After getting hit seven times in the last 14 games against them, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras sent the Brewers a 438-foot response in the eighth inning Tuesday night.
“Tonight, I sent a message,” Contreras said postgame. “I think they picked the wrong guy to throw at.”
Contreras crushed a go-ahead two-run home run off Brent Suter in the eighth inning Tuesday, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead. He paired a bat flip that was as epic as the home run, and a shush heard around Wisconsin.
"He almost ripped my hand off when he high fived me in the dugout," manager David Ross said of his backstop.
That 3-2 score held to snap the Cubs’ three-game skid.
Contreras’ frustration has been mounting as him getting hit by pitches has become a regular occurrence against Milwaukee. This season alone, he’s been hit in five of the clubs’ seven meetings.
“I think I let all my frustration come out,” Contreras said of the home run. “Whenever you get hit a lot, you feel bottled with frustration.”
Contreras has been hit in three of five Cubs-Brewers games this season, including four innings prior to Tuesday’s home run. In last week’s series, it happened in consecutive games — first in the head in the series opener and in the left arm the following day.
That second incident resulted in a brief benches and bullpen clearing fracas.
“I was trying to send a message last series at home and then I got fined $7,500 because I was trying to protect myself,” Contreras said.
MORE: Contreras after fine, HBP: MLB must ‘take care of batters’
Contreras said he’s confident the Brewers aren’t intentionally throwing at him, in part because he’s good friends with catcher Omar Narvaez.
“I told him, ‘I know you guys aren't trying to hit me, but, bro, that’s something that frustrates any player, and I'm trying to take care of myself,’” Contreras said.
At the same time, Contreras has stressed concern for his health, citing former Cubs outfielder Adam Greenberg — who was hit in the head in 2005 on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues.
Greenberg didn’t play in the majors again until the Marlins reached out and offered him a one-day contract in 2012 to get one more plate appearance.
Contreras was booed all game Tuesday, including in his ensuing plate appearance after Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera threw behind Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff’s legs.
“That caught me off guard,” said Contreras, who suggested in his postgame interview on Marquee Network that retaliation against a position player would have made more sense.
The boos got louder as the game went on, the loudest in the eighth inning. Contreras sent his message with the home run, rounding the bases with a finger over his lips, shushing the crowd.
“It feels good to shut them up. When they boo me, I don't really care,” he said. “But don't get sensitive when I do something like that."
The Cubs and Brewers meet 14 more times this season, starting with Wednesday’s series finale.
“There’s a lot more games coming up,” Contreras said. “Who knows what’s going to happen?”