Bryant, Cubs break out in 11-6 win over Brewers
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Kris Bryant once again was a driving force for the Chicago Cubs.
The NL MVP broke out of his early slump with his first three RBIs of the season and the Cubs overcame a shaky start by Kyle Hendricks to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-6 Saturday night.
Bryant had managed a mere single in 16 at-bats this year before going 3 for 6. He hit a two-run double in the third inning and an RBI single in the fourth.
"As a team, I think it was a great display of some weak hits, but that's usually how things start," Bryant said. "It was really good. Hopefully we kind of turn the page on this opening week and start playing our game."
Javier Baez had two hits and drove in two runs, a day after he was bruised around the left eye in an outfield collision and left the game. The World Series champions got a season-high 17 hits, many of which were not well-struck.
"Bloopers always help," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "All of a sudden you're seeing the ball better, your confidence goes up and you start striking the ball harder."
An infield single by Hendricks put the Cubs ahead to stay 5-4 in the fifth off reliever Jhan Marinez (0-2).
"We needed more fielders tonight," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You get credit for putting the ball in play, for sure, but they found a lot of holes."
Hendricks (1-0), who led the majors with a 2.13 ERA last year, made his first start of the season and gave up a leadoff home run to Jonathan Villar.
Hendricks later was tagged for a homer by Nick Franklin and left after the sixth with a 6-4 lead.
"Once the game started going, I started to find my groove a little bit," Hendricks said. "By the fifth inning, it was pretty good. The sixth was really good. I just needed to get into a groove."
Jett Bandy homered in the Milwaukee ninth.
Making his first start of the season in place of injured Junior Guerra, Tommy Milone lasted just four innings.
"They have a really good lineup," Milone said. "They learn off their first at-bats. That's what makes them really good."
It didn't take Franklin long to make an impact for the Brewers, as he homered in just his second at-bat since being claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. A switch-hitter, Franklin has now hit 22 of his 23 career home runs from the left side of the plate.
Milwaukee optioned LHP Brent Suter to Triple-A Colorado Springs following the game. Recalled on Tuesday, he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings before being hit for four runs in his inning of work Saturday, which raised his ERA to 10.80.
Cubs: Baez returned to the lineup at 2B after the collision with outfielder Jason Heyward. Maddon said Baez will have a scheduled day off Sunday.
"I'm 100 percent normal," Baez said. "I went to hit, and I was feeling good. Since I came out of the game, I was icing it, so the swelling was going down. It was kind of purple today, but I'm good."
Heyward wasn't in the lineup, but was available.
Brewers: OF Ryan Braun was scratched from the lineup with lower back tightness. Counsell said the injury first popped up Wednesday and also forced Braun to sit out Thursday. It was unclear whether Braun would be able to play Sunday.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (1-0) starts the series finale against the Brewers. He did not allow an earned run over six innings against St. Louis in his season debut. Arrieta is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA over his last five outings against Milwaukee.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (0-1) will look to bounce back after surrendering six runs over 4 1/3 innings against Colorado in his first start of the season. He went 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA in four starts against the Cubs in 2016.
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