After a disappointing loss on Opening Day, the Chicago Cubs (1-1) regrouped on their off day Friday and came out determined to get a simulated victory on Saturday in Milwaukee, via MLB The Show 20. The Cubs absolutely spanked the Brewers (1-1), scoring five runs in the top of the 1st inning and ultimately finishing it off by a score of 12-4.
Kris Bryant opened the game with a triple off of Brewers starter Freddy Peralta, who clearly didn’t have his best command. Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez both walked, opening up a major scoring chance for the Cubs. But a Kyle Schwarber strikeout was followed by an Ian Happ sac fly, leaving Chicago with the possibility of only getting one run and wasting a golden opportunity. Jason Heyward singled in another run, setting up second baseman David Bote with runners on first and third.
Bote didn’t start on Opening Day, as manager David Ross opted to go with veteran Jason Kipnis. Ross gave Bote a chance to earn regular playing time, and the 26-year-old infielder responded by crushing a fastball from Peralta over the wall in left field to give the Cubs an early 5-0 lead.
Those five runs were all Yu Darvish would need, although he ended up getting plenty more. Darvish pitched six efficient innings, with the only blemish being a pinch-hit three-run homer off the bat of Ben Gamel in the 2nd inning. Overall, Darvish allowed just those three runs, walking five and striking out six.
Peralta wasn’t quite as lucky. Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell pulled him after just two innings, hoping that his bullpen could keep the game close. It worked for a few innings, but the Cubs finally got to the Brewers’ pitching staff in the 7th.
Báez hit a single to lead off the inning but was caught stealing at second base. Happ and Heyward followed with hits of their own, then Bote teed off for another three-run homer. That’s an impressive day, to be sure, but Bote wasn’t finished yet. With the bases loaded and two outs in the 8th, he hit a three-run double to bring his RBI total to nine on the day.
Craig Kimbrel made his 2020 simulation season debut in the bottom of the 9th, and he was a bit shaky. The closer allowed three hits, a walk, and an earned run while striking out two batters. But the important thing is that he was able to get the final out of the game, and the Cubs got their first win.
Bote – 4-for-5, 2 HR, 2B, 9 RBI
Bryant – 3-for-5, 2B, 3B
Happ – 1-for-2, 2 BB, RBI
Contreras – 1-for-1, HR, RBI
Gamel – 1-for-1, HR, 3 RBI
Winning pitcher – Darvish (1-0)
Losing pitcher – Peralta (0-1)
Save – none
Home Runs – Bote 2 (2), Contreras (1), Gamel (1)