Fiers strikes out 12, Braun homers as Brewers beat Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) Mike Fiers got back on track. And the Milwaukee Brewers
got back to winning.
Fiers struck out 12 in six innings for his first victory in five starts as the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 Saturday.
''I'm glad he got back to the type of pitcher he is,'' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ''We've been waiting for one of these starts to get him rolling because we know what happens when he gets on a roll.''
Opponents were hitting .358 against the right-hander before help Milwaukee win for just the fourth time in 17 games.
After he walked two of his first three batters, Fiers (1-3) retired 12 straight before allowing a single to Chris Denorfia with one out in the fifth for the Cubs' first hit.
''Today was good for me because I was pounding the zone, throwing a lot of strikes, getting back to where I was at before, attacking the guys, making them swing,'' said Fiers, who went 6-5 with a 2.13 ERA last season.
Fiers struck out a career-high 14 in six innings in his previous start at Wrigley Field last Aug. 14.
''He likes pitching here. We have to figure him out at home,'' Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
The Brewers improved to 3-8 on the road and will try to win their first series of the season Sunday.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run drive, his fifth homer of the season, in the first. He has homered in three of four games.
The Cubs got a scare in the second when rookie second baseman Addison Russell and first baseman Rizzo collided on Carlos Gomez's bloop single to shallow right field. Both players remained in the game.
''Thankfully, we didn't hit our heads on each other,'' Rizzo said.
The Cubs were sloppy, too. Logan Schafer hit a grounder in the ninth and wound up circling the bases when shortstop Starlin Castro made a throwing error, then Rizzo threw to third base, where no one covered the bag.
Fiers and three relievers combined for 18 strikeouts.
''It's definitely a step in the right direction,'' Fiers said. ''I think I was fine mentally before, but it's great to get a great start like this and get a good team win and move on from it, so the next start I have that in the back of my mind that, `Hey, I can still do this.'''
Rookie Kris Bryant fanned all four times up. Rizzo homered for the Cubs' run.
Jake Arrieta (3-2) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings.
Gomez, who returned from the disabled list before the game, stole two bases.
''I feel fine. I feel 100 percent to play my game,'' he said.
''They want to take me step by step, but everything is good.''
GOMEZ'S GOOD REVIEWS
Roenicke said he liked what he saw from Gomez, other than his first-pitch popout in the first inning. He took Gomez out after six innings as a precaution. He missed 15 games because of an injured right hamstring. Gomez batted leadoff and played center field.
''We'll figure out where we want to be with the lineup as far as the order once we feel that (Gomez) has enough at-bats,'' Roenicke said.
Brewers: INF Luis Jimenez was designated for assignment. He was 0 for 15. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez (left hamstring tightness) was out of the lineup for the second straight game.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 3.63) will start the series finale on Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA in four career games against the Cubs.
Cubs: RHP Jason Hammel (2-1, 3.55) is 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers.