Crew brings heat, tops Cubs in cold opener

Jeff Bandy and Domingo Santana each hit two-run singles for the Brewers, who bounced Chicago starter Eddie Butler early. The right-hander, making his second start for the Cubs, walked five over three-plus innings.

Rain halted play in the Milwaukee sixth with the Brewers leading, 4-3. Eric Thames singled to open the inning against the Cubs’ Pierce Johnson, who was also making his Majors debut. Thames reached third on a double error by left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who scrambled to try and catch Jonathan Villar‘s popup but dropped it, then made a poor throw to second. Home-plate umpire Tim Timmons then stopped play, and the game was delayed for 1 hour, 59 minutes.

Espino, who has been in the Minors in the Indians and Nationals organizations, gave up three runs over four innings. The Panamanian right-hander’s father, Alex, made the trip to see his son’s debut. The Brewers are hoping Espino could become another Junior Guerra, who emerged as the team’s best starter last year at age 31.

The Cubs erased the Brewers’ 2-0, first-inning lead as Jon Jay hit an RBI double in the third, and Willson Contreras delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the fourth. But the Brewers loaded the bases in the rainy fifth, tying the game at 3 on Orlando Arcia‘s infield single and taking the lead when Mike Montgomery walked pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar.

First things first:¬†Butler needed 28 pitches to get through the first inning in his first start a week ago. This time, he threw 40 in the first, walking three, and he served up a two-run single to Jett Bandy. Espino, on the other hand, retired the Cubs in order on eight pitches in the first. Butler was lifted after Arcia’s infield single to lead off the Brewers’ fourth. He finished with 92 pitches over three plus innings.

Fourth-inning rally: The Cubs loaded the bases in the fourth on three straight singles by Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist. Contreras followed with a two-run go-ahead single, but Javier Baez ended the rally with an oddly timed bunt attempt. On the second pitch of his at-bat, Baez tried to bunt, and he popped up to catcher Bandy. Espino then struck out Montgomery and got Jay to ground out.

Brewers:Chase Anderson seeks his second Wrigley Field win of the season when he starts Saturday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. CT on MLB.TV. Anderson, who was the pitcher of record in the Brewers’ April 17 win at the Friendly Confines after allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings, has a 3.09 ERA in three career starts at Wrigley, and a 2.66 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.

Cubs:Jake Arrieta will start Saturday in the second game of this weekend series. He’s coming off a loss to the Cardinals, in which he threw two poor pitches, and both resulted in two-run homers. He beat the Brewers on April 9 at Miller Park, giving up three runs over seven innings.

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This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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