Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Randy Wells delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Shaun Marcum threw eight strong innings and the Milwaukee Brewers moved a step closer to the NL Central title with a 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
Marcum (13-7) allowed five hits and one run and chipped in at the plate by doubling and scoring during Milwaukee's four-run third inning.
Rickie Weeks drove in two runs and Nyjer Morgan reached base three times, stole a base and scored two runs to help the Brewers reach 91 wins for the first time since 1992.
Milwaukee needs a combination of three wins or Cardinals losses to clinch the division. The Cardinals played the Mets on Tuesday night.
Chicago's Randy Wells (7-5) allowed six hits and five runs in five innings.
Rickie Weeks drove in two runs and Nyjer Morgan reached base three times, stole a base and scored two runs for the Brewers.
Marcum threw just 97 pitches, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter during an efficient performance that came on the heels of two poor starts in which he allowed 10 runs in 11 2-3 innings. Marcum has never lost three straight starts.
The only damage against Marcum came on Starlin Castro's leadoff homer in the sixth. Castro has reached base in 33 straight games, the longest such streak by a Cubs shortstop since Woody English in 1929. Castro has 336 career hits, surpassing Glenn Beckert's franchise record for hits by a player in his first two seasons (post-1900).
Randy Wells (7-5) was roughed up in his second straight outing, allowing six hits and five runs in five innings.
The Brewers didn't get a hit off Wells until Marcum's one-out double in the third ignited Milwaukee's big inning. Marcum scored on Corey Hart's double. Morgan singled in Hart, stole second and scored on Ryan Braun's RBI single. Weeks capped the inning by singling home Braun.
Darwin Barney doubled twice for the Cubs.