Victor Caratini hit his first career home run, a solo shot that broke a tie in the seventh and backed John Lackey's solid six-inning start to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Sunday.
Caratini homered to straightaway center off a 1-2 fastball from Zach Davies (12-5) with one out in the seventh for a 3-2 lead, delighting the bevy of Cubs fans who made the trek north from Chicago. The Cubs took two of three games in an important series at Miller Park.
With the non-waiver trade deadline looming Monday, the Cubs increased their lead in the National League Central over the second-place Brewers to 2 1/2 games.
Lackey (8-9) struck out seven and allowed five hits over six innings, including Domingo Santana's game-tying, two-run homer in the sixth that just landed beyond outfielder Jason Heyward's outstretched glove in the right-field corner.
Caratini gave the Cubs the lead for good an inning later. Kris Bryant added an insurance run in the eighth after hitting a solo homer that caromed off the left-field pole off of reliever Jacob Barnes.
Lackey won his third straight start, while Wade Davis pitched a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save.
Davies allowed seven hits and three runs over an otherwise effective seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and gave up his first earned run since July 14 on Willson Contreras' infield single with two outs to open the scoring in a two-run sixth.