Brewers fall to Cubs 4-1 in Cole Hamels’ return at Wrigley Field
CHICAGO — Cole Hamels pitched five shutout innings after spending five weeks on the injured list, Albert Almora Jr. hit a tiebreaking home run and the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The Cubs lost All-Star catcher Willson Contreras to an apparent hamstring injury. There was no immediate word on the severity of the setback.
Out since June 28 because of a strained left oblique, Hamels allowed four singles, walked none and struck out six.
The four-time All Star picked up where he left off before his injury. In five starts before getting hurt in a game at Cincinnati, the 35-year-old lefty pitched at least seven innings and was 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA.
Almora hit a solo homer in the seventh off reliever Junior Guerra (3-3) into the Wrigley Field basket just inside the left-field foul pole for a 2-1 lead.
Almora added a sacrifice fly in a two-run eighth that included an RBI single by Javier Báez. In the second, Báez tripled and scored.
Rowan Wick (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for his first major league victory. Closer Craig Kimbrel got his ninth save in 11 chances.
Ryan Braun singled in the lone run for the Brewers, who have lost three in a row and five of six.
Contreras pulled up and grabbed the back of his right leg as he exited the batter’s box after hitting a drive in the seventh that was caught.
Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez allowed one run on six hits before leaving with one out in the fifth. The left-hander exited his previous start, on July 26 against the Cubs, after 6 1/3 innings with shoulder tightness.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second when Báez tripled to the right-field corner, then scored with a head-first dive on Gonzalez’s wild pitch with Almora at the plate.
Braun tied it at 1 in the sixth on an RBI single up the middle off David Phelps on an 0-2 pitch with two outs. Phelps made his second appearance with the Cubs after being acquired from Toronto last Tuesday.
Before the game the Brewers recalled RHP Aaron Wilkerson from Triple-A San Antonio for his fourth stint in Milwaukee this season and optioned RHP Jay Jackson to the farm club. Wilkerson is 0-0 with a 6.97 ERA in five games with the Brewers in 2019, but 7-1 with 3.06 ERA in 14 starts in the minors.
Cubs: With Hamels activated off the IL, the Cubs designated RHP Brad Brach for assignment. The 33-year-old was 4-3 with a 6.13 ERA in 42 relief appearances. . Contreras was replaced by Victor Caratini after exiting.
Brewers RHP Adrian Houser (4-4, 3.99) gets another spot start on Sunday and faces Cubs RHP Yu Darvish (3-5, 4.46). Houser is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in seven starts, but is 4-0 with a 1.47 in 17 relief appearances. Darvish is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his last four outings.