Hellweg gets first win as Brewers top Cubs
Four-fun fourth propels Milwaukee
CHICAGO — Johnny Hellweg can take a deep breath and relax a little bit.
The 24-year-old rookie starter posted his first major league win in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field — and he plans on savoring the feeling just a little longer than normal.
“It feels awesome,” said Hellweg, who has been called up from the minors twice this season. “It feels good to contribute to a team up here. It’s a good feeling to have going into the next start. … I’m going to embrace it. I’m not going to put it behind me yet.”
Fellow rookie Logan Schafer’s three-run triple in the Brewers’ four-run fourth inning helped the cause tremendously. That turned out to be the offensive highlight of the game for the Brewers, who only tacked on one more run in the remaining five innings.
“I knew he didn’t really have anywhere to put me,” Schafer said of Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, who took the loss despite not allowing a hit in four of his five innings. “With a 2-0 count, I was basically just (sitting) dead red and I put a good swing on something and stayed within myself. It was really nice to feel the barrel of the bat and run around those bases.”
The Brewers (61-80) and Cubs (60-81) both came into the day with identical 60-80 records, far out of the playoff picture with almost a month left to play. Still, the managers of both teams said there are plenty of motivational factors to keep their guys grinding away — even when the games they’re playing don’t really mean all that much in the standings.
“Selfishly, they’re still playing for numbers, they’re still playing for contracts, they’re still trying to stay in the big leagues (and) the young guys are trying to get in the big leagues,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
“I think when you play for the spoiler (role), we have a big opportunity to do that with all the teams in our division that we play — so there’s a lot of things to play for. Hopefully, they’re playing to win. That’s what ultimately I hope they do, but there are so many other things to motivate them to play hard and to keep going and get after it.”
Saturday’s game was a prime example.
The Cubs used five relievers and the Brewers went to the bullpen three times — including the ninth, which Jim Henderson pitched to pick up his 23rd save.
Among Chicago’s new faces was 37-year old Chang-Yong Lim, a South Korean right-handed reliever playing his 19th season of professional baseball and first in the United States.
Lim, who slings the ball from a three-quarters arm slot, got off to a tough start — walking the first hitter he saw in the seventh and then allowing a single to former Japanese League teammate Norichika Aoki to put runners on first and second with one out.
After a visit from Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and an interpreter, the veteran got Jean Segura to hit into an inning-ending double play on his next pitch.
Lim, the second-oldest pitcher since at least 1901 to make his major league debut with the Cubs, also became the 54th player the Cubs have used this season. That breaks the franchise record of 53 they set a year ago.
Lim’s control issues at first fit right into the Cubs’ entire day as a pitching staff. Chicago pitchers combined to walk seven and hit two batters — including Arrieta walking two in the Brewers’ four-run fourth.
“(He was) OK,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Lim’s debut. “He didn’t have a lot of control either. That seemed to be kind of the story of the day, really. When you’re going to put that many people on … we outhit them 6-5, actually, but lose the game because so many people were on base without getting a hit.”
Luis Valbuena gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer off Hellweg in the second. The Brewers responded two innings later with the four runs off Arrieta (2-2), who took the loss despite getting through the first three innings without allowing a hit.
Schafer’s bases-loaded triple capped the fourth for Milwaukee.
Arrieta lasted just five innings and allowed four runs and three hits, all in the fourth. Hellweg went six innings for the Brewers, giving up three runs, four hits and three walks.
After falling behind, Chicago got a run back on Brian Bogusevic’s homer to right field off Hellweg in the sixth but couldn’t come all the way back.
“It would’ve been nice to be able to do more,” Bogusevic said. “We play a lot of close ballgames. Sometimes, we don’t come out on top. We’re in it, we’re fighting … but we just couldn’t pull it out today.”
The Brewers, who are playing without most of their regular starters because of injuries and the Ryan Braun suspension, improved to 19-60 in games when the opponent scores first.
NOTES: Scott Baker is set to make his season debut for the Cubs on Sunday in the series finale against the Brewers. Baker, who has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, made eight rehab starts in the minors. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since Sept. 24, 2011, with the Minnesota Twins. … Castro has batted leadoff for 16 straight games, hitting .279 coming into Saturday. Sveum has no current plans to move him down in the order. … Brewers CF Carlos Gomez entered the game as a pinch-hitter, but didn’t start because Roenicke thought he needed a day to rest a nagging sore knee. … OF Khris Davis didn’t start for Milwaukee on Saturday and remains day to day with a pinched nerve in his wrist.