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Milwaukee (2-5) «4100002007121
Chi. Cubs (2-5)020000002490

Brewers ends five-game slide in Cubs' home opener

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Marco Estrada walked out to warm up and saw the wind blowing straight out at Wrigley Field, a rare sight for an April date at the iconic neighborhood ballpark.

It was an unfortunate development for the right-hander, but he made it work in a big way for the Milwaukee Brewers.

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Estrada pitched seven effective innings and doubled home a run Monday, helping the Brewers stop a five-game slide with a 7-4 victory over Chicago in the first game of the season at the Cubs' longtime home.

"I just kept telling myself just leave the pitches down, especially the changeup," he said. "As long as I don't leave balls up, I should be OK. Especially because, you know, I'm a bit of a pop-fly pitcher and I knew in this park with that wind it could be trouble."

Estrada allowed two runs and five hits while bouncing back from a lackluster season debut against Colorado. The right-hander also drove in Alex Gonzalez with a drive into the gap in right-center during Milwaukee's two-run seventh.

Norichika Aoki collected three more hits and Ryan Braun had a successful return to the lineup as the Brewers won for the first time since opening day. Aoki had a career-high four hits in Milwaukee's 8-7 loss to Arizona on Sunday and is batting .588 (10 for 17) in his last four games.

"It's just nice to win," Braun said. "We needed to win."

Welington Castillo belted a two-run homer for Chicago, which has dropped four in a row and five of six. Edwin Jackson was hit hard in his first home game since he signed a $52 million, four-year contract over the winter, surrendering five runs and eight hits in six innings.

The Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded when Dave Sappelt struck out. Starlin Castro then hit a fly ball deep to right, but the shifting wind held it up and Aoki brought it in on the warning track.

"Yeah, I had a bad feeling when we got things going there," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "We had nobody out and with those guys coming up, that wind shift was going to obviously have a factor in the game both ways, and it did."

Jim Henderson picked up his first save of the season in his first opportunity since he replaced John Axford in the closer's role.

Braun, who missed Milwaukee's weekend sweep by Arizona due to spasms on the right side of his neck, went 3 for 4 with two doubles before he was replaced by Logan Schafer in the eighth inning. The 2011 NL MVP has at least one hit in each of his four games this season.

It was Braun's first road game since his name surfaced in records from the now-defunct Biogenesis of America LLC clinic alleged to have provided banned substances to several players. After his name was connected to the clinic, he issued a statement in which he said he used the clinic's operator, Anthony Bosch, as a consultant in appealing a positive drug test that was overturned last year.

Braun was lustily booed by the crowd of 40,083, but he is the best player on one of Chicago's division rivals. And the fans hardly seemed to notice he was at the plate after they got done jeering struggling reliever Carlos Marmol when he came on to pitch the eighth.

"Yeah, I don't think they've ever cheered for me here," Braun said with a grin. "Not too much different than it's ever been in the past."

The day began with a tarp over the infield as showers rolled through the area, but the grey clouds soon gave way to sunshine for an unusually warm opener at the 99-year-old ballpark. Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams each threw out a ceremonial first pitch, and Ernie Banks led the crowd in the singing of the "Take Me Out to The Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.

As soon as Jenkins and Williams left the field, the Brewers jumped all over Jackson (0-2).

With runners on first and second and two down, Jonathan Lucroy and Alex Gonzalez had consecutive walks to force home a run. Martin Maldonado then delivered a bases-clearing double into the right-field corner, lifting Milwaukee to a 4-0 lead.

The Brewers added another run in the second when Aoki reached on a leadoff double and scored on Braun's one-out double to center.

"I just have to do a better job of executing and executing pitches when I put myself in the position to get out of a jam," Jackson said.

That was more than enough for Estrada (1-0), who struck out six and walked one. He was coming off a no-decision against the Rockies, when he allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings.

Notes

  • Milwaukee placed LHP Chris Narveson on the 15-day disabled list after the game with a sprained left middle finger. It will make a corresponding roster move on Tuesday and manager Ron Roenicke indicated it would be a position player since the Brewers had 13 pitchers on the roster.
  • Roenicke said he hopes the struggling Axford will be able to return to the closer spot at some point.
  • Brewers SS Jean Segura was sidelined by a bruised left quadriceps. He is day to day.
  • Cubs LHP Travis Wood faces RHP Wily Peralta in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Marco Estrada throws seven effective innings and adds an RBI with a double to lead the Brewers past the Cubs. (Getty Images)
Marco Estrada throws seven effective innings and adds an RBI with a double to lead the Brewers past the Cubs. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

M. Maldonado
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Chicago

W. Castillo
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4130200 .419
Carlos Gomez, CF5010026 .167
Ryan Braun, LF4131111 .500
    Logan Schafer, LF0000000 .286
Rickie Weeks, 2B5100033 .276
Jonathan Lucroy, C2200301 .182
Alex Gonzalez, SS4211112 .160
Martin Maldonado, 1B5033002 .286
Yuniesky Betancourt, 3B3001111 .250
Marco Estrada, P4011022 .333
    Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000 .000
   a- Khris Davis, PH1000000 .100
    Brandon Kintzler, P0000000 .000
    Jim Henderson, P0000000 .000
Totals377127810  
a-flied out for Gorzelanny in the 9th
Batting
2B - Norichika Aoki (2, Jackson), Carlos Gomez (2, Jackson), Ryan Braun 2 (3, Jackson, Marmol), Martin Maldonado (2, Jackson), Marco Estrada (1, Camp)
SF - Yuniesky Betancourt (1)
RBI - Ryan Braun (5), Alex Gonzalez (4), Martin Maldonado 3 (3), Yuniesky Betancourt (1), Marco Estrada (2)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Gonzalez (2), Martin Maldonado 3 (3), Marco Estrada (2)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
E - Martin Maldonado (1, Misplayed grounder)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Marco Estrada (W,1-0) 7522161 4.50
Tom Gorzelanny 1000020 2.08
Brandon Kintzler0322000 6.00
Jim Henderson (S,1) 1100020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Marco Estrada 100-65, Tom Gorzelanny 15-11, Brandon Kintzler 11-8, Jim Henderson 30-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Marco Estrada 6-9, Jim Henderson 1-1
Batters Faced - Marco Estrada 27, Tom Gorzelanny 3, Brandon Kintzler 3, Jim Henderson 5
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, CF3000010 .095
   a- Dave Sappelt, PH-CF2000013 .000
Starlin Castro, SS5020023 .267
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4000012 .160
Alfonso Soriano, LF4220001 .222
Nate Schierholtz, RF4121012 .316
Welington Castillo, C4122011 .389
Luis Valbuena, 3B3011101 .158
Brent Lillibridge, 2B3000011 .000
   b- Steve Clevenger, PH1000012 .000
Edwin Jackson, P2000000 .000
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
   c- Dioner Navarro, PH1000011 .091
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
    Michael Bowden, P0000000 .000
   d- Scott Hairston, PH1000000 .125
Totals37494110  
a-flied out for DeJesus in the 8th
b-struck out for Lillibridge in the 9th
c-struck out for Camp in the 7th
d-grounded out for Bowden in the 9th
Batting
2B - Starlin Castro (1, M. Estrada), Nate Schierholtz (2, M. Estrada)
3B - Starlin Castro (1, M. Estrada)
HR - Welington Castillo (1, M. Estrada)
RBI - Nate Schierholtz (4), Welington Castillo 2 (4), Luis Valbuena (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Castro-Lillibridge-Rizzo
PB - Welington Castillo (1)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson (L,0-2) 6855560 5.73
Shawn Camp 1322220 9.00
Carlos Marmol 1100120 16.88
Michael Bowden 1000000 1.93
IBB - Betancourt by Edwin Jackson, by Braun, Aoki by Shawn Camp
WP - Carlos Marmol (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 101-61, Shawn Camp 30-17, Carlos Marmol 25-16, Michael Bowden 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 8-3, Michael Bowden 1-2
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 30, Shawn Camp 8, Carlos Marmol 5, Michael Bowden 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40083
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Greg Gibson