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Corey Ray homers, but Brewers fall to Cubs in Cactus League opener

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The reigning, defending, undisputed Cactus League champs will have to climb out of an 0-1 start

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 Championship Season is underway, but the Maryvale Nine will have some work to do if they hope to repeat as Cactus League champions.

This was the first Spring Training game of the year for both the Brewers and the Cubs, and it looked like the kind of game you’d expect after a few months off from playing competitively: plenty of hits as pitchers are more worried about working their arms into shape than actually trying to get guys out, sloppy defense, and guys who may or may not have been pulled out of the stands getting at-bats by the end of the game.

Chase Anderson began the game for the Brewers and had a rough start to the afternoon, allowing a leadoff single to Jason Heyward before Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run to give the Cubs an early 2-0 lead.

Anderson eventually recovered to retire the next three batters, including striking out Willson Contreras swinging on a changeup.

We got an exciting glimpse of the future in the bottom half of the inning, though, as the Brewers tied the game after Tyrone Taylor doubled into the left field corner and Corey Ray got the first “GET UP, GET UP” of the year from Bob Uecker on a two-run home run.

Zach Davies pitched the second inning and put up a scoreless frame, including a strikeout. That would be the last scoreless inning for the Cubs for awhile, as they put up 2-spots in each of the next two innings against guys trying to steal a spot in the Opening Day bullpen in Bobby Wahl and Jake Petricka. Wahl struggled with his command including a leadoff walk, two base hits and a run-scoring wild pitch in between a pair of strikeouts. Petricka started his outing by allowing back-to-back hits and also walked a batter.

The Brewers’ offense was largely quiet for most of the afternoon, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering the starting lineup featured Manny Pina hitting cleanup. Milwaukee was able to cut into a deficit a bit in the 6th inning, when Ray once again came through, this time with an RBI single to score Nate Orf and cut the Cubs’ lead to 6-3.

More interesting names started appearing for the Brewers in the game’s final few innings, including Keston Hiura, who relieved Tyler Saladino at second base. Hiura ended up going 0-for-2 with a hard lineout that was snagged at third base and a strikeout that ended the game.

Among the other notable names, Mauricio Dubon got the start at shortstop for his first game action since tearing his ACL last May. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, but admitted before the game to not getting much sleep last night because he was so excited about getting back on the field.

Lucas Erceg and Tristen Lutz both got an at-bat in the 8th inning, and both struck out. Trent Grisham fared better in his at-bat that inning, driving in Jake Hager to cap the Brewers’ scoring for the day in the 8-4 loss.

The Brewers play Texas tomorrow afternoon in another radio-only game that may see a few more regulars get some action. Mike Moustakas is expected to make his first appearance at second base in that game.