Trevor Williams spins a gem vs. the Brewers in Cubs debut

Williams retired the first 15 batters he faced in the Cubs’ 5-3 victory over the Brewers.

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Cubs starter Trevor Williams delivers a pitch during the first inning Monday against the Brewers.

Cubs starter Trevor Williams delivers a pitch during the first inning Monday against the Brewers.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The biggest question coming into the season for the Cubs was their rotation, and through four games, it has been an area of strength.

After the Cubs got quality outings in two victories against the Pirates, Trevor Williams spun a gem of his own in a 5-3 win against Brewers on Monday, retiring the first 15 batters he faced in his first start as a Cub.

“Just a really special moment for my family and I,” Williams said. “Thankful that they were able to be in the stands to celebrate, it wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t in the stands. To feel the energy from all the fans, that really was incredible. That’s something that I will remember and I’m going to cherish.”

Williams got the defense involved early and often, using a balanced mix of all five of his pitches. He got 10 groundouts in the game, making quick work of Milwaukee hitters through the first five innings.

But no ground ball was bigger than Williams’ last. After surrendering his first hit to Omar Narvaez in the sixth, Williams slowly began to unravel, allowing a walk and a hit by pitch to load the bases. Williams then got Keston Hiura to roll over on a 1-2 slider and ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.

“Strike one makes a big difference,” said Willson Contreras, who homered in the 5-3 win. “I know this guy can throw strikes. We faced him a lot and he’s got good stuff. What I like the most is the way he goes about his business. He is always wondering about the game.”

“I felt like he was ahead of almost every hitter, especially early on and attacking guys,” manager David Ross said.

The Cubs right-hander allowed two runs and two hits over six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked two. He was backed on offense by three fourth-inning home runs from Contreras, Javy Baez and David Bote. 

Over their last 12⅔ innings, Cubs starters have allowed just five earned runs.

Kimbrel off to hot start

The last two seasons have been filled with ups and downs for Craig Kimbrel, but the Cubs’ closer found success toward the end of the spring and has carried it over into the regular season.

The right-hander, who faced six batters and struck out five of them over his first two appearances of the season, has looked like the Kimbrel everyone remembers.

“My first few appearances have been good,” Kimbrel said. “Successfully hit my spots and executed the pitches. The life and movement of them on my pitches — they’ve definitely been there.”

Kimbrel’s first two outings not only have been good but also dominant, and MLB’s active leader in saves has had success with his signature knuckle-curve as well as his fastball.

“I think Craig’s in a good place,” manager David Ross said. “He’s throwing strikes, getting good carry on his fastball. The ball’s above the barrel. You see a lot of foul balls that are straight back or pop-ups, which is telling me the ball is moving in the right place. He’s getting a secondary pitch over. I think those are keys to him. He’s on the attack.”

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