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updated: 9/1/2014 7:35 PM

Soler's Wrigley debut big hit for Cubs

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  • Cubs slugger Jorge Soler (68) celebrates with teammate Chris Valaika, right, after scoring on a Welington Castillo single during the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Chicago, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.

      Cubs slugger Jorge Soler (68) celebrates with teammate Chris Valaika, right, after scoring on a Welington Castillo single during the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Chicago, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.
    Associated Press


Not only was youth served Monday at Wrigley Field, it had a seat at the head table.

The day started with the Cubs honoring Chicago's national-champion Little Leaguers from Jackie Robinson West. Then, during a 4-2 Cubs victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, some young guys on the big-league team had some big-time fun.

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All eyes were on rookie right fielder Jorge Soler, who made his Wrigley Field debut after exploding onto the major-league scene on the just-concluded road trip.

Soler doubled his first time up, hitting a drive to right field in the second inning and then scoring on Welington Castillo's single. In the sixth, Soler doubled to right-center and scampered to third base on an error.

Before the game, Soler said he had been looking forward to his Wrigley debut since signing a nine-year major-league deal two years ago.

It seemed all it was cracked up to be for him.

"Very good experience, especially getting that first-AB double and getting it out of the way," he said through translator Jose Flores, the Cubs' minor-league infield coordinator. "It was really good."

So far, Soler has been really good.

In five games, he is 10-for-19 (.526) with 4 doubles, 3 homers and 7 RBI. The Cubs were busy providing Soler updates throughout the game.

With his first double, he became the third player in the last 100 years to record an extra-base hit in each of his first five career games and the first to do so since Will Middlebrooks of Boston in 2012. Soler is the first National Leaguer to do it since Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals in 1938.

"It's really not as easy as it looks," Soler said. "I'm just very conscious at the plate right now and trying to make the best out of it pitch by pitch."

Cubs manager Rick Renteria, whose team knocked the Brewers into second place behind the Cardinals, was duly impressed.

"Nice debut," said Renteria, whose team improved to 62-76. "Good game for a couple guys."

It was a good game for Castillo, another of the Cubs' young players. He followed his RBI single with a 2-run homer in the fourth inning as the Cubs took a 3-0 lead.

Luis Valbuena gave the Cubs an insurance run in the eighth with a solo homer, his career-best 14th of the season and fourth in his last seven games. It came after the Brewers got within 3-2 in the seventh on back-to-back homers by Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra.

Davis' homer came off Cubs starter Jacob Turner. Parra hit his off reliever Blake Parker.

Renteria has been thanking his lucky stars for Valbuena, a young veteran at 28.

"Lucius has been hot," Renteria said, using his nickname for Valbuena. "That was a big home run."

As for the entire day, the Cubs seemed as thrilled to see the Little Leaguers as the kids were to be at Wrigley Field. Naturally, Renteria was asked about a World Series team of kids inspiring the Cubs to such heights at their level.

"If the enthusiasm of those young men of Jackie Robinson West can be equaled by the young men that we have in our clubhouse, we've got a good shot," Renteria said. "But I think we would have a good shot moving forward simply because the talent pool is significantly better right now for us in terms of the players.

"Maybe it won't be ironic. Maybe it will be actually prophetic."

As for Jackie Robinson West coach Darold Butler he wasn't biting when asked if he could impart some national-championship secrets to the big boys.

"They didn't do that," he said when asked if the Cubs sought his advice. "If they asked me, I'd let them know what I know."

• Follow Bruce's Cubs and baseball reports via Twitter@BruceMiles2112.

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