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Observations: Opening series win in Davies’ Cubs debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Cubs beat the Pirates 4-3 Sunday, winning their opening series 2-1. Including this year, the Cubs have won or split their season-opening series in six of the last seven seasons.

Here are 10 observations from Sunday’s win:

1. Right-hander Zach Davies kicked off his Cubs debut Sunday with a nine-pitch first inning. He induced back-to-back popups and then struck out Bryan Reynolds to end the frame.

2. The tables turned early in the game. After leadoff walks plagued Cubs pitchers on Opening Day, Chicago took advantage of a pair of walks in the first inning Sunday to score the first two runs of the game. Cubs leadoff Ian Happ and three-hole hitter Anthony Rizzo drew the free passes. Kris Bryant delivered the RBI single, and Joc Pederson drove in a run with a groundout to first.

3. The Cubs home run race is tight, three games into the season. On Sunday, Happ caught up to Bryant and Jason Heyward, launching his first bomb of the season over the batter’s eye shrubs in center field.

4. Davies passed the 500-career strikeout mark with five Ks Saturday.

5. Davies’ changeup was doing damage Sunday. He generated nine whiffs on the pitch.

6. The Cubs finally logged a hit against former Cubs pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. on Sunday. The Pirates reliever faced the top of the Cubs’ batting order in the fifth inning and retired the side in order, after striking out the side in his one inning on Opening Day. But then in the sixth, he gave up a double to Bryant to start the inning.

7. After an efficient and scoreless first five frames, Davies lost his edge in the sixth. With two outs, he gave up a single, two-run home run, single and walk before Dan Winkler replaced him on the mound.

8. Cubs left-handed reliever Rex Brothers entered in the eighth inning to face switch-hitting Reynolds, but he gave up three straight hits and a run, cutting the Cubs’ lead to one run. A 4-6-3 double play got Brothers out of the inning.

9. Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel got his first save opportunity of the year, and he delivered. The right-hander retired the side in order.

10. Before Sunday’s game, catcher Austin Romine (right knee sprain) practiced throwing to bases from behind the plate. He remains on the 10-day IL.

Next up: The Cubs open a three-game series against the Brewers on Monday. First pitch at Wrigley Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.. Right-hander Trevor Williams is set to make his Cubs debut, and lefty Brett Anderson is the probable pitcher for the Brewers.

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