MILWAUKEE — After scuffling offensively over the first four games, the Chicago Cubs will return home to raise the World Series championship banner suddenly potent at the plate.
Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist hit home runs and Jake Arrieta threw seven strong innings as the Cubs got double-digit hits for the second straight game and took the weekend series from the Milwaukee Brewers with a 7-4 victory Sunday.
Chicago scored four runs in the top of the first off Brewers starter Zach Davies (0-2) on a two-run double by Addison Russell and a two-run triple from Jason Heyward.
“Any time you can put early runs on the board, you have to take advantage of it,” Russell said. “It puts the pitcher at ease and gets us in that mode of swinging the bat and taking some good pitches, and we did that today.”
Arrieta (2-0) allowed just three hits with 10 strikeouts over seven innings, the only blemish on his line a three-run home run hit by Ryan Braun in the third.
“It was a mistake and he made me pay for it,” Arrieta said. “But those things happen; bounce back. I don’t think I gave up a hit after that.”
The right-hander retired 13 of the 14 batters following Braun’s home run, including a stretch of five consecutive strikeouts.
“He was really good today,” Maddon said. “I thought great command of his fastball, really good curveball, outstanding curveball. He was just really on top of his game, I thought.”
Schwarber connected for a solo homer off Davies in the second, but the right-hander did eventually settle in to set down 12 of the next 13 Cubs to get through the fifth inning.
“I was falling behind guys and leaving balls over the plate,” Davies said. “It was a terrible first inning, but I battled through it.”
Zobrist increased Chicago’s lead to 6-3 with a homer off reliever Carlos Torres as part of a two-run seventh.
Milwaukee did not get a hit after Braun’s home run in the third inning until Domingo Santana homered off Hector Rondon with two outs in the ninth. Cubs closer Wade Davis came on to get the final out.
TIME TO CELEBRATE
Following six road games to begin the season, the Cubs will open a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The Cubs will unveil the championship banner Monday and will receive their World Series rings in a pregame ceremony Wednesday.
“They’ll (fans) be out in force,” Maddon said. “It’s going to be raucous, it’s going to be a party for them. I love it. Our fans deserve it, they waited a long enough time. The reaction has been beyond spectacular.”
Milwaukee purchased the contract of RHP David Goforth before Sunday’s game. To clear room on the 40-man roster, RHP Damien Magnifico was designated for assignment.
Goforth, who pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday, has now been called up eight times over the past three seasons.
Cubs: 2B Javier Baez was not in the lineup, but it was not related to the outfield collision that occurred Friday. He entered at second base as part of a double switch in the eighth.
Brewers: Braun returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with lower back tightness. OF Keon Broxton made his first start since suffering a nasal fracture after getting hit in the face with a pitch Thursday against Colorado. He entered Friday’s game as part of a double switch and pinch-hit on Saturday.
Manager Craig Counsell and assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager attended to RHP Jacob Barnes after he fielded a bunt single by Jon Jay in the eighth. Barnes stayed in the game to toss a scoreless inning.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0) will start Chicago’s home opener Monday against the Dodgers. He limited St. Louis to one run over five innings on opening day. Lester is 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (1-0) will look to build upon his first start of the season when he faces Toronto on Tuesday. He threw five scoreless innings against Colorado in a 6-1 victory April 5. Peralta has faced the Blue Jays once in his career, a no decision after surrendering four earned runs over six innings in July 2014.