Contreras’ two-run shot in the eighth inning gave the Cubs a much-needed 3-2 victory.
MILWAUKEE — You knew it was only a matter of time before catcher Willson Contreras got his revenge on the Brewers, and he did it when the Cubs needed it most.
Contreras has voiced his displeasure early this season about being hit by pitches, especially by the Brewers, who had drilled him twice, including once in the head.
Teams have begun to go up and in on Contreras as a game plan, and the Brewers hit him again during the fourth inning of the Cubs’ 3-2 victory Tuesday. But there was no conversation from Contreras or outward anger toward the Brewers.
He was waiting for just the right time to explode, and the moment came with the Cubs trailing 2-1 and the offense needing a big hit in the eighth inning.
After Ian Happ singled with one out, Contreras got his payback by launching a no-doubt, two-run home run into the second deck at American Family Field to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.
‘‘I think I let all my frustration come out [on the home run],’’ Contreras said. ‘‘Because when you get hit a lot, you feel bottled up with frustration.’’
‘‘That’s a big home run,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘I think with everything we’ve gone through today and the ups and downs, there’s a lot of credit to go around. Willson obviously had that huge home run, and that has got to feel so good for him. He almost ripped my hand off when he high-fived me.’’
With a monster bat flip and an enthusiastic trot around the bases, Contreras made sure to enjoy the moment, even putting his finger over his mouth as he rounded third base to silence the boos that rained down on him.
‘‘Today was such an important win coming off that [bad] stretch,’’ said reliever Pedro Strop, who earned his first victory for the Cubs since 2019.
Contreras’ homer helped keep the Cubs from dropping their fourth consecutive game and gave them a much-needed victory after a rough three games against the Pirates and Brewers.
‘‘It feels good to shut people up when they boo me,’’ Contreras said. ‘‘I don’t really care. . . . That’s something that they have to understand. It is a game. A lot of people that watch the game from the stands, they don’t understand what’s going on. So that’s my takeaway after tonight. We sent a message. I think they picked the wrong guy to throw at.’’
Right-hander Alec Mills’ contribution might not have shone as brightly as the go-ahead homer by Contreras, but what he did was just as important. Mills was forced into emergency action after right-hander Kyle Hendricks was scratched because he felt under the weather.
Not only did Mills give the Cubs four solid innings in his spot start, but he gave them a chance to be in position to take advantage of Contreras’ heroics by keeping them in the game.
‘‘That was kind of my goal to start the day: to [go] as many as possible and give the bullpen as much rest as I could,’’ Mills said.
‘‘I don’t know how many times I’ve got to sing his praises on just being so versatile,’’ Ross said of Mills. ‘‘He really is so important to our team with how many roles he can fill and what he can do with the baseball. His personality is unflappable.’’