Tyler Chatwood’s confidence never wavered after returning for summer training following a 3 1/4 u00bd-month shutdown.
Chatwood, who lost his permanent spot in the Chicago Cubs rotation in July 2018 after the acquisition of Cole Hamels, pitched six innings of three-hit ball and struck out eight Milwaukee Brewers to lead the Cubs to a 6-1 victory Sunday at Wrigley Field.
Chatwood, who moved from projected fifth starter to the third spot after Jose Quintana suffered a left thumb injury and Jon Lester was placed on a deliberate schedule, didn’t allow a hit until Mat Gamel singled with two out in the fifth.
More impressive was the manner in which Chatwood struck out Christian Yelich three times, including twice on sharp breaking pitches that were low and inside.
Chatwood used his breaking pitch on six of his strikeouts.
Chatwood, who walked a National League-high 95 batters in only 103 1/4 u2154 innings in 2018, walked two. After walking Keston Hiura with two out in the first, Chatwood retired the next 11 batters.
The Cubs pulled away on home runs by Willson Contreras (a 451-foot shot in the seventh), Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo, while the bottom of the order provided clutch hitting during a four-run fourth.
Six consecutive batters reached base against Freddy Peralta and reliever Corey Knebel. Nico Hoerner, Victor Caratini and Happ capped the rally with consecutive singles.
Happ made a running catch before crashing into the ivy in center field to rob Hiura of a hit in the eighth, and Albert Almora Jr., Happ’s replacement, made a leaping catch of Logan Morrison’s drive in the ninth.
The Cubs travel to Cincinnati on Monday to open a four-game series against the Reds.
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