CHICAGO -- It's tough to explain the Cubs' center-field situation. It's not a platoon exactly between Albert Almora Jr. and Jon Jay.
"Both of these guys together make a wonderful center fielder," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Tuesday's 9-7 victory over the Brewers. "I'm hoping it stays that way. We have to figure out how to get both incorporated. That's the best for everybody."
Almora delivered a clutch, two-run, pinch-hit single in the sixth inning, then scored on Jay's triple to tie it. Jay then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by the Brewers' Jared Hughes to help end the Cubs' four-game losing streak.
"Pinch-hitting is not that easy," Maddon said. "Everybody says, 'You just send them up and they'll get a hit.' Albert's not used to that, having played all the time in the Minor Leagues. The thing I like about Albert in that role is that he's not afraid to swing and he normally puts the ball in play."
Almora and Jay are close. When Almora was drafted, he trained with Jay in Miami. If Almora needs advice, he knows who to turn to.
"We've talked about those situations," Jay said of pinch-hitting, "but he knows what he's doing out there. In that situation, I didn't say anything. That was a big clutch hit for us, and kind of sparked everything right there."
Hughes was mad at himself for the pitch to Jay, now 7-for-18 to begin the season.
"It was just terrible execution on my behalf," Hughes said. "I put it right over the heart of the plate and he's an experienced hitter and he did not miss. Put good contact on it, drove the run in. I just have to execute better. And if I execute better, I'll have better results."
And the wild pitch?
"I was just looking for a pitch in the strike zone," Jay said. "I was able to capitalize on the pitch right there."
Jay was signed this offseason because the Cubs liked his experience. He's contributed in his part-time role.
"Beautiful player, man," Maddon said. "He's the consummate pro, Jon Jay is. They're both going to play. They're both going to get plenty of at-bats. They're both really important to us this season."
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.