CHICAGO — The Milwaukee Brewers got enough big hits and the assist they needed from their bullpen. And they did it in brutal conditions.
Jett Bandy and Domingo Santana hit two-run singles, helping the surging Brewers to a 6-3 rain-interrupted victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
“It was tough, it didn’t feel like a baseball game for a couple of innings,” manager Craig Counsell said.
On an afternoon with a 46-degree temperature and 37 wind-chill at the start, Bandy walked and scored on Orlando Arcia’s bases-loaded infield single for a 4-3 lead in the fifth. The game was delayed 1 hour, 59 minutes in the top of the sixth, and Santana boosted the lead with his single just after the delay.
Arcia had three hits and an RBI for the NL Central leaders, who won for the 10th time in 12 games.
“It’s not just one person, it’s a whole team effort,” Bandy said. “It’s someone new every day. Some days the pitching picks us up. Some days the offense carries us.”
Chicago dropped to 21-20 as Cubs pitchers walked 10.
Wily Peralta (5-2) struck out five over two scoreless innings after a shaky start by Paolo Espino in his major league debut. Carlos Torres worked the ninth for his first save in three chances.
Coming off a three-game sweep of Cincinnati, the Cubs took a 3-2 lead to the fifth. But reliever Mike Montgomery (0-3) loaded the bases with walks to Bandy and Keon Broxton, and Arcia tied it with a single on a slow roller toward second baseman Ben Zobrist. Bandy came home when pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar took a 3-2 cutter for ball four.
Milwaukee added to the lead in the sixth thanks to two errors on one play by left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who dropped Jonathan Villar’s pop fly near the edge of the infield and flipped the ball wide to second as he scooped it with his bare hand. That put runners on second and third with no outs and, after the delay, Santana lined a two-run single against Pierce Johnson.
“Schwarber made a great attempt at it, actually,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s normally the shortstop’s ball, but under the circumstances it was up for grabs, basically.”
Espino gave up three runs and five hits in four innings. The 30-year-old right-hander, who had pitched in the minors since 2007, was signed by the Brewers in November after three seasons in Washington’s system.
Chicago’s Eddie Butler lasted three-plus innings in his second start of the season, allowing two runs, three hits and five walks. The right-hander threw 46 of 92 pitches for strikes after tossing six scoreless innings at St. Louis last week.
“He’s been following me and supporting me in everything. I was excited he was able to make it, flying in earlier from Panama. It was great. I saw a picture that he was in the stand. I saw that he got interviewed, so I bet he was excited I was.” — Espino on having his dad Alex fly in for the game.
Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist saved a run with men on first and third in the first inning, when he lunged to his left to snag Broxton’s liner for the third out. Broxton got robbed again in the third when Kyle Schwarber dived to his right to catch a line drive.
Brewers: Ryan Braun (strained left calf) could return from the DL as early as Sunday, manager Craig Counsell said. A six-time All-Star and 2011 NL MVP, Braun has been taking batting practice and throwing. He is batting .287 with seven homers and 18 RBIs. … 1B Eric Thames, back in the lineup for the first time since Sunday, had a single, two walks and two runs. He missed the first three games of the San Diego series before pinch hitting against the Padres on Thursday.
Cubs: OF Jason Heyward (sore knuckle on right hand) expects to return from the 10-day DL on Saturday.
Struggling RHP Jake Arrieta (4-3, 5.44 ERA) starts Saturday for Chicago, while RHP Chase Anderson (2-0, 3.43) pitches for Milwaukee. Arrieta has a 7.27 ERA in his past five starts.