PHOENIX -- A Cubs split-squad sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs against three Brewers pitchers in the third inning of a 10-5 Cactus League win on Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Mike Olt and Welington Castillo each delivered a two-run hit during the big rally and Castillo finished with three RBIs for the Cubs, who had another squad playing the A's in Las Vegas. By the end of the third inning in Phoenix, seven different Cubs had scored at least one run.
It was not exactly the return to action Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy envisioned. He made his Cactus League debut after dealing with a hamstring injury.
"It seemed about right. Whenever you have your first day back from a hamstring deal, you have a 45-minute inning," Lucroy said. "But it's OK. It kind of tested me a little bit. My legs weren't weak, I didn't get tired. I felt really good, actually."
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson absorbed most of the damage, charged with five earned runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. But three of those runs scored with Minor League left-hander Mike Strong on the mound. Strong, who had already been knocked around in two previous Cactus League appearances, surrendered three hits and a walk before retiring a batter.
After Strong issued another walk, reliever Chris Perez took over and recorded the inning-ending out.
The Brewers got on the board in the fourth inning when Adam Lind hit a solo home run to right field for his first spring hit. Lind, bothered by a stiff back earlier in the week, served as the team's designated hitter for the second time in three games.
The Brewers added another run in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to make it close. Those runs scored long after Cubs starter Edwin Jackson had turned in three scoreless innings, with one hit, two walks and two strikeouts.
"It was all about consistency around the strike zone, pounding it, just trying to make the hitters put the ball in play," Jackson said. "We had great offense today. Guys came out swinging the bats well, and we made some great defensive plays."
Up next for Brewers: The Brewers hope to have Ryan Braun back in the lineup Sunday, when it's all hands on deck for the team's first split-squad action of the spring. If Braun returns from an illness he's likely to remain at Maryvale Baseball Park, where Opening Day starter Kyle Lohse will pitch against Sonny Gray and the A's in a game that will air on the Brewers Radio Network and FS Wisconsin. At the same time, Taylor Jungmann will lead another Brewers team to Surprise, Ariz. for a game against Ross Ohlendorf and the Rangers. Both games are scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m. CT. Both games can be seen live on MLB.TV.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.