CHICAGO (AP)Seiya Suzuki drove in three runs for his first big league RBIs and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-0 Saturday for a testy win during which five batters were hit by pitches and the benches cleared.
The teams exchanged words but no punches in the eighth after Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch from Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson, who was ejected for the first time in his career.
As McCutchen slowly headed to first base while jawing at Thompson, players from both bullpens ran onto the field.
”Everybody and their mom knew when I came up to bat, I was going to get hit,” McCutchen said. ”(Catcher Willson) Contreras didn’t even move his glove behind the plate when I got hit.”
Thompson said the pitch got away from him.
”I don’t think there was any intent on anybody’s hit by pitches today except for one,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Three Cubs were hit by pitches. Ian Happ exited for a pinch-runner in the seventh after he was struck on the knee on a pitch by Trevor Gott. Brandon Woodruff hit Contreras in the fourth and Nick Madrigal in the first. Contreras also was hit by a pitch in Thursday’s season opener.
”I know they’re not trying to, but like I’ve said before, if you don’t have the command to go in, just don’t go because you’re going to get somebody hurt,” Contreras said.
Contreras has been hit 15 times by the Brewers in his career.
”Nobody likes to get hit over and over again and by the same group,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
Ethan Roberts made his major league debut in the ninth for Chicago and hit Christian Yelich with a slider.
Suzuki, a Japanese outfielder who signed an $85 million, five-year contract as the Cubs’ biggest offseason acquisition, had a sacrifice fly, a bases-loaded walk and a single. Happ and Frank Schwindel added two hits apiece for the Cubs, who began a season 2-0 for the first time since 2016.
Justin Steele (1-0) struck out five in five scoreless innings for the rebuilding Cubs. The left-hander was 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA in his first major league season in 2021.
Woodruff (0-1) struggled for the reigning NL Central champions. The right-hander allowed seven runs, six hits and three walks, striking out two in 3 2/3 innings for his shortest outing since Aug. 12, also against the Cubs.
”I don’t want to put anything on the shortened spring training. I felt good today,” Woodruff said.
Last season, Woodruff issued 43 walks in 179 1/3 innings, finishing 9-10 with a career-low 2.56 ERA.
Both starting pitchers were pushed back a day because of Friday’s rainout.
Woodruff began his start with a leadoff walk, hit a batter and walked two more to bring in a run. After another run scored on a grounder, Suzuki’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
Suzuki also drove in runs on a single in the third and a bases-loaded walk by Jose Urena in the fourth. Suzuki singled for his first big league hit in his major league debut Thursday.
Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run infield single in the sixth.
HE SAID IT
About getting hit with a pitch, McCutchen said, ”back when guys knew it was coming, you got it right away.” He disagreed with Thompson throwing a first-pitch slider away before hitting him after three other pitches.
”I do take that a little personal when you’re throwing off-speed pitches the first pitch and then you’re trying to hit somebody. To hurt him? That’s exactly what you’re trying to do,” McCutchen said.
Happ said X-ray results were negative, but he expects his knee to be stiff Sunday.
Cubs: SS Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder soreness) is continuing his throwing program in Arizona. .LHP Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) was expected to play light catch today. .RHP Alec Mills (low back strain) is slated to throw another bullpen this weekend. All three are eligible to come off the IL April 14.
RHP Freddy Peralta (10-5, 2.81 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Brewers against the Cubs and RHP Marcus Stroman in Sunday’s series finale. Stroman was 10-13 with a 3.02 ERA with the Mets last season.
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