Willson Contreras has made it no secret that he has grown frustrated with the pile of errant pitches that have struck him this season. On Tuesday night, the Cubs’ catcher got even with the Brewers by bruising a baseball.
After being hit by another pitch, Contreras later launched a towering two-run homer off Milwaukee lefty Brent Suter in the eighth, powering the North Siders to a 3-2 victory over the Brewers. As the blast soared high over left field, Contreras turned to his teammates and gave his bat a celebratory toss toward the third-base dugout.
Contreras then repeatedly pressed a finger to his lips after he rounded second base, shushing any critics on hand at American Family Field.
The home run followed a solid piece of hitting by Ian Happ, who shot a Suter pitch through the infield and into right for a one-out single. It was the kind of offensive combination that Chicago has been trying to unlock in recent days, as the lineup has been in a collective funk out of the gates this season.
The blast also eliminated what would have been a frustrating loss against Brewers righty Brandon Woodruff, who struck out six and held the Cubs to a sacrifice fly from Kris Bryant in his six frames. In his previous outing against Chicago last week, Woodruff flirted with a no-hitter.
In the fourth inning, Contreras was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Woodruff, but the catcher took his base without incident. It marked the fourth time Contreras has been hit by a pitch this season — three at the hands of Brewers pitchers. Four of the catcher’s MLB-leading 14 hit-by-pitches in 2020 also came via Milwaukee.
During the teams’ first series in Chicago, Contreras was plunked once on April 5 and again on April 6. The first errant pitch struck Contreras in the helmet. One game later, he was hit on the left arm and there was a brief benches-clearing incident as Contreras grew heated. The catcher noted recently that MLB fined him for breaking COVID-19 protocols for his part in that second episode.
This time around, Contreras shook off the pitch to the hand and hustled to third on a single to right by Anthony Rizzo. That put the catcher in position to tag and score on Bryant’s flyout to deep right field, trimming the Brewers’ lead to 2-1 at that juncture.