Ross had plenty of reasons to smile Thursday despite the chilly temperatures on opening day against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Kyle Hendricks wanted to set the tone with his start and delivered a vintage performance. Nico Hoerner’s go-ahead,
two-run homer in the fifth helped knock reigning National League Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes out of the game after the inning.
The Cubs did enough against Burnes and the Brewers bullpen to pull out a 5-4 win in front of 35,112 fans. David Robertson earned the save in his Cubs debut.
Although it’s just one game in a long, six-month season, opening day feels different regardless of whether it’s a player’s first or sixth, like for catcher Willson Contreras.
He said he got chills thinking about how Thursday was his sixth consecutive opening day with the organization.
“Once I stepped out there I was almost tearing up,” Contreras said. “This place so special to me that I will always keep it in my heart.”
The uncertainty of Contreras’ part in the Cubs’ future looms over the big-picture implications of this season.
“Of course everyone wants to hit more home runs, and it’s a part of what I can do,” Hoerner said. “It’s something that I can’t force, but it’ll happen over time.”
Hoerner unexpectedly delivered the first home run of the season — both for the Cubs and in Major League Baseball.
“A lot has to line up for that to happen,” Hoerner said of hitting the Cubs’ first homer. “I’ll have to ask Ian Happ how to handle that notoriety.”
Happ hit the first home run in MLB in 2018. While he didn’t homer Thursday, his three-hit game, featuring two doubles, was a welcome sight after a brutally tough first half in 2021