Contreras' two-run single leads Brewers past Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — William Contreras hit a tiebreaking two-run single in Milwaukee's three-run eighth inning, and the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Saturday for the team's first win of the season.
Brandon Woodruff pitched six sharp innings for Milwaukee, and Devin Williams worked a rocky ninth for the save. The Brewers lost 4-0 to the Cubs on Thursday on opening day.
Dansby Swanson collected three more hits for Chicago, and Ian Happ homered. Justin Steele struck out eight in six innings.
The Cubs led 1-0 before the Brewers rallied in the eighth in cold, windy conditions at Wrigley Field.
Brian Anderson led off with a single against Javier Assad (0-1). Pinch-hitter Garrett Mitchell then tried to sacrifice Anderson over before reaching on a walk. Jesse Winker, who was acquired in a December trade with Seattle, followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to center.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Contreras blooped a two-run single into right against Michael Fulmer.
Contreras was robbed of two possible hits by Swanson at shortstop before he delivered. Contreras and Swanson played together with the Braves in the previous three seasons.
“We’ll take that there. That was probably the bigger spot for him,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Cubs manager David Ross decided to bring back Assad for a second inning of work after a perfect seventh.
“Bottom of the order, he’s looked very good," Ross said. "He cruised through the seventh, he’s looked sharp all the way through the (World Baseball Classic), this spring, one of our better pitchers. Looked really good. I had no hesitation to send him back out.”
Peter Strzelecki (1-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win.
Chicago tried to rally against Williams in the ninth. Swanson led off with a line drive off the reliever’s right shoulder. Swanson, who signed a $177 million, seven-year deal in free agency, also had three hits on opening day.
Happ followed with another single, but Williams got Cody Bellinger to bounce into a double play before Miles Mastrobuoni struck out swinging.
Milwaukee rookie Joey Wiemer doubled down the right-field line in the second in his first major league at-bat.
Woodruff allowed one run and three hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
The veteran right-hander had concerns about pitching in the cold weather after he was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome last season. The condition causes the blood vessels in the extremities to narrow, restricting blood flow. It commonly affects the fingers.
“I didn’t know how I was going to react today," Woodruff said. “That was one part I was a little nervous about, but it was good. I just have to take care of stuff in between innings just to make sure my hands are warm. That’s about it, but once you get out there and start competing and pitching you’re not worried about it.”
The first-pitch temperature was 39 degrees, and there was a gusty wind from the northwest at 23 mph. A message on the videoboard recommended fans take a break during the game and utilize designated warming areas.
Brewers: INF Luis Urías was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring, and Wiemer was promoted to the big league roster. Urías is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain) threw a bullpen session on Friday. ... OF Seiya Suzuki (left oblique strain) will take at-bats in extended spring training in the upcoming week.
The three-game series concludes Sunday when Chicago’s Jameson Taillon faces Milwaukee left-hander Eric Lauer.
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