Heyward tweaks timing for first HR with Cubs

Ninth-inning blast ends shutout bid by Brewers' Anderson

Heyward tweaks timing for first HR with Cubs

MILWAUKEE -- On May 9, 2015, at Miller Park, Kris Bryant hit his first Major League home run and got the silent treatment from his Cubs teammates, who ducked into the clubhouse to hide when he returned to the dugout. On Tuesday night, Jason Heyward hit his first home run with the Cubs, but his teammates were there to celebrate in a subdued way.

Heyward's blast came with two outs in the ninth inning off Milwaukee's Chase Anderson, who had been one strike away from his first complete game and shutout. Bryant followed Heyward with his seventh homer of the season, but that was all the Cubs could muster in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers.

"I'm kind of surprised I didn't get the silent treatment, to be honest," Heyward said. "But I think with the circumstances with us not getting any runs, no hits and whatever. I thought I'd get the silent treatment. ... I don't know if they're afraid of me, or they said, 'Hey, we're on the board finally.' Maybe the next one, I'll get the silent treatment."

Bryant agreed that the Cubs were focused on trying to rally for a win rather than razzing Heyward. A year ago, Bryant's first homer came in the third inning of the Cubs' 12-4 loss to the Brewers. Heyward thought the silent treatment was justified -- and he wasn't even on the Cubs at the time.

Bryant's first career homer

"You've got to," Heyward said. "A guy hits 10 home runs in Spring Training, you've got to mess with him a little."

Bryant is now in his sophomore season with the Cubs, while this is Heyward's first. He's no rookie, and he knows something about home runs. In his first big league at-bat on April 5, 2010, Heyward homered. Cubs fans probably remember it because he connected off Chicago's Carlos Zambrano.

Heyward wasn't too concerned about the lack of home runs so far.

"I know it's going to come," Heyward said. "I've been on stretches where I've gone with no homers. It happens. You have to keep putting it together and keep building on that and go forward. I'm trying to do what I can to contribute. I'm starting to see some positivity going forward right now, but at the same time, I'm just trying to help them win."

What's been the difference?

"Be on time," he said. "I tell myself, 'Be on time, be early.' I realized I'd just missed some pitches in other [at-bats]. [Anderson] was making pitches but I was just missing them. I was able to get one out front. I have to try to keep that stuff going."

The Brewers seemed to be in the right place, right time in the game with perfect positioning. Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis robbed Bryant of an extra-base hit to end the first inning.

Nieuwenhuis' spectacular catch

"We actually swung the bats pretty well and put a lot of balls in play, but we didn't have any real good luck," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

The Cubs signed Heyward to an eight-year, $184 million contract, and most likely expected a few more homers by now.

"It's good for him to get off the schneid," Maddon said. "I'm happy for him, and that's just the beginning."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.