The Brewers had a runner at second and two outs in the second when Carlos Gomez lofted the ball to right. Both Rizzo and Russell gave chase, then crashed into each other and tumbled to the ground.
CHICAGO -- Mike Fiers struck out 12 batters over six innings, Ryan Braun smacked a two-run homer and Jean Segura had four hits, including an RBI triple, to lead the Brewers to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs on Saturday and even the series.
Fiers walked two in the first, but did not give up a hit until Chris Denorfia singled with one out in the fifth. He also served up Anthony Rizzo's solo homer with one out in the Chicago sixth. The 12 K's were a season high, and helped the Brewers notch their third road win in 11 games.
The Cubs right-hander gave up a season-high four runs on seven hits over five innings, snapping a stretch of 15 consecutive quality starts at Wrigley Field dating to Sept. 25, 2013. That was all the Brewers needed to post a 6-1 win on Saturday and even the series.
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson will aim for a bounce-back outing while Cubs starter Jason Hammel seeks more of the same when the teams conclude a three-game series on Sunday at 1:20 p.m. CT
Hammel has 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings this season, including seven strikeouts over eight shutout innings against the Pirates in his most recent start. He's been just as good against the Brewers, compiling a 5-0 record with a 1.85 ERA in six career starts, including a pair of scoreless starts against Milwaukee last season.
Dear MLB fans:
We hope you catch lots and lots of foul balls. We especially hope you catch them in bizarre and interesting ways, so we can write about you and tell you how cool you are. We know you particularly like to catch balls in food. But for every miraculous culinary snag, there's, well, this.
CHICAGO -- For the first time this season, Jorge Soler was moved into the Cubs' leadoff spot. It's part of manager Joe Maddon's effort to get the rookie outfielder to adjust the mental part of his game and try to get back on track.
Soler, who has primarily hit second or third, was batting .171 (6-for-35) in his last nine games with 19 strikeouts in that stretch.
CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave Addison Russell Wednesday off so the 21-year-old infielder could catch his breath, sit back and watch the game. The message Maddon was trying to convey was that Russell belongs here. On Friday, Russell proved it.
Russell hit his first Major League home run, connecting in his eighth game, to help the Cubs beat the Brewers, 1-0. The blast, which came off a 3-2 pitch from Wily Peralta leading off the third, landed in the left-field bleachers, still under construction, and was retrieved by a construction worker.
CHICAGO -- David Ross could tell that Jon Lester had found his groove again on Friday. The left-hander's pitches were crisper, there was a little more velocity on his fastball and his curve was effective.
"I thought he was back to being the Jon that I know and the guy I'm used to, so that's good for the Cubs," said Ross, who was behind the plate for Lester's first win in a Cubs uniform, a 1-0 decision Friday over the Brewers.
CHICAGO -- Sure, the ERA looks a little bloated, to find a kindly way to ask, "What the heck is wrong with this guy?''
We recognize that everyone likes to have something silly to freak out about. But come on, Cub fans, were you really worried about Jon Lester?
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday he's encouraged by the feedback regarding changes made to improve the pace of play, and he has encouraged players to offer suggestions.
Manfred, who was at Wrigley Field to meet with the Cubs and the Brewers, said they've received input from players that have resulted in a few changes. For example, players who violate the pace of play rules are not fined if their game takes two hours, 45 minutes or less.
Being a Cubs fan for the last few years has been something of a waiting game. While GM Theo Epstein was off collecting an armada of young talent and generally being a wizard, the actual team on the field kept losing games, and so the North Side was forced to bide their time salivating over what the future might hold. (Hint: so, so many home runs.)
Slowly but surely, though, all that promise has begun translating to real, actual MLB things, and it is glorious. Today's milestone: Addison Russell, shortstop of the future and uber-prospect extraordinaire, launched his first Major League home run this afternoon, depositing what will surely be the first of many baseballs into the Wrigley bleachers and lifting Chicago to a 1-0 win over the Brewers:
Why have the Cubs seemingly given up on Welington Castillo? He's a great catcher who can throw and hit. I've heard that he doesn't frame pitches well enough. That's irrelevant considering they signed a 40-year-old catcher who can't throw or hit and his sole purpose was to catch Jon Lester, who is struggling.
-- Trevor K., Omaha, Neb.
If the Cubs had given up on Castillo, he wouldn't be on the roster. And if David Ross wasn't with the Cubs, Castillo might be catching twice a week rather than once. Miguel Montero has had the biggest impact among the three catchers -- I haven't heard pitchers gush about a catcher in a long time the way they talk about Miggy.
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed one unearned run in six innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a much-needed two-run triple to lead the Pirates to an 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Pittsburgh held a one-run edge before tacking on four runs in the sixth, all coming with two outs. Jordy Mercer knocked an RBI single before McCutchen drilled a triple to center field, a hit that might have left the yard if not for the winds blowing in from the north that made the game-time temperature of 39 degrees feel like 32.
CHICAGO -- Young right-hander Kyle Hendricks continues to work himself back into the pound-the-zone strike-thrower he asserted himself as last season.
It's just taking a little longer than he and the club would like.
Add Class A West Michigan to the list of teams that have tried and failed to stop Cubs No. 6 prospect Gleyber Torres. The South Bend shortstop went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI on Thursday afternoon, and is 15-for-28 (.538) over his past eight games.
Torres, who turned 18 in December, was effective last season (.297/.386/.440) after Chicago signed him, but his play has already impressed in a big way this year. The Venezuelan is now hitting .352/.446/.423 in 20 games, and has displayed fleet feet on the basepaths -- he stole his seventh bag of the season on Thursday.
Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
CHICAGO -- The Cubs were cleared on Wednesday of tampering charges in connection with the hiring of manager Joe Maddon.
Major League Baseball issued a statement saying it had concluded its tampering investigation regarding Maddon's departure from the Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Cubs. MLB said the investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on tampering.
CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant didn't expect disco balls, smoke and bright lights after games in the big leagues, but that's what happens in the Cubs' clubhouse after a win.
"Every time we win, it's like we won a World Series," Bryant said on Wednesday. "There's disco balls and smoke everywhere -- it's a lot of fun. It's something I've wanted to be a part of."
CHICAGO -- Could Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro be named to the National League All-Star team again for a second consecutive year? Will Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan be picked for the first time? And what about top prospect Kris Bryant -- is he All-Star-worthy?
The Cubs have eight players on the All-Star ballot, released on Wednesday. The list includes Rizzo and Castro, who both made the NL team last year, plus Bryant, Fowler, Coghlan, Miguel Montero, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler.
CHICAGO -- The Cubs are off and running.
"I tell Dex all the time, 'Go, so I can get an easy one,'" Rizzo said.
CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, Travis Wood picked up his first career win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field, struck out a season-high nine batters, and didn't walk anyone. It was a good night, not only for the lefty, but for the Cubs.
"That's why you can be 12-7 now," manager Joe Maddon said of his team after the 6-2 win. "You can't do it without really good pitching and, of course, the bullpen. When your starting pitchers go deep in the game, all of a sudden, your bullpen gets better. It's an easy equation."
CHICAGO -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts apologized Tuesday for using an offensive term during an interview on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk."
Ricketts was asked to recommend an odd job for show host Kevin Millar at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs' owner suggested scoreboard operator, asking Millar if he could wear a certain type of T-shirt because "it's pretty hot up there."
"Denorfia is still not 100 percent with his leg, so I don't want to push him right now," manager Joe Maddon said of his lineup against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke.
Hammel threw eight shutout innings, holding the Pirates to four hits, in a 4-0 victory Monday night at Wrigley Field.
CHICAGO -- Rookie Kris Bryant smacked a two-run single and Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs to back Jason Hammel and lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory Monday night over the Pirates at chilly Wrigley Field.
Hammel held the Pirates to four hits over eight innings, the longest outing by a Cubs starter this year, and struck out a season-high seven. He has walked one and struck out 23 in his four starts this season.