Observations: Cubs back Williams with home run spree


The Cubs opened their home series with the Brewers with a 5-3 win.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. Kris Bryant got his first start in the outfield of the season. With Brewers southpaw Brett Anderson on the mound, Bryant started in right field, Jake Marisnick in center and Ian Happ in left. Matt Duffy took Bryant’s usual spot at third base.

2. Cubs right-hander Trevor Willams and Anderson were locked in a pitching battle until the fourth inning. After Williams retired his 12th straight batter, Anderson walked Happ, the Cubs leadoff hitter, to start the inning. Then, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras delivered the first hit and first runs of the game with a two-run homer to center field.

3. But wait, there’s more. The fourth inning became a three-homer inning for the Cubs when Javy Báez and David Bote hit back-to-back solo home runs to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead. The Cubs hit as many home runs in one inning Monday as they did in their whole opening series, which they won 2-1 against the Pirates.

4. Williams kicked off his Cubs debut with impressive efficiency, retiring 15 straight batters. He finally gave up his first hit of the game in the sixth inning, a single to left field by Omar Navárez. Williams also issued two free passes, a walk and hit by pitch. But he got out of the inning by inducing a lineout and groundball double play.

5. Monday marked the second straight game that a Cubs pitcher was dominant through five innings and then began to show vulnerability in the sixth. Zach Davies held the Pirates scoreless through five Sunday, before giving up a two-run home run in the sixth.

6. Williams seems to already have won the affection of Cubs fans. He received a boisterous standing ovation when he left the game in the seventh inning. He left the game with two runners on. Both scored, giving him a final line of two runs on two hits and six strikeouts in six-plus innings.

7. Cubs second baseman David Bote had a chance to turn a double play in the seventh inning, one that in retrospect could have saved three runs. But he bobbled a hard-hit ground ball off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. and had to settle for an out at first base. Later in the inning, with two outs, Navárez hit a three-run homer off Cubs reliever Jason Adam.

8. Marisnick stole second base in the seventh inning to extend the Cubs’ streak to four games with a stolen base. This marks the first time since 2001 that the Cubs have stolen bases in each of their first four games.

9. Cubs manager David Ross and an athletic trainer went out to check on Báez and Contreras in back-to back innings after both were hit by pitches. Both stayed in the game. Báez took an 87-mph sinker to the right leg. Contreras took a 93-mph fastball to the helmet.

10. Cubs relievers Andrew Chafin and Alec Mills combined to hold the Brewers scoreless for the final 2 1/3 innings of the game. Mills recorded his first save of the year and second of his career.

Next up: The Cubs and Brewers play again on Tuesday, in the second game of a three-game home series. Chicago rookie pitcher Adbert Alzolay is scheduled to make his season debut, opposite Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta.

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