Cubs homer three times, win third straight
|Monday, April 5, 2021, 10:52 PM- -|
CHICAGO — What started out as a pitcher's duel turned into a homer-fest at Wrigley Field on Monday. The first night game of the season at the Friendly Confines saw the Chicago Cubs (3-1) hit three home runs in the same inning and stave off the Milwaukee Brewers (1-3) the rest of the way, winning 5-3 for their third consecutive victory. On the bump, Trevor Williams made his Cubs debut and collected a winning decision for his solid six-inning showing.
At the plate, the Cubs tabbed five hits and three walks while striking out six times. As for the Brewers, they garnered four hits and two walks while suffering 12 strikeouts. Interestingly, all five of Chicago's hits were of the extra-base variety. A two-out, three-run dinger was the lone extra-base hit by the Brew Crew. Two of the North Siders' three dingers came with two outs. Each team grounded into one double play. The Cubs went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left four stranded, and the Brewers were 1-for-4 with men in scoring position and left three on base.
Williams was signed by the Cubs in the offseason, and he fanned six in his first start of the year. He was charged with two runs and was taken for two hits and two walks. Cubs relievers Jason Adam and Andrew Chafin earned their first holds of 2021, and Alec Mills, who no-hit the Brewers last year, picked up the second save of his career. As a result, Mills became the first pitcher to register a no-hitter and save against the same opponent since Derek Lowe in 2002. Former Cubs pitcher Brett Anderson started off well on the mound for the Brewers but ultimately fell to 0-1 by giving up four runs on four hits, including the three taters, and one walk. He also struck out four.
Willson Contreras hit the first of the Cubs' three jacks with a two-run shot in the fourth. Later in the inning, Javier Baez and David Bote smacked back-to-back solo home runs. A double by Matt Duffy, who started at third base with Kris Bryant in the outfield, and an RBI triple by Eric Sogard served as the Cubs' other two hits. Sogard's triple occurred in a pinch hitting spot. For the Brewers, Omar Narvaez drove home all three of his squad's runs with one swing of the bat. He finished 2-for-3 on the night.
Brett Anderson and Williams battled through 3 1/2 innings, with the first baserunner of the game not coming until Ian Happ was walked to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Willson Contreras followed that with a two-run blast that carried 409 feet out to center. Anderson collected himself and notched two straight outs before Javier Baez took him deep with a 379-foot solo shot to right. Baez's opposite-field dinger gave way to a 421-foot rainmaker by David Bote, which sailed over the center field wall.
With the Cubs leading 4-0, Duffy, who was making his first start in a Cubs uniform, doubled toward the wall in right-center to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Happ laid down a one-out sacrifice bunt that moved Duffy to third, but Contreras then grounded out. Williams loaded the bases via a hit by pitch with one out in the top of the sixth but forced Keston Hiura to ground into a 5-4-3 double play after that. Eric Yardley beaned Baez above the right kneecap with a pitch that got away from him in the bottom of the sixth. Baez was able to walk it off and remain in the game.
Williams was pulled in favor of Jason Adam with two men on base in the seventh. Adam went on to give up a three-run blast to Omar Narvaez and was yanked soon afterward. Devin Williams pitched for the Brewers in the seventh and struggled. A leadoff walk of Jake Marisnick led to Marisnick swiping second, meaning the Cubs stole a base in their first four games for the first time since 2001. Eric Sogard plated Marisnick with a triple to right.
Also in the seventh frame, Contreras was drilled in the head by a Williams fastball, which knocked his helmet off, but shook it off and took his base. He and Sogard were both left stranded, though. Andrew Chafin struck out the side in the top of the eighth, and Alec Mills went three up, three down in the top of the ninth, finishing off the 5-3 Cubs win in the opener of the three-game series.