Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/8/13
The second time around turned out much better for Johnny Hellweg. Taking advantage of another shot in the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation the rookie right-hander pitched as if he belonged Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Hellweg induced 11 ground-ball outs in six innings and Logan Schafer provided most of the offense with a three-RBI triple in the fourth inning as the Brewers held on to beat the Cubs 5-3. The performance earned Hellweg his first major-league victory just days after he was named the Brewers' minor-league pitcher of the year and figures to send him into his next start with a much-needed boost of confidence. "It feels awesome" said Hellweg who improved to 1-3 while also dropping his earned-run average more than two full runs to 8.64. "It's a good feeling going into my next start. Feels good to go out there and put up six innings and give the team a chance to win." Similar to his previous three starts for the Brewers Hellweg appeared to be pitching tentatively at the start. He hit the second batter of the game Darwin Barney and gave up a single to Anthony Rizzo to follow but didn't allow the Cubs to score. Hellweg walked Brian Bogusevic to open the bottom of the second and then hung a curveball that Luis Valbuena served into the bleachers in right for a 2-0 Chicago lead. After giving up a one-out single to Cubs starter Jake Arrieta Hellweg stood at 31 pitches and got a visit at the mound from catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Hellweg got Starlin Castro to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play on the very next pitch. What did Lucroy say? "I told him 'Let's go. You've got good stuff. Trust it. Get on top of the baseball. Let your sinker work for you'" Lucroy recounted. "He's got a good sinker about 94-95. That's going to blow right-handed hitters up. I just went out there and motivated him a little bit." From that point Hellweg retired nine of the next 11 batters he faced and seven of those via groundout — his calling card. "When I was working down in zone they were hitting it on the ground and I was getting some ground-ball outs" said Hellweg. "I know they rolled over on a couple changeups as well. The ground-ball was huge for me today." In the meantime he was staked to a 4-2 lead thanks to a four-run fourth inning. Scooter Gennett drove in the first run with a single and Schafer starting in center field so Carlos Gomez could rest his knee provided the big blow with a bases-loaded triple into the gap in right-center.
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