CHICAGO - Freddy Peralta pitched effectively into the sixth inning, Avisail García smacked a go-ahead two-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Willy Adames and Lorenzo Cain also went deep for the NL Central-leading Brewers, who are a major league-best 35-19 on the road.
Peralta (9-3) allowed two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. The All-Star right-hander struck out eight and walked two on a sweltering afternoon.
"I thought Freddy pitched really well," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "The conditions were difficult. He probably ran out of gas in a spot he usually doesn’t because of the heat."
Devin Williams got the final three outs for his second save after loading the bases with one out in the seventh. Williams struck out Patrick Wisdom and Greg Deichmann to end it.
Frank Schwindel had an RBI double and Rafael Ortega added three hits for Chicago, which has dropped five straight.
Cubs rookie Justin Steele (2-1) allowed three runs on five hits in five innings during his first career start. The left-hander was 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 11 relief appearances for Chicago earlier in the season. Following a stint on the injured list with a right hamstring strain, the 26-year-old was sent to Triple-A Iowa to stretch out as a starter. He was recalled before the game.
"It felt good to be back at Wrigley," Steele said. "I made a few mistakes and they took advantage. I think I did all right. It’s something to build on."
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the third on a bases-loaded walk by Wisdom.
Milwaukee quickly answered with three runs in the fourth. Adames led off with his 21st homer. After Eduardo Escobar doubled, García stroked a 457-foot blast to center to make it 3-1. It was García’s 20th homer, tying his career high from 2019.
"I’m thinking small," he said. "I’m not trying to hit homers. I’m thinking the middle of the field and not trying to do too much."
Cain added a two-out homer in the sixth off reliever Trevor Megill for a 4-1 lead. It was Cain’s fourth homer of the season and first since May 3.
Wisdom led off the sixth with an infield single. Peralta pounced off the mound toward the third-base line to field the ball, but his throw sailed past first and out of play for an error to allow Wisdom to take second. One out later, Schwindel doubled off the glove of third baseman Luis Urías to score Wisdom.
Brad Boxberger then replaced Peralta and got pinch-hitter David Bote and Alcántara to fly out to end the inning.
The Brewers activated RHP Jake Cousins from the COVID-19 injured list before the doubleheader and designated RHP Sal Romano for assignment.
To make room for Steele on the roster, the Cubs optioned LHP Kyle Ryan to Triple-A Iowa.
Brewers rookie LHP Aaron Ashby (0-0, 54.00 ERA) makes his second career start in the nightcap, facing Cubs RHP Alec Mills (5-4, 4.41). Ashby made his major league debut in a start against Chicago on June 30 in Milwaukee and was roughed up for seven runs (four earned) on four hits in two-thirds of an inning.