The Cubs welcomed back Cole Hamels from injury Saturday and were able to keep their hot play at home going. It might have come as a cost, however, as Willson Contreras appeared to suffer a hamstring pull late in the game.
Hamels was excellent in his first game back from his oblique strain, going five strong. David Phelps ran into trouble in the 6th inning allowing an infield hit to Lorenzo Cain and walking Christian Yelich with no outs. Phelps almost escaped the jam before Ryan Braun flipped a two-out single to center that tied the score at one.
Contreras flew out to center to start the 7th and came up holding his hamstring out of the batters box, he had to leave the game. Albert Almora Jr. followed and lifted a fly ball off of Junior Guerra that just barely reached the basket in left for a go-ahead homer.
Rowan Wick and Steve Cishek held the Brewers at bay in the 7th and 8th innings. A Báez single and Almora sacrifice fly increased the Cubs lead to 4-1 in the 8th. Craig Kimbrel pitched around a two-out double for a relatively easy save to end it. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs’ pitching was clicking all day. Hamels was excellent and the bullpen, save for Phelps’ jam in the 6th, was very good.
Stats That Matter
- Hamels looked like there was no rust after a month out: 5 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 6 K, and 0 BB. He hit his 75 pitch limit or he could have easily gone six or seven innings.
- Almora had two singles in addition to the homer and sacrifice fly. His playing time will be limited now with the addition of Nicholas Castellanos.
- Speaking of, Castellanos had a single and a hustle double and a lined smash for an out earlier in the day.
The good news is that Hamels is back and Chicago has won a big division series, with the possibility of the sweep tomorrow. Still, Willson’s injury will be a blow to what was starting to look like a really solid lineup. Hopefully, it’s not an injury that will keep him out for long.