The Chicago Cubs will limp into their home opener at Wrigley Field with a 2-7 record on the season, as they fell 4-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs kept the game close thanks to a strong day from their bullpen, but it wasn’t enough as Josh Hader pitched two and two-thirds inning of dominant relief in the closing stages of the contest.
Kyle Hendricks only lasted four innings in Sunday’s affair, giving up eight hits and four runs while striking out four Brewers hitters. The Cubs’ bullpen did its job, as Tyler Chatwood, Kyle Ryan, and Allen Webster combined for four innings of shutout relief, but the Brewers’ lead held up thanks to their fire-balling ace reliever.
The Brewers got on the board early in the game, and it was a completely unsurprising player doing the damage, as reigning MVP Christian Yelich blasted a two-run home run to make it a 2-0 game.
Travis Shaw had an RBI single in the third inning to drive in Yelich, and the MVP added to the Brewers’ lead in the fourth inning, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field to extend the Milwaukee lead to 4-0.
That inning ended up being key for the Cubs, as they faced down a bases loaded, no outs jam and only allowed one run. The Cubs’ offense finally broke through in the sixth inning, as Willson Contreras blasted a two-run home run to right field to make it a 4-2 game.
That was all the Cubs could muster, however. With the tying run on first base and two outs in the seventh inning, Hader managed to strike out Anthony Rizzo after a lengthy battle, and from there the Brewers cruised to victory.
The Brewers will head out west to take on the Los Angeles Angels, while the Cubs will head home for their Monday home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.