Cubs’ Contreras wins battle of brothers in another victory over Braves
Willson Contreras one-upped his younger brother William, going 3-for-5 while showing a high display of acumen as the Cubs seized a 6-3 win over the Braves.
Before Willson Contreras hugged younger brother William before stepping in the -batter’s box Saturday at Wrigley Field, the Cubs catcher jokingly had a suggestion forleft-hander Justin Steele.
“I told Justin, ‘Call your game against my brother because if he gets a hit, it won’t be [on] me,’ ” Willson quipped.
William showed his ability with a 2-for-4 performance, but his older brother was all business, going 3-for-5 while showing a high display of acumen as the Cubs seized a 6-3 win over the Braves (37-29).
Despite the Braves’ recent 14-game winning streak, the Cubs (25-40) have posted two consecutive impressive wins against one of the National League’s elite teams.
And Willson, 30, the subject of trade speculation as he gets closer to free agency, has been immune to the scrutiny with an All-Star performance.
After hugging his brother at the plate, Contreras collected his first hit and stole second base, setting up a two-out, two-run single by Jonathan Villar that gave the Cubs the lead.
“The best moment of our lives, including my family, my mom and dad,” Contreras said after the highly anticipated matchup. “Everything we went through to get here, now we get to enjoy together. Seeing my brother behind the plate makes me proud because the last time I saw him play was in Little League and I haven’t seen him [play in person] for years.
“To play against him was a special moment, and hopefully we keep playing against each other for a few more years.”
But the brothers kept their focus on the game. Willson hit a two-out RBI single in his second at-bat and advanced to second on the throw to third. In the fifth, he turned a hit up the middle into a double thanks to his hustle.
Meanwhile, William had a single in the second and a double in the eighth.
“We’re brothers and love each other, but we’re still professional and I still have to respect my team and he has to respect his team and respect baseball,” Willson said. “I know we’re having fun, but we have our -allegiance.”
Cubs manager David Ross enjoyed watching Willson and William compete, reviving memories of when Jose Molina of the Rays played against Yadier Molina of the Cardinals on June 10, 2014 — the last time two brothers were starting catchers in the same game.
“I didn’t want to get beat against my younger brother,” Willson said. “I’m sure he was thinking the same thing. We’re professionals. We love our team and were expecting to win.”
Said Steele: “It’s nice having somebody behind the plate who wants to win the game as much as you do.”
Willson doesn’t check the box scores involving his brother, who is batting .296 with nine home runs and 17 RBI in 29 games. But they exchange text messages nearly every day, and Willson was impressed with the -adjustments his brother made at the plate in handling two “nasty” sliders.
“That tells me a lot about him,” said -Willson, who continued his bid for a third NL All-Star appearance with a .284 batting average, 12 home runs, 27 RBI and 1.026 OPS. “We just had a great moment.”
After a dinner Friday night and a long-awaited matchup, the Contreras brothers planned to rest Saturday night before the series finale Sunday.
And perhaps dream about being named to the NL All-Star team.
“Let’s see what happens,” Willson said. “It would be fun if we get to go. It would be the next step for our dream to come true.”
The last set of brothers to be named to the All-Star Game was Bret and Aaron Boone in 2003 at the White Sox’ then-U.S. Cellular Field.