Swanson, Stroman help Cubs beat Brewers 4-0 on opening day
CHICAGO - Right after it was over, Dansby Swanson soaked in one more moment in a very special debut with the Chicago Cubs.
He finally got to enjoy the victory song at Wrigley Field.
“Hearing ‘Go Cubs Go’ is a lot better when you’re on the team,” the All-Star shortstop said.
Swanson had three hits and Marcus Stroman worked six scoreless innings, breezing past baseball’s first pitch-clock violation on his way to a 4-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday on opening day.
Swanson’s first hit with his new team was an RBI single that sparked a four-run third. He tacked on two more singles and played his usual solid defense, including the turn on a key double play.
“Great debut for him,” manager David Ross said.
Swanson signed a $177 million, seven-year contract with Chicago in free agency, leaving the Atlanta Braves after seven seasons. The addition of the Georgia native was the marquee move in a busy offseason for the Cubs after finishing third in the NL Central with a 74-88 record.
“It was just an amazing day,” Swanson said. “It’s an amazing city, organization. Couldn’t be more grateful to be here.”
Milwaukee was limited to singles for rookie Brice Turang, Willy Adames, Brian Anderson and William Contreras. It also was a tough day for Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who allowed four hits and issued three walks in five innings.
“We put some runners on, but there wasn’t many hits for both sides today,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
Stroman struck out eight and walked three in the first start of his second season with the Cubs. Keegan Thompson and Brad Boxberger each got three outs before Michael Fulmer finished the four-hitter.
Milwaukee threatened in the third, loading the bases with one out. But Rowdy Tellez bounced to second baseman Nico Hoerner for the start of a 4-6-3 double play.
“Once I saw it being hit at Nico, I had the utmost confidence in me that it was going to be rolled,” Stroman said.
The inning featured the majors’ first violation of its new pitch clock. With no outs, Turang on second base and Christian Yelich at the plate, plate umpire Ron Kulpa pointed to his left wrist and then pointed at Stroman in announcing the violation.
The automatic ball made it a 2-2 count, and Yelich ended up with a walk. But there was never any sign of any protest from Stroman.
Major League Baseball introduced the pitch clock this season to speed the pace of play. Players have 30 seconds to resume play between batters. Between pitches, pitchers have 15 seconds with nobody on and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner. Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher with at least eight seconds on the clock.
“It’s definitely not easy to be a pitcher out there and feel rushed at times,” Stroman said.
The Cubs went ahead to stay in the bottom half of the third. Swanson singled home Miles Mastrobuoni and scored on Trey Mancini’s single. Hoerner scored on a throwing error on shortstop Adames.
Turang became the seventh player in franchise history to make his big league debut in the team’s opening-day lineup. The list also includes Hall of Famers Robin Yount (1974) and Paul Molitor (1978).
The 23-year-old Turang wore a suit to the ballpark.
“I thought that was just awesome,” Counsell said with a grin. “And he said his dad told him to do it.”
Brewers: 3B Luis Urías appeared to tweak his left hamstring trying to beat out a comebacker in the ninth. “We’ll let him calm down just from the adrenaline stuff and then evaluate it,” Counsell said.
Cubs: OF Seiya Suzuki (left oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and RHP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain) and LHP Brandon Hughes (left knee inflammation) were placed on the 15-day IL. Each IL stint was made retroactive to Monday.
Following an off day, right-hander Brandon Woodruff and left-hander Justin Steele take the mound on Saturday afternoon. Woodruff went 13-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts for Milwaukee last year. Steele went 4-7 with a 3.18 ERA in a career-best 24 starts for Chicago.