Villar's and Franklin's blasts came off the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks, the Major League ERA leader last season, who helped himself at the plate with two hits, including a tie-breaking RBI single in the fifth. Hendricks struck out six over six innings in his season debut.
"The very beginning of the game, 0-2 pitch, and Villar hits the homer -- we're not used to seeing [Hendricks] giving up homers, period," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That was unusual. He battled through it. We needed those innings to make it work tonight, and he did it."
"We knew it was a matter of time," Hendricks said of the Cubs' offense. "I had a good feeling it would be today. You can't hold this offense down for very long. It's good to see them get rolling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Penmanship: After playing an 11-inning game on Friday night, both teams needed their starters to go deep. Milwaukee's Tommy Milone subbed for starter Junior Guerra, who strained his right calf on Opening Day. Milone lasted four innings, giving up four runs. The Brewers needed 199 pitches from Milone and four relievers to get through the game, taxing an already overworked bullpen. After the game, the team optioned left-hander Brent Suter to Triple-A Colorado Springs but made no corresponding move.
"We needed more fielders tonight," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "[The Cubs] get credit for putting the ball in play, for sure, they put the ball in play, but they found a lot of holes."
Center of attention: Not many No. 9 hitters can make an impact in the NL, but the Cubs' Almora did his part. Batting behind the pitcher, Almora went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a walk. The three hits matched his career high. Almora also made a nice diving catch of Travis Shaw's fly ball to end the Brewers' fifth and strand a runner at second. Statcast™ called for a 65 percent catch probability in three-star territory on the play.
"The way Almora has been playing center -- that catch he made for me today was huge -- and the day he had at the plate," Hendricks said.
Added Bryant: "You look at [Jason] Heyward, Albert, Jon Jay -- they are all Gold Glove caliber."
"It wasn't the start I was looking for, but luckily we came out swinging today. Finding the strike zone wasn't the problem. I was throwing across my body, and things were kind of off." -- Hendricks
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Milone was the first left-hander to start a game at Miller Park for the Brewers since Tom Gorzelanny on Aug. 21, 2013, against the Cardinals. He was the first southpaw to start a game for the Brewers versus the Cubs since Randy Wolf on June 7, 2012, at Miller Park.
• Hendricks matched his career high with two hits, something he has now accomplished three times. It also marked the second time he has done so against the Brewers (Sept. 18, 2016).
"I think early I noticed I didn't have it, so I knew I'd have to do anything I could," Hendricks said of his hitting. "Luckily, we ended up swinging it enough to score enough runs."
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jake Arrieta will close the series against the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Miller Park. In his first start, Arrieta gave up one unearned run over six innings against the Cardinals. He's 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in his last five starts against the Brewers.
Brewers: Braun (lower back tightness) may be out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game as the Brewers' seven-game homestand ends on Sunday. Zach Davies will start for Milwaukee. He allowed six runs in just 4 1/3 innings in his first start, a 6-5 loss to Colorado.