MILWAUKEE — The young Chicago Cubs finished 2014 with a flourish.
Anthony Rizzo had a two-run homer among his three hits, Arismendy Alcantara hit a two-run double, and the Cubs beat Milwaukee 5-2 on Sunday to take two out of three in the season-ending series with the Brewers.
Chicago still finished in last place in the NL Central at 73-89, but they were 31-28 since July 28.
The future looked bright on a sunny afternoon at Miller Park.
"I think, as an organization, we all feel some momentum going into the offseason. And that's what we need," Rizzo said. "Not only the players, but the front office, as well."
Rizzo went deep to center off Mike Fiers (6-5) in the first. He jogged home to score from third in a two-run sixth on Alcantara's double just inside the first base line.
Rizzo became the first Cubs left-handed hitter with 32 homers since Rick Monday in 1976.
The Cubs have the building blocks of a solid offense with Rizzo and rookie right-handed hitters Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.
"There's always optimism and now you can see it around everywhere. We each got to keep the course, though," Rizzo said.
Jacob Turner (6-11) allowed four hits and two runs in five-plus innings. He beat Milwaukee for the second time since being traded from Miami in August.
Manager Rick Renteria said his starter had good velocity and a good sinker.
"He gave us a chance and the guys just — they chipped away," Renteria said.
Hector Rondon threw a scoreless ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.
The loss culminated a frustrating five weeks for Milwaukee and its struggling offense. Fifteen games over .500 on Aug. 25, the Brewers went 9-22 down the stretch and dropped out of the NL Central lead following a five-month reign.
The Brewers finished in third place in the division at 82-80, out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
"We played great for five months. We didn't play great the last month. Whether we played .500 ball or whatever, we didn't play well and we didn't get in it," manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's what matters. We'll figure out how to stay away from the long losing streaks."
Fiers gave up six hits and three earned runs while striking out seven in six innings. Alcantara's double broke a 2-all tie to score Rizzo and Soler after the runners went to second and third on a double steal.
Rizzo had his eighth three-hit game of the season.
THE .300 MAN
Jonathan Lucroy, playing first base for Milwaukee, went 2 for 4 to finish the year hitting .300. Lucroy made the All-Star team as a catcher, but manager Roenicke started him at first in the finale hoping he could reach the .300 plateau.
Lucroy over the weekend set the single-season record for most doubles by a catcher with 46.
"I mean it's great and dandy but for me it doesn't really matter right now," Lucroy said, "because I'm still going to go home and be (mad) for a month until I calm a little bit from the way it's been the past month."
Cubs: Three players finished the season on the disabled list. OFs Justin Ruggiano (left foot) and Ryan Sweeney (hamstring) have been sidelined since late August. RHP James McDonald spent the whole season sidelined with shoulder inflammation.
Brewers: Roenicke is confident that Ryan Braun's production can improve once the outfielder finds a permanent fix in the offseason for his nagging nerve problem in the base of his right hand. Braun went 0 for 3 on Sunday to finish at .266 — by far the lowest average of his seven-year career.
Brewers: When asked before the game, Roenicke said it was uncomfortable not knowing about his immediate future. GM Doug Melvin said this weekend that the fates of Roenicke and the coaching staff had not been decided. Roenicke is under contract through next season.
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