By JOHN JACKSON, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Cubs’ offense has rarely produced as consistently as expected. Kris Bryant, though, was never concerned.
Bryant hit two home runs and Jake Arrieta tossed six steady innings to lead Chicago to a 13-6 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist also homered, and Willson Contreras went 3 for 3 with three RBIs as the Cubs won for the fourth time in five games.
Bryant went 3 for 3 and was twice hit by a pitch to reach safely in all five plate appearances. It was his second multihomer game of the season and the ninth of his career.
“I think we were kind of due as a team offensively,” Bryant said. “We haven’t really been doing much early on here. I think it was just a matter of time for us.”
The same probably could be said about Arrieta (5-3). He allowed one unearned run and five hits in six innings to snap a two-start losing streak.
“I think we’ve picked it up in every sense,” Arrieta said.
Travis Shaw had a two-run homer in the ninth for Milwaukee. Ryan Braun, activated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, went 0 for 5 with an RBI.
Eric Thames was 0 for 3 and drove in a run with a groundout before leaving in the bottom of the fifth with leg cramping.
“Today was more precautionary,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He wanted to stay in the game, but at that point it was 6-1, so let’s go to battle Tuesday.”
Brewers starter Chase Anderson (2-1) yielded six runs and seven hits in four-plus innings for just his second loss since July 25 last season.
“When he fell behind in the count, they took really good swings,” Counsell said. “When he got ahead in the count, I thought he pitched all right.”
Arrieta entered with an 11.25 ERA in the first inning this year and got off to a rocky start by giving up a long leadoff double to Jonathan Villar. But the right-hander retired the next three batters — Thames, Braun and Shaw — to escape.
“If you’ve had that problem, psychologically it’s going to make a difference until you get beyond it,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said.
The Cubs then jumped on top with three runs in the first. Zobrist hit a leadoff homer on a 2-0 pitch, Ian Happ had a run-scoring double and Contreras drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Bryant homered leading off the third to make it 4-0, and Addison Russell had a run-scoring double in the fourth.
The Brewers pushed across an unearned run in the fifth, but Bryant got it back with another leadoff homer in the bottom half.
Brewers RHP Junior Guerra (strained right calf) threw 90 pitches over 6 1/3 innings Saturday in a rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He allowed four runs, three earned, and 11 hits. Counsell said Guerra likely will be activated from the 10-day DL later in the week.
The Brewers were a little upset Saturday’s game was postponed two hours before game time. The rain stopped roughly an hour before the scheduled 1:20 p.m. CDT start and it remained dry the rest of the day.
“It’s the first time for us we had players treated for sunburn after a rainout,” Counsell joked.
The home team decides whether a game is played or postponed up until first pitch.
“They told us that their weather forecast indicated our game was not going to be able to be played,” Milwaukee general manager David Stearns said of the Cubs. “Our weather forecast didn’t indicate that.”
The game has been rescheduled for July 6.
Brewers: Following a day off, they begin a two-game home series against Toronto on Tuesday night. RHP Jimmy Nelson (2-2, 3.86 ERA) starts the opener against RHP Joe Biagini (1-2, 3.41).
Cubs: The homestand continues with a four-game series against San Francisco. RHP John Lackey (4-3, 4.37 ERA) starts the opener Monday vs. Giants LHP Ty Blach (1-2, 4.15).