CHICAGO (TSN-WSAU) Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 in his return to the lineup and Martin Maldonado drove in three runs as the Milwaukee Brewers spoiled the Chicago Cubs home opener with a 7-4 victory at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs plated a pair of runs in the ninth on singles from Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena, but Jim Henderson locked down the save for Milwaukee when he got Starlin Castro to fly out to the warning track with the bases full.
Braun had missed the Diamondbacks series with spasms in his neck, but had two doubles and an RBI on Monday to help the Brewers snap an early five-game losing streak and notch their first win since Opening Day.
Norichika Aoki went 3-for-4 with two walks, Maldonado had three hits and starter Marco Estrada (1-0) tossed seven innings of two-run ball, while also producing an RBI double at the plate. He struck out six and gave up five hits.
Castro had tripled and doubled earlier in the game. Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (0-2) was knocked around early but lasted six innings, yielding five runs on eight hits with five walks and six strikeouts. Welington Castillo had a two- run homer in the setback.
It looked like the Brewers were going to come up empty in the first after Aoki was caught in a run down between third and home, but Milwaukee rallied and plated four runs with two outs.
They loaded the bases, and Alex Gonzalez drew a walk to push a run across. Maldonado then crushed a first pitch fastball into right field to clear the bags and put Milwaukee ahead 4-0.
Braun singled his first at-bat and followed with a double in the second inning. His drive off the center field wall plated Aoki, who had doubled to start the frame, and the Brewers pushed their lead to 5-0.
The Cubs got two runs back on Castillo's homer in the bottom of the second, but stranded runners in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Milwaukee then restored its five-run advantage in the seventh by tacking on a pair.
After Yuniesky Betancourt's sacrifice fly produced a run, Estrada helped his own cause by driving a double into the gap in right center. Gonzalez, who singled earlier in the inning, came around to score and the Brewers took a 7-2 lead.
The Brewers and Cubs play Tuesday night at Wrigley Field at 6:30pm CT on AM-550 FM-99.9 WSAU.