Jason Heyward blasted a home run to right-center field with one out in the top of the 11th inning Saturday night to lift the Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in a series that is exceeding the typical intensity of late July.
The Brewers, who led the division for most of June and July up until the past week, had pulled within a half-game of the Cubs with a 2-1 victory Friday night.
Both games featured sellout crowds, with Cubs fans making the 90-mile drive north and making sure they were heard.
"It's 'Jaugust,' I told you that. It's already here," Maddon said of late-season intensity. "There's no getting around it, and I love it. I absolutely love it, and I think our players do. It's great. The fans were absolutely energized tonight. It was good stuff. And, of course, it's better when you win."
The Brewers threatened to get back on top of the division until Kris Bryant's seventh-inning single forged a 1-1 tie.
Milwaukee, which took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, never dented the scoreboard again.
Heyward ripped a 1-1 pitch from Jared Hughes (3-3) into the Chicago bullpen to give the Cubs their first lead of the weekend series. It was his eighth homer of the season.
"I think it was a slider," Heyward said. "I was looking for a strike. Just trying to hit the strikes and not swing at the balls.
"I knew I hit it hard. I didn't see how much it went out. I knew I hit it toward the gap and it had a chance."
Mike Montgomery (3-6) pitched the 10th inning, working around a walk, a wild pitch and an intentional walk to send the game to the 11th.
Wade Davis struck out two in the 11th for his 21st save, allowing a two-out walk to Orlando Arcia.
The Brewers fell to 3-9 in extra-inning games.
"Both teams didn't create opportunities at all," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, so there were certainly opportunities for hits that would have won the game or impacted the game. But we didn't really create that many opportunities."
Chicago wasn't much better, striking out 17 times for the second time this week -- both victories.
"We've got to do a much better job," Maddon said. "I am disappointed in that, the lack of contact, the lack of adjustments. We have to get better with that or we're not going anywhere offensively. But I'll take the home run."
Chicago's Kyle Hendricks went five innings, allowing the first-inning run. Milwaukee's Junior Guerra, the team's ace in 2016, was pulled after three innings, having issued four walks and continually pitching from behind.
Rookie Josh Hader took over and allowed just two runners in three innings -- a two-out single to Bryant in the fifth and a leadoff walk to Willson Contreras in the sixth. He struck out six.
"A lot of fans, adrenaline gets going," said Hader, who used his 97 mph fastball most of the time.
The Cubs forged a tie in the seventh. John Jay, who entered on a double switch, reached on a one-out single off reliever Jacob Barnes. He advanced to second on Ben Zobrist's high chopper to first, with Eric Thames taking the sure out. That turned out to be a huge decision, as Bryant laced a single between third and short to score Zobrist.
Barnes hit Anthony Rizzo to put two runners on but retired Contreras on a foul popup behind the plate.
Neither team really mustered much over the final innings. Milwaukee had just one hit in six innings against the Chicago bullpen. Heyward's homer was Chicago's only hit in the last four innings.
The Brewers hit Hendricks hard on their way to a first-inning run. Thames lined a one-out single and scored on Ryan Braun's double to the gap in left center. Travis Shaw followed with another missile, but it carried right to center fielder Ian Happ. Hernan Perez also ripped a liner that left fielder Kyle Schwarber tracked down just short of the warning track.
NOTES: The Brewers designated RHP Wily Peralta for assignment and called up OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Peralta was a 17-game winner in 2014 but never came close to duplicating that success since. He was Milwaukee's Opening Day starter in 2016 but went 7-11 with a 4.86 ERA and was sent down to Colorado Springs in the middle of the season. Peralta was 5-4 with a 7.85 ERA overall and 1-2 with an 11.84 ERA in 11 relief appearances this year. He allowed runs in eight of his last nine relief appearances. ... Brewers RHP Chase Anderson threw a bullpen session and reported no problems as he is working his way back from a strained oblique sustained June 29. Anderson is 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA. ... Brewers INF Eric Sogard was just 1-for-18 since returning from the disabled list with a strained ankle before slapping a single to left in the fifth inning. He was hitting .331 before the injury but was down to .299 before the single. ... Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that with an off-day on Monday he will flip-flop Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the rotation on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lester will pitch Tuesday and then leave the team to attend a funeral. Arrieta will pitch Wednesday.