Pina, Wren launch three-run blasts vs. Cubs

Pina, Wren launch three-run blasts vs. Cubs

PHOENIX -- Anthony Rizzo responded to a pair of high-and-tight pitches by hitting a solo home run in the first inning, but the Brewers struck back with a pair of three-run shots in a 13-7 win over a split Cubs squad Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Manny Pina hit a three-run homer in Milwaukee's four-run first inning, and outfield prospect Kyle Wren hit another three-run shot in a four-run third. Pina's home run was his second in as many days as he continues a bid for an Opening Day roster spot at catcher.

Pina finished with two hits and two runs scored for the Brewers, and he is 8-for-13 over his past four games. "I was impressed with his [81] plate appearances with us last year," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Pina. "To me, that was an impressive little stretch. He held his own, a [.740] OPS. He did a nice job. Offensively, his game has seemed to develop late in his career a little bit. He's a hitter."

Counsell on Wren's spring

The Cubs, who also hosted Japan's World Baseball Classic team in an exhibition at Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, sent six of their starting position players to Maryvale expecting to see Brewers Opening Day starter Junior Guerra. But the Brewers made a change on Saturday morning, shifting Guerra to a Minor League game and employing a series of pitchers for an inning apiece against the Cubs, starting with left-hander Brent Suter.

Suter struck out the side in the first inning, but not before surrendering Rizzo's long home run over the 400-foot marker in right-center field.

The Brewers scored four times in the first inning against Cubs starter Jake Buchanan, who surrendered those four runs on six hits in two innings, with no walks and two strikeouts.

Rizzo, Addison Russell and designated hitter John Andreoli all hit solo home runs for Chicago, and Jacob Hannemann hit a two-run homer in the seventh as the Cubs, after trailing by as many as eight runs, pulled as close as 10-7.

Russell's solo home run

For the Brewers, catcher Dustin Houle homered and third baseman Travis Shaw led the way with three hits and scored twice. Former first-round Draft pick Trent Clark collected his first hit in a big league game and fellow prospects Isan Diaz and Mauricio Dubon drove in a run apiece.

Houle's solo home run

Cubs Up Next: Mike Montgomery will face the Royals on Sunday when the Cubs play another night game at Sloan Park. Montgomery, a candidate for the fifth starter spot, will be making his fifth spring appearance and fourth start. He's given up 11 hits over seven innings so far while striking out eight. First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV.

Brewers Up Next: Zach Davies gets the start Sunday as the Brewers visit Scottsdale Stadium to play the Giants at 3:05 p.m on MLB.TV. CT. Bob Uecker and Jeff Levering have the call on Gameday Audio and the Brewers Radio Network.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.