It took 16 scoreless innings before the Brewers scored their first run of the season. Since then, they’ve scored 12 runs in 11 innings, and nine of those came in today’s 9-5 win over the Cubs.
Eric Lauer took the mound for his first start of the season, and it initially looked like spring training would carry over to the regular season. The Cubs started with back-to-back singles (along with a stolen base) to get an early 1-0 lead. A strike-out-throw-out double play got the Brewers out of the first. The Brewers got the run back in the second with a Brice Turang RBI double, but Patrick Wisdom of the Cubs homered in the bottom of the inning to put the Cubs back up 2-1.
After that, Lauer settled down nicely. He worked around a walk in the third with the help of a double play for a scoreless third. The fourth inning started with a single by Yan Gomes, but Lauer struck out the side after that. He then needed just nine pitches to retire the side in the fifth and finished with a strikeout to start the sixth before coming out of the game. In total, he had two earned runs allowed in 5 1⁄3 innings, striking out six.
The Brewers offense made sure that would be enough. In the third, Christian Yelich led off with a single. He then advanced to third on a single by Jesse Winker, but Winker was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Willy Adames brought in Yelich with a sacrifice fly and tied the game at 2-2. Another run came in the fourth from a Brian Anderson single and Garrett Mitchell triple, giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, the Brewers blew the game wide open. The inning was bookended with outs from Victor Caratini, but in between, the offense was in full force. Turang walked to begin it, then Joey Wiemer singled. A wild pitch moved both up and Yelich took a five-pitch walk. Winker brought in the first two runs of the inning with an RBI single, and Adames brought in the next run with another RBI single. Rowdy Tellez singled to load the bases, and Brian Anderson hit a sacrifice fly for the fourth run of the inning. Garrett Mitchell brought in the fifth run with another RBI single, and the Brewers had an 8-2 lead.
The Brewers would tack on one more run in the sixth. Turang took another walk and Yelich doubled to move Turang to third. Winker hit the team’s third sacrifice fly of the game and that increased the lead to 9-2.
With that lead, the Brewers had some room to work with to finish the game and the lead was very helpful. Joel Payamps finished the sixth by retiring the last two batters. He returned for the seventh and Wisdom hit his second home run of the day to close the lead to 9-3, but he didn’t allow any more runs. Javy Guerra came in to start the eighth but got into trouble right away, allowing two runs, two walks, a wild pitch, and a hit while recording just one out. Hoby Milner was brought in to finish the inning and stopped the Cubs there. Gus Varland finished the game with a scoreless inning, working around one hit.
Every Brewers starter on offense reached base at least once in the game. Turang led the team by reaching base in four of his five plate appearances (2-for-3 with two walks). Yelich, Winker, and Mitchell each had two-hit days. As a team, the Brewers had 13 hits and six walks, but only two extra-base hits (Turang double & Mitchell triple). They also added on three sacrifice flies and went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Brewers are back home tomorrow for their home opener, with Freddy Peralta facing Carlos Carrasco to start the series. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m.