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Narveson shuts down Bucs over 5 1/3 innings

The Brewers and the Cubs streak into each other, with different objectives, obviously.

While Milwaukee closes in on its first division title in 29 years, Chicago eyes making its first move up the standings in 115 days.

The Brewers trimmed their magic number for clinching the National League Central to four with Sunday's series-sweeping 8-1 victory in Cincinnati. It was the Brewers' 90th win, which equaled the team's record in the NL, first reached in 2008. The franchise record of 95 wins came during the American League phase in 1979 and 1982.

Milwaukee's clinching number could drop another notch if the Cardinals lose Sunday night's game in Philadelphia. The Brewers could be in position to clinch their title during this three-game series under the Cubs' noses.

"We'll try to prevent that from happening for sure," Carlos Pena said. "We just have to play our game. They're playing for something and we're playing for something that's totally different. They're trying to clinch the division and a playoff berth. We're just trying to win some ballgames and finish up strong. They're playing good baseball, and we'll come at them with the best baseball we've got."

The Cubs are within a game of the fourth-place Pirates. The Cubs have occupied fifth since May 27 -- and trailed the Pirates by 12 games as recently as July 25.

The Brewers and the Cubs both come into this series with eight wins in their last 14 games.

Yet the Brewers' objective is the main reason Chicago manager Mike Quade will be sure to trick out his lineup with all of his veteran -- Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano -- and young -- Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney -- mainstays against left-hander Chris Narveson.

Narveson, undefeated in a dozen career appearances against the Cubs, will be opposed by Casey Coleman.

"They haven't clinched anything yet," Quade said of the Brewers. "As much as I've mixed and matched and done what I think is right [with the lineup], that's an added consideration when they come in here to see how we can best defeat them and make their lives rough in the last week or 10 days."

Castro (4-for-11) has had a little better luck against Narveson than have most of his teammates. Narveson has a career mark of 6-0 against the Cubs, and he is 3-0 at Wrigley Field -- albeit seven of his dozen appearances against them have been in relief.

Coleman will be looking for his first win since May 19; he is 0-5 since then in 10 outings, including eight starts.

Brewers: On the road to a championship
• Sunday's victory was Milwaukee's 38th of the season on the road, eclipsing last season's final total. The Brewers have won 22 of their last 31 road games after a 16-31 start.

• Not all of the Brewers are red hot. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy went 0-for-4 Sunday, 0-for-8 in the Reds series and has one hit in his last 28 at-bats.

Cubs: Castro is Senor Cub
Castro, at 21, has already earned mention in the same sentence with one of the greatest Cubs of all time. Mr. Cub himself, in fact: Castro went 1-for-3 on Sunday to reach base for the 31st straight game, the longest streak for a Cubs shortstop since Ernie Banks in 1960.

Worth noting
The Brewers are coming off a series in which they held the Reds to 13 hits -- while striking them out 33 times. Comments