Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Ted Lilly pitched no-hit ball through the first six innings as the Chicago Cubs threw a wrench into Milwaukee's postseason hopes with a 7-3 win in the second of three at Miller Park.
The loss, coupled with the Mets' 2-0 win over Florida on Saturday, moves Milwaukee into a tie with New York in the NL wild card race with one game remaining in the regular season.
The Brewers will turn again to C.C. Sabathia for the finale on Sunday as the ace will be throwing on three days' rest for the third straight time.
Should Milwaukee and New York remain tied after Sunday, the one-game playoff will take place Monday in New York.
Daryle Ward and Kosuke Fukudome each hit two-run homers while Mike Fontenot added three RBI for the Cubs, who have already clinched the best record in the NL and snapped a two-game losing streak. Lilly (17-9) gave up just two hits and one run through six-plus innings of work.
"Heading into the playoffs we need to be aggrressive," said Lilly. "We need to play hard and have that mentatlity and have that aggressivness. I still don't think now is the time to be relaxed."
Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy each had an RBI for the Brewers, who had won five straight. Ben Sheets (13-9) lasted just 2 1/3 innings in the start as he was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on five hits with a pair of walks.
"He did a good job," said Milwaukee center fielder Mike Cameron about Lilly. "He's a good pitcher. They have a good baseball team. There is a reason why they won as many games as they have this season. We got a good team too, it's just a matter of executing better. Fontenot has been killing us all season. We got a good guy going for us tomorrow, we'll see what happens."
Trailing by three runs to start the eighth, the Brewers made it a one-run game in the frame. With Jason Marquis starting the inning on the mound, Russell Branyan worked a one-out walk and Cameron followed with a single. Counsell then knocked a pinch-hit single to right to score Alcides Escobar, who was running for Branyan. After Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Neal Cotts took the mound.
Fielder was the only batter Cotts faced and he singled to left to score Cameron to make it a 4-3 contest. Michael Wuertz then toed the rubber and got Hardy and Corey Hart to hit into force outs to get out of the inning.
However, the Cubs got the runs back and more in the ninth. Ryan Theriot hit a one-out single and Fukudome followed with a blast over the right field wall for a 6-3 lead. Fontenot later donated an RBI single for a 7-3 edge.
Kerry Wood retired the Brewers in order in the ninth to close out the game.
The Cubs got on the board in the first inning. With one out, Ronny Cedeno punched a single to right. After Micah Hoffpauir struck out, Ward launched a pitch over the right field wall for his fourth home run of the season.
Chicago plated two more runs in the third. Cedeno reached base on an error by Bill Hall, Hoffpauir followed with a walk and, after Ward flied out, Reed Johnson walked to load the bases. Fontenot then produced a two-run single to right for a 4-0 lead.
Lilly, meanwhile, was near flawless through the first six innings. The only two batters to reach base for Milwaukee were Hardy, who reached on a throwing error by Cedeno in the second, and Cameron, who reached on a walk in the sixth.
Milwaukee, though, got to Lilly in the seventh. Braun got a double to lead off the inning and Fielder followed with a single to chase Lilly from the game.
Carlos Marmol took the mound and the Brewers got on the board as Hardy's sacrifice fly scored Braun to make it a 4-1 game. Marmol got Hart and Rickie Weeks to fly out and kill the threat.