MILWAUKEE (AP) — Willson Contreras struck back after getting plunked again by the Brewers, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning and enjoying his trip around the bases as the Chicago Cubs rallied past Milwaukee 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Contreras, who has already been hit by a pitch from the Brewers three times this season, got his revenge when he hit a towering drive to left-center off Brent Suter (0-1). The long drive delighted the large contingent of Cubs fans at Milwaukee’s American Family Field.
After leaving the batter’s box, Contreras turned himself around and flipped his bat back toward the Cubs dugout before beginning his trot.
Contreras put his finger to his lips several times as he rounded the bases, as if to hush Milwaukee fans. He walked the last couple of steps to the plate.
Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff hit Contreras in the fourth inning. Contreras also was hit by pitches from Milwaukee’s Devin Williams and Brad Boxberger during the Cubs-Brewers series at Wrigley Field.
This latest incident led to a heated moment between these two NL Central rivals, who are facing off nine times this month.
When Woodruff was at the plate in the fifth inning, Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera threw behind him. Woodruff and Tepera exchanged words afterward.
The Brewers produced a two-out threat in the bottom of the eighth when Andrew Chafin walked Keston Hiura and hit Travis Shaw with a pitch, but Craig Kimbrel got Avisaíl García to hit an inning-ending bouncer to third.
Kimbrel then worked around a two-out walk in the ninth to earn his third save. Pedro Strop (1-0) earned the win with one inning of shutout relief.
Milwaukee collected just three hits against a series of six Cubs pitchers. The Brewers’ only runs came on Luis Urías’ two-run homer in the second off Alec Mills, who was pressed into duty because scheduled starter Kyle Hendricks wasn’t feeling well.
Cubs officials said they scratched Hendricks out of an abundance of caution and didn’t specify the nature of the right-hander’s health issues. Cubs bullpen coach Chris Young and first base coach Craig Driver have tested positive for COVID-19. Manager David Ross said before Tuesday’s game that none of his players have tested positive.
The Brewers wasted a fine performance from Brandon Woodruff, who struck out six and allowed just one run and three hits in six innings.
This marked the seventh straight game in which a Brewers starter had worked at least five innings while allowing no more than one run. That matched a franchise record, as the Brewers also accomplished that feat in seven straight games in August 2011.
The only run Woodruff allowed came in the fourth inning when Contreras was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Anthony Rizzo’s single and scored on Kris Bryant’s sacrifice fly.
Cubs: INF Matt Duffy went on the coronavirus-related injured list. The Cubs already had put relievers Brandon Workman, Jason Adam and Dan Winkler on that list Monday. Ross said before the game that the Cubs planned to “err on the side of caution” with any player feeling any kind of symptom.
The Cubs filled Duffy’s spot on the roster by adding infielder Ildemaro Vargas from the organization’s alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich missed a second straight game with a sore back. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said it’s “not out of the question” that the 2018 NL MVP could return for Wednesday afternoon’s game. “We’re taking it day by day,” Counsell said.
On his 35th birthday, Lorenzo Cain exited the game after two innings due to discomfort in his left quadriceps.
The Cubs and Brewers finish their three-game series with a Wednesday matinee in Milwaukee. Scheduled starters are Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.25 ERA) for the Cubs and Corbin Burnes (0-1, 0.73) for the Brewers.