Ramirez homers, drives in 3 to lead Brewers over Cubs 5-3
CHICAGO (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers needed a team-record 25 games to get their first consecutive wins of a season. And hours after they did it, the Brewers fired manager Ron Roenicke.
Aramis Ramirez homered and broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run single, helping the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 Sunday.
Milwaukee, a big league-worst 7-18 following a 2-13 start, took two of three against the Cubs for its first series win of the year. Before 2015, the most games Milwaukee needed for consecutive wins was 18 in 1972, according to STATS.
''We're just getting healthy,'' Ramirez said. ''We're starting to swing the bat better. We're pitching really good. That's the key. If you pitch good, you're going to win some ballgames.''
The Brewers said they will announce a replacement for Roenicke on Monday.
''This has been a difficult start to the season, something that we certainly didn't anticipate,'' President and general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. ''Over roughly the last 100 games, we have not performed at the level that we should. It's all about wins and losses, and after the first month of play this year we didn't see the progress and improvement we had hoped for.
''We appreciate all that Ron has done for our organization, and he has handled his duties with great professionalism and dedication. The reasons for our disappointing start are many, but we determined that it's in the best interests of the club to make this move.''
In four-plus seasons, Roenicke was 342-331.
Brewers shortstop Jean Segura left after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch from Pedro Strop (0-1) in the eighth inning. Segura initially took first base after he was examined by the training staff for several minutes. He then was replaced by pinch-runner Hector Gomez.
''That was really scary,'' Strop said.
Segura left the game after feeling nauseous, Roenicke said. Roenicke said Segura was doing ''pretty good'' and was expected to see another doctor on Sunday night. A similar incident occurred April 7 when a ball hit Segura's helmet and struck his nose when the Brewers played Colorado.
''It's not a good thing,'' Roenicke said. ''You hope a guy doesn't get a little tentative in what he's doing. He does such a nice job with the things we ask that you hope it doesn't start to bother him.''
After Ryan Braun grounded into a double play, Ramirez singled for a 5-3 lead. Strop intentionally walked Adam Lind to get to Ramirez.
''It's the right move,'' Ramirez said. ''The guy's hitting over .300, and I'm hitting .220.''
Will Smith (1-0) got one out for the win, and Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
Ramirez, who missed the previous two games due to left hamstring tightness, homered in the second against Jason Hammel.
''When your three, four hitters are doing what they're supposed to be doing, we think we're really deep with the rest of the lineup, whether Gomey is leading off or where he is,'' Roenicke said.
RAMIREZ ON THE MOVE
Ramirez hit his 128th home run at Wrigley Field.
''It's a good place to play a baseball game,'' said Ramirez, a Cub for nine seasons. ''I played here for a long time. I'm sure there are some people who like me, and some people who don't.''
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He also doubled and scored in the third for his fourth career hit and second double. The hit snapped an 0-for-37 stretch for Brewers pitchers at the plate since Kyle Lohse singled in the third inning on opening day.
Brewers: 2B Scooter Gennett (cut hand) was 1 for 4 in two games during a rehab assignment with Class A Wisconsin. He is eligible to come off the DL Tuesday. ... Gomez (hamstring) played the full game after going six innings Saturday in his return from the DL.
Cubs: RHP Anthony Varvaro was claimed off waivers from Boston on Sunday. LHP Joseph Ortiz was designated for assignment. Varvaro allowed five runs in 11 innings in nine games this season with the Red Sox before he was designated for assignment April 29. He was 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 61 games with Atlanta last season.
Brewers: RHP Lohse (1-4, 7.28 ERA) is to start the series opener Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Opponents are hitting .288 against him.
Cubs: LHP Travis Wood (2-1, 3.04) is to start the series opener Monday against St. Louis. He is 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA in 16 starts against the Cardinals.