The wind was blowing in from straight away center field, resulting in fly balls staying inside the yard. Both the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers found themselves in a pitcher’s duel until shortstop Addison Russell came through in the sixth.
Shortstop Addison Russell has had a few solid games while the Chicago Cubs were defending their home turf. Just a few weeks ago, Russell hammered a three-run homer to help lift the North Siders over the Cincinnati Reds to help lead the way to what would be a three-game sweep.
Chicago ended their first homestand with an impressive 4-2 record and entered tonight’s contest with a 10-3 road trip. This team has played some excellent baseball to begin the 2016 campaign.
Russell finished the game 2-for-4 on the evening and made a few quick defensive plays. But just like their first 2016 encounter with Brandon Finnegan and the Reds, Jimmy Nelson was cruising through their lineup early on.
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Nelson (3-2, 3.16 ERA) held the Cubs (15-5) hitless until the bottom half of the fourth when last year’s National League Rookie of the Year winner, Kris Bryant, recorded his sixth double of the season. Milwaukee would prevent the Cubs from tying things up after getting Anthony Rizzo to strike out and Ben Zobrist to fly out to Ramon Flores.
The Brew Crew jumped all over 26-year-old right-hander Kyle Hendricks during the second by drawing a leadoff walk drawn by Chris Carter and a double off the bat of Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Yes, that is a real last name. Carter would cross home plate on an Aaron Hill sacrifice fly, giving Nelson a one-run lead.
Hendricks (1-2, 3.52 ERA) pitched five solid innings of work, holding the Brewers (8-12) to one earned run on two hits with that one free pass while striking out four batters. Skipper Joe Maddon pulled Kyle after the fifth inning and replaced him with Adam Warren.
Just an inning after Chicago tied things up at one apiece, the Cubbies took advantage with runners on base. Bryant reached base safely to open up the home half of the inning thanks to a fielding error by the third baseman, Hill. Moments after Rizzo flown out to center, Zobrist worked a six-pitch walk, forcing Craig Counsell to pull his starter.
Left fielder Jorge Soler was unable to capitalize after the walk, leaving it up to Russell who came through with an RBI triple to right-center field. This put the Cubs out in front by the score of 3-1. Rizzo would later make it 4-1 on an RBI double in the seventh.
Milwaukee put together a brief rally late in the game when Ryan Braun entered the game as a pinch-hitter. Braun tagged reliever Pedro Strop for a two-run double, bringing his club within one. Hector Rondon slammed the door on the Brew Crew, giving his club game one of this series.