Contreras keys 3-run 8th as Brewers rally to beat Cubs 3-1 in first game against Counsell

CHICAGO (AP) — William Contreras hit an RBI single during Milwaukee's three-run eighth inning, and the Brewers won their first game against former manager Craig Counsell, beating the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Friday.

The Brewers opened a weekend series between the NL Central's top teams on a winning note, even though Chicago's Hayden Wesneski pitched scoreless ball into the seventh and Christopher Morel homered for the third time in five games. Most of the attention was on Counsell going against his former team, though he pretty much shrugged it off.

“Look, we're just just trying to win a baseball game,” he said. “This is a good team. I think you spend most of your time trying to figure out how to beat the team. There are people there that I have really good relationships with. Look, you miss people for sure. I miss people over there? Absolutely, yeah, because you have strong relationships with people.”

Counsell led the Brewers to three division titles and playoff appearances in five of the past six seasons. He posted a 707-625 record in nine years and set franchise records for wins and games managed.

Counsell, a former infielder, also played two stints for the Brewers during a 16-year career. He grew up near Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, and his father, John Counsell, is the team's former director of community affairs.

Counsell became one of baseball's hottest free agents when his contract expired after last season. The Cubs then opted for two big surprises when they hired him and fired David Ross.

“He continues to be a tremendous person, but once you're on the field, you're worried about one thing only and that's just about winning the game,” Contreras said through an interpreter.

Jackson Chourio started Milwaukee's comeback with a pinch-hit single with one out in the eighth against Adbert Alzolay (1-4). The rookie swiped second and scored on Contreras’ base hit.

Contreras then stole second and came around on Willy Adames’ two-out single. The Brewers got another run when Adames stole second and scored on Jake Bauers’ single to center against Alzolay, who heard it from the crowd.

Milwaukee's Joe Ross pitched six innings of six-hit ball after losing his previous three starts. Elvis Peguero (4-0) and Joel Payamps each worked an inning before Trevor Megill handled the ninth for his second save.

The Brewers came out on top with manager Pat Murphy serving the second of a two-game suspension for his role in a brawl with Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

Morel put the Cubs in front with two out in the sixth when he drove a 3-2 fastball from Ross to straightaway center field for his fifth homer this season. He pumped his right arm and clapped as he rounded the bases.

Wesneski simply dazzled, scattering three hits over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two in his second start and fourth appearance this season. But the Cubs lost in their first game this season against a division opponent.

Before the game, the Brewers recalled right-hander Corbin Martin from Triple-A Nashville.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Ace Justin Steele is in line to start Monday against San Diego after being sidelined since the season opener because of a strained left hamstring, Counsell said. The left-hander was hurt trying to field a bunt at Texas in his first career opening-day start. ... RHP Kyle Hendricks (lower back strain) will start Tuesday for Triple-A Iowa, Counsell said. The veteran right-hander threw five solid innings for Double-A Tennessee on Thursday.

UP NEXT

Cubs RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 1.50 ERA) looks to continue his strong start on Saturday, while rookie RHP Tobias Myers (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his third start for the Brewers.

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