings while striking out eight batters and allowing just two hits. He is still just 3-3 with a 6.48 ERA this season despite the great performance.Dud of the nightThe https://www.philliesedges.com/philadelphia-phillies/aaron-altherr-jersey Nationals: Having already lost outfielder Adam Eaton for the season with a torn ACL, Washington suffered another potentially devastating injury in a 5-4 lo s against the Cubs. Shortstop Trea Turner left the game in the ninth inning after getting hit by a pitch. Early reports indicate he fractured his wrist. His timetable for a return is not yet known.HighlightIchiro Suzuki continuesto defy his age:Vintage Ichiro. And we love it: https:// https://www.philliesedges.com/philadelphia-phillies/john-kruk-jersey t.co/i0SdplT8Lw #DirtiestPlays pic.twitter.com/U3U1KMKXam MLB (@MLB) June 30, 2017The 43-year-old Marlins outfielder went hitle s in a 6-3 lo s against the Mets, but he proved he can still play.What’s nightRockies (47-34) at Diamondbacks (50-30) 9:40 p.m. ET The two NL wild card holders meet up in a series that promises to provide plenty of offense. Colorado had the day off Thursday, so they should be refreshed and ready for a competitive series. Arizona is fresh off a 10-4 lo s against the Cardinals, so they will have to rebound quickly. The Rockies will send Jon Gray (0-0, 4.38 ERA) out to make his first start since April 13. He will face off against breakout star Robbie Ray (8-3, 2.87 ERA).