Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Ryan Braun's clutch two-run eighth-inning home run and nine strong innings from CC Sabathia sent Milwaukee over Chicago, 3-1, and the Brewers clinched a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season.
Craig Counsell knocked in the other run for the Brewers (90-72), who won six of seven to end the year. The club wrapped up a wild-card berth and their first postseason appearance since 1982 with the victory and the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Marlins. Milwaukee heads to Philadelphia on Wednesday for Game 1 of an NL Division series at 3 p.m. (et).
Sabathia (11-2), coming off three days rest, allowed four hits and an unearned run, striking out seven with one walk to finish a game for the 10th time this season. He has hurled seven complete games with Milwaukee.
"We took a challenge, and thought outside the box," said Brewers COO Mark Attanasio on the decision to acquire the starter from Cleveland. "I credit Doug Melvin and the baseball staff. This guy is just phenomenal. A week or two ago, we were 2 1/2 out and look where we are now."
Aramis Ramirez picked up two hits and scored a run for the Cubs (97-64), who are off until Wednesday when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the other NL Division series at Wrigley Field at 6:30 p.m. (et).
Bob Howry (7-5) took the loss, charged with two runs and two hits in one relief inning. Angel Guzman allowed one hit and fanned four over his two- inning start.
"Our kids really pitched well today," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "They made a game of it. When I left the hotel this morning, I didn't know how this thing would turn out. Sabathia's a horse."
In the home eighth facing Howry, Sabathia fanned then Mike Cameron slapped a base hit to right. Ray Durham flew out, but Braun belted a pitch deep into left-center -- his 37th of the season -- to give the Brewers a 3-1 edge.
Ryan Theriot singled with one out in the ninth, but the game ended when Sabathia induced a 4-6-3 double play from Derrek Lee.
Minutes later, after the last out at Shea Stadium was recorded, Milwaukee celebrated its first playoff berth since winning the AL East and losing the World Series to the Cardinals 26 years ago.
"We knew what we had to do," said Sabathia. "I was ready to finish it out before they came up to me and I felt the same way when Dale (manager Sveum) came out in the eighth. I'm just happy to come here and help this team get to the playoffs after so many years."
The Cubs got on the board in the second. Ramirez led off with a single and Micah Hoffpauir was safe on a fielder's choice error by Prince Fielder which put runners at the corners. Ronny Cedeno grounded into a fielder's choice at second to plate Ramirez.
From there, Sabathia held the Cubs in check while a revolving door of Chicago hurlers shut down the home club through six frames.
Ramirez began the seventh with a base hit, but was quickly erased when Reed Johnson hit into a double play. Hoffpauir flew out to end the inning.
Durham doubled to begin the home half off Sean Marshall. A Braun groundout moved him to third and Fielder was given a free pass. Michael Wuertz came in and walked J.J. Hardy but fanned Corey Hart. Counsell followed by working a walk to force in a run before Jason Kendall grounded into a force to keep the game 1-1.