Cubs top Brewers, lose Willson Contreras to injury


by - Senior Writer -
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras suffered a potentially serious hamstring injury while running to first base. (Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras suffered a potentially serious hamstring injury while running to first base. (Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Although an injury suffered by catcher Willson Contreras took away from the victory, the Chicago Cubs (59-51) put together a well-rounded performance and tabbed several critical hits late in the game en route to collecting a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers (57-55) at Wrigley Field on Saturday. After missing over a month of action due to injury, starting pitcher Cole Hamels returned to the mound for the Cubs and fared well in his five innings of work. At the plate, center fielder Albert Almora Jr. led the charge for the Cubs by going 3-for-3 and hitting a go-ahead home run.

Shortstop Javier Baez single-handedly put the Cubs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second, as he led off with his fourth triple of the season and scored on a wild pitch soon afterward. Baez's 3-bagger carried into the right-field corner, allowing "El Mago" to coast into third base standing up, and Baez then slid across the plate safely due to a pitch thrown in the dirt by Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez getting away from Brewers catcher Manny Pina.

Hamels was activated from the injured list earlier in the day, and he toed the rubber for the North Siders for the first time since he strained his left oblique on June 28. The left-hander struck out six and gave up just four hits in his scoreless outing. As for Gonzalez, he we was taken out after allowing one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched, in which he struck out four. In the inning following Hamel's departure, the Brewers tied the game, with newly acquired Cubs reliever David Phelps giving up a 2-out RBI single to Ryan Braun that scored Lorenzo Cain. Cain initially reached base in the top of the sixth due to a successful Milwaukee challenge that overturned an out call on a close play at first base.

The Cubs were forced to take the good with the bad when they regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Contreras led off with a lineout to left-center that resulted in him tweaking his hamstring as he bolted out of the batter's box. The backstop hobbled down the first baseline and was visibly upset after slowly walking back to the dugout. He was removed from the game and replaced behind the plate by Victor Caratini. The very next at-bat saw Almora record what proved to be the winning hit, as he drilled a 370-foot solo shot that landed in the basket atop the wall in left field.

Almora's 12th homer of the season put Chicago up 2-1, and the Cubs proceeded to tack on two insurance runs in the eighth. Left fielder Nicholas Castellanos started off the bottom half of the eighth with a base knock. A few plate appearances later, first baseman Anthony Rizzo drew a walk, which set the stage for Baez to usher Castellanos home via an ensuing RBI single. With one out and the bases loaded, Almora garnered his second RBI of the day by skying a sacrifice fly that scored Rizzo and provided the Cubs with a 4-1 advantage.

Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel then earned his ninth save of the year by finishing the Brewers off in the top of the ninth. With the 4-1 triumph in the books, the Cubs moved to within one win of notching a 3-game sweep versus the rival Brewers. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they will likely be forced to go for the sweep on Sunday without the services of Contreras, who might be out for quite some time. On top of Almora shining at the dish on Saturday, Baez and Castellanos both went 2-for-4 and scored one run apiece.

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Aug 3, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee (57-55) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 0
Chicago (59-51) 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 - 4 9 0
W: Rowan Wick (1-0) L: Junior Guerra (3-3) S: Craig Kimbrel (9)

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