MILWAUKEE -- Baseball loves its big, round numbers, and Christian Yelich put one on the board Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
Yelich’s two-run home run in the first inning of the Cubs-Brewers series finale was the 100th homer of his career, good for a lead in what became a three-RBI afternoon and a 4-2 win in the rubber match of the three-game series. It was Yelich’s team-leading fifth home run this season, all of which he’s hit at home.
“I remember my first one, so 99 later, it’s pretty cool,” Yelich said. “I didn’t really know a whole lot in the moment, so they were telling me after that it was 100.”
It’s been a hot start for the reigning National League MVP Award winner, who homered in each of the Brewers first four games this season to match a Major League record. Yelich went five games without a home run before getting back on the board Sunday.
It was his 20th home run at Miller Park since last year’s All-Star break, but also Yelich’s first home run in a Brewers uniform against the Cubs. He hadn’t homered against Chicago since August 2016, when he was still a year and a half from being traded to Milwaukee.
“That surprises me,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
It surprised Yelich, too.
“Kind of crazy, because we play them so much,” Yelich said. “They’ve got great pitching and they always seem to pitch me tough.”
The Brewers scored first in all three games against the Cubs and have scored first in eight of their 10 games so far this season, one reason they are 8-2. The advantage, which grew to 4-0 after Travis Shaw’s RBI single in the third inning and Yelich’s sacrifice fly in the fourth, helped starter Zach Davies cruise into the sixth inning before the Cubs scored their first runs on Willson Contreras’ two-run homer.
“It so changes your frame of reference, how you’re going to be aggressive, who you’re going to use in the bullpen,” said Counsell of playing from in front. “You play with the lead, you’re hedging less. You’re playing from behind, you are always going to hedge into the next day. That’s how you’ve got to play. I love first-inning runs. I’ve said it a million times. It’s a really important time in the game. We jumped on them today.”