Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer and Carlos Gomez added a solo shot, as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Miller Park.
Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI triple and Rickie Weeks had one hit and a run scored for the Brewers, who have won five straight and their last six at home versus the Cubs. Starter Marco Estrada (2-0) gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out four over six innings.
David DeJesus had two hits, including a two-run shot, and Luis Valbuena and Anthony Rizzo each hit solo home runs for Chicago, which has lost four of five.
Jeff Samardzija (1-3) yielded five runs -- four earned -- on six hits over seven innings and fanned four in defeat.
Milwaukee erupted for four runs in the first. Norichika Aoki reached first base on an error and Jean Segura hit a single to put runners on first and third. Braun then smacked a three-run shot to left on an 0-2 count to make it 3-0.
Weeks followed with a double to shallow right. Lucroy then tripled in the gap to right field scoring Weeks to make it 4-0.
"It was really a great battle by both teams," Samardzija said. "I wouldn't say it rattled me in the first inning, I tried to limit the damage."
Chicago answered in the third. Valbuena led off the frame with a solo home run to right. With one out, Samardzija drew a walk and DeJesus hit a blast to right field to make it 4-3.
Gomez added to the lead in the seventh with a slicing opposite field solo homer that landed just over the right-center field wall to make it 5-3.
The Cubs quickly cut the lead to one run, though, in the eighth. Rizzo launched a moonshot solo home run to right, his fifth of the year, which made it 5-4.
Jim Henderson forced two quick outs in the ninth. After he gave up a single to pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro, Julio Borbon, who replaced Navarro as a pinch- runner, was thrown out attempting to steal second to end the game.
"The bullpen was really good," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "They've been throwing the ball great. Samardzija is tough. Estrada struggled. He struggled with his command. The bullpen had to pick us up."
In the sixth inning, with Samardzija still on the mound, Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected from the contest for arguing with home plate umpire Chris Guccione over a pitch that was called a ball ... Chicago went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position ... Henderson has three saves in three tries this season.