The Cubs came into the game tonight at Wrigley Field looking to shake off their recent poor play, having dropped four out of six games last week. Long-time Chicago nemesis Bronson Arroyo did battle with John Lackey for the second time in a month.
It looked to be a hitters night at the Friendly Confines. The weather was in the mid-80s with a strong wind blowing straight out. Conditions were ripe for homers and both teams took advantage. Zach Cozart kicked it off, hitting a solo-shot against Lackey in the top of the 1st.
The Cubs rallied back quickly in the bottom of the inning. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for recent call-up Jeimer Candelario. Candy Man ripped a single to score Kris Bryant and tie the game at one run. Willson Contreras doubled into the ivy to put the Cubs up 3-1.
Tucker Barnhart went deep to center to cut the lead to one in the 2nd. Kyle Schwarber was not to be outdone. He finally broke an 0-17 slump, pulverizing an Arroyo curve for a 462-foot homer to right in the bottom of the frame.
After the Reds reduced the lead to a run, Ian Happ continued his blistering start serving an opposite field homer to left in the 5th. A Bryant double and an impressive Happ bases loaded walk increased the Cubs lead to 7-3 in the 6th.
Those runs would prove valuable insurance for Chicago. In the 7th, Joey Votto took Koji Uehara deep to right for a two-run homer to make it a 7-5 game.
You didn’t think that would be the end of the homers did you? Addison Russell went to right center for a one-run home run in the bottom of the 7th to give the Cubs a little insurance.
In the bottom of the 8th inning baseballs continued to rain from the sky. Anthony Rizzo got in on the homer party with a solo poke to right field. Wade Davis, in a non-save situation, closed out the 9-5 Cubs win (box score).
Stats That Matter
- Taking into account the conditions, John Lackey had a very good day: 5.1 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 3 K, and 2 BB. With the Cubs offense finally getting in gear it was more than enough to win.
- Kyle Schwarber finally had a good day at the plate. He went 2-for-5, including that long home run. Could this be a turning point for War Bear? Here’s hoping.
- It was very good to see Kris Bryant back from his brief bout of pneumonia. He was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a walk. The Cubs lineup is just not the same without Bryant in there.
- Ian Happ continues to impress in his short stint in the Bigs. He drew a big walk that scored a run and finished 1-for-3, with two runs, two RBI and two walks. Obviously, home runs are good but the plate discipline, especially drawing a walk with the bases loaded, was great.
After a tough run lately, Tuesday’s win is a nice start to a key ten-game homestand that could help the Cubs pivot just enough to put a shiny new glow on this season. There’s a lot of good going on for the Cubs right now. The renewed energy that guys like Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario bring may be just what the doctor ordered to de-funk the season.
This could get real fun, real fast.
The Cubs and Reds meet for game two of the three-game series Wednesday night. Kyle Hendricks looks to build on recent success as he takes the hill for the Cubs at 7:05 CDT. The game will be televised on WGN, with 670 The Score with the radio broadcast.