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Brewers 10, Cubs 6: Blake Perkins helps deliver a victory with his bat and his glove

Blake Perkins is going to remember Wednesday night for a long time.

He took a total of five runs off the board for the Chicago Cubs with three tremendous catches in center field, then drove in two himself with a home run off the heretofore untouchable Shota Imanaga to highlight a 10-6 victory for the Milwaukee Brewers over their National League Central Division rival at American Family Field.

Box score: Brewers 10, Cubs 6

"He pretty much won the game for us on defense," said Christian Yelich, who had a big hand in the triumph as well with two hits and three runs batted in. "And that's not even counting what he did at the plate (Perkins also doubled). That's probably the best game I've ever seen him play.

"Great time for it."

The game was fun to watch for Brewers fans from the outset, as Yelich hit a booming two-run homer three batters into the bottom of the first inning off Imanaga to stake Milwaukee (32-23) to an early lead. Then, with the Cubs threatening to come back, Willy Adames hit a two-run shot in the seventh to add some much-needed breathing room.

Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich (22) is greeted by third baseman Joey Ortiz after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning.
Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich (22) is greeted by third baseman Joey Ortiz after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning.

Finally, the Brewers get to a Cubs starter

Joey Ortiz, batting leadoff for the first time, greeted Imanaga – who entered 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA – by roping a double into the gap in right-center. After William Contreras grounded out, Yelich blasted a first-pitch fastball left by Imanaga over the plate 441 feet out to right-center.

It was the first homer since April 10 for Yelich, his longest of the season and third against a left-handed pitcher (he has six overall). It also snapped said scoreless streak at 32 ⅔ innings, with the first-inning runs the first surrendered by Imanaga in 10 starts.

"You go into a game and you don't know what to expect," said Yelich of facing Imanaga for the first time. "You watch video and you can kind of see what's happened to other teams and what's gone on. But until you get into the box against a guy you don't really know what it looks like, what it's going to be like.

"So, we were just out there like, 'OK, let's just grind and see what we can do and keep trying to put pressure on the other team, constant traffic and we'll just see what happens."

Chicago got one of those runs back on a solo shot by Ian Happ, in the top of the second off Brewers starter Bryse Wilson.

Brewers center fielder Blake Perkins makes a leaping catch on ball hit by Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel in the third inning Wednesday night at American Family Field.
Brewers center fielder Blake Perkins makes a leaping catch on ball hit by Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel in the third inning Wednesday night at American Family Field.

Blake Perkins does it again

A night after Adames was robbed of a homer by Cody Bellinger, Christopher Morel fell victim to Blake Perkins.

Bellinger had just singled to bring Morel to the plate with two outs in the third. The Cubs' biggest power threat sent a deep drive to center that Perkins got a bead on and brought back from the top of the wall for the out.

It was the second robbery of the season for Perkins, who also got Lars Nootbaar with a similar catch in St. Louis on April 21.

"It's just kind of natural now. I don't know how else to put it," said Perkins, who credits his success on such plays to the work he puts in during batting practice. "I'm not really thinking about it out there. I'm trying to be confident and I know I need to be aggressive and I always look forward to getting close to the wall and hopefully making a play like that."

Then in the bottom of the inning, Ortiz, Yelich and Adames all singled and Sánchez followed with a double to extend the Brewers' lead to 5-1.

But they weren't done yet as two batters later Perkins capped a memorable inning by sending a two-run homer into the Milwaukee bullpen in left-center to make it a 7-1 game.

Which is better, Perkins was asked: Robbing a homer or hitting a homer in the same inning?

"I think just for the game situation, the home-run robbery was just a better momentum boost," Perkins said. "But hitting a home run in a big-league game against the Cubs is hard to beat.

"So, selflishly, I'll say the home run."

The seven earned runs were two more than Imanaga had allowed in his first nine starts combined (53 ⅔ innings).

Chicago responded with another run in the top of the fourth on a Dansby Swanson groundout.

Blake Perkins rounds the bases after his two-run homer in the third inning.
Blake Perkins rounds the bases after his two-run homer in the third inning.

Jake Bauers gets the Brewers into a pickle

Jake Bauers has been tremendous defensively at first base so far this season, but he had a nightmarish fifth with the glove as he booted not one but two ground balls.

The first led to a run scoring two batters later. The second, on a routine grounder right to Bauers, paved the way to another run scoring when Jared Koenig – inserted for Wilson three batters earlier – hit pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom with a bounced pitch with the bases loaded.

That brought Dansby Swanson to the plate and he provided a scare with a drive to right-center, but Perkins ranged over and gloved it at the wall to keep it a 7-4 game.

Imanaga was lifted in favor of the longtime Brewers killer Kyle Hendricks, who needed just one pitch to get Gary Sánchez to ground into an inning-ending double play.

But Koenig then did a nice job of settling the game down with a scoreless sixth.

Then it was time for more Perkins magic, as his tremendous diving catch on the warning track deprived Ian Happ of extra bases and helped Enoli Paredes to a scoreless seventh.

Perkins's momentum on the slide led to him crashing head-first into the base of the center-field wall. But he remained in the game with Paredes saluting him from the mound in the immediate aftermath.

"The dive, for sure," Perkins said when asked which of the catches was the toughest to make. "The ball was more of a line drive. It was tailing away on me the whole time. That was definitely the tougher catch."

Milwaukee gets the breathing room it needs

With Kyle Hendricks on the mound, Ortiz drew a one-out walk in the seventh and William Contreras singled. Yelich's groundout scored Ortiz to provide a little more breathing room.

Milwaukee would get even more five pitches later when Adames sent a two-run homer into the Brewers bullpen in left-center to make it 10-4.

Chicago tacked on a couple of runs in the ninth against Mitch White but it wasn't enough to keep Milwaukee from evening the season series at 3-3 and improving to 9-3 in its last 12 home games.

Overall, it was a resounding step in the right direction against a terrific left-hander that the Brewers are going to see many more times in the coming months and years.

"We did a great job of staying within ourselves, swinging at strikes, taking the balls," Perkins said. "Just trying to be aggressive, I think."

More: Why Hank Aaron's home run total won't change as Negro Leagues added to MLB stat database

Brewers time, TV, radio

The Brewers game starts at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday.

TV: Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio: AM-620 and a state network.

Cubs lineup

Brewers lineup

  • Joey Ortiz 3B

  • William Contreras C

  • Christian Yelich LF

  • Willy Adames SS

  • Gary Sánchez DH

  • Jake Bauers 1B

  • Blake Perkins CF

  • Jackson Chourio RF

  • Brice Turang 2B

Brewers schedule

Brewers vs. Cubs, 12:10 p.m. Thursday: Milwaukee RHP Colin Rea (4-2, 3.98) vs. Chicago RHP Jameson Taillon (3-2, 2.58). Broadcasts: TV – Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio – AM-620.

Brewers vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. Friday: Milwaukee RHP Tobias Myers (1-2, 4.43) vs. Chicago RHP Erick Fedde (4-1, 2.80). Broadcasts: TV – Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio – AM-620.

Brewers vs. White Sox, 3:10 p.m. Saturday: Milwaukee LHP Robert Gasser (2-0, 1.96) vs. Chicago LHP Garrett Crochet (5-5, 3.68). Broadcasts: TV – Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio – AM-620.

Brewers vs. White Sox, 1:10 p.m. Sunday: Milwaukee RHP Freddy Peralta (3-3, 3.61) vs. Chicago RHP Nick Nastrini (0-4, 9.92). Broadcasts: TV – Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio – AM-620.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers 10, Cubs 6: Blake Perkins helps in victory with bat and glove