CHICAGO – Kyle Hendricks finished a three-hitter after new manager David Ross gave him one more batter, Anthony Rizzo homered and dished out hand sanitizer, and the Chicago Cubs started the season by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 on Friday night.
Ian Happ connected for a two-run drive and Ross got his first victory in his debut as a big league skipper, making all the right moves in front of a mostly empty Wrigley Field for the opener of a pandemic-shortened 60-game season.
Showing off an improved curveball, Hendricks struck out nine and walked none in his first career opening-day start and fourth career shutout.
“That was fun to watch,” Ross said. “I mean now you know why he’s a guy that you slot into the opening-day starter role.”
Orlando Arcia had each of Milwaukee's hits off Hendricks (1-0). After he singled with two out in the third for the Brewers' first baserunner, he accepted a splash of sanitizer from a smiling Rizzo at first and cleaned off his hands.
“It surprised me, too," Arcia said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t think he was going to do that.”
Rizzo said he got the idea while hanging out with some friends.
“We were all talking about it and all just started to laugh," Rizzo said. "Kind of forgot about it and then the other day I remember it.”