The Cubs offense again struck early against a reeling White Sox team at rainy Wrigley Field Saturday. The victim this time was James Shields, who the home team jumped on for five runs in the first two innings. Jon Lester was good but far from great in five-plus innings of work.
Willson Contreras continued his hot hitting to add on some insurance runs to make it 8-1 Cubs in the 7th inning. Those runs would be important as the Sox staged a late rally of off Carl Edwards jr. to cut the deficit to four runs. Things got a little too interesting in the 9th, but Brandon Morrow retired Jose Abreu with the bases loaded to secure the 8-4 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs jumped all over Shields out of the gate to build a healthy lead, which was able to withstand the Sox rally thanks to some additional offense late in the game.
With two on and nobody out in the 1st inning, Anthony Rizzo hit a home run to center field against James Shields. The three-run bomb gave the Cubs an early lead.
Stats That Matter
- Lester was very good early and battled through some late baserunners: 5.2 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 5 K, and 3 BB. He had perhaps his best curveball of the season working in this one.
- Contreras has been a one-man wrecking crew the last three games. A homer, two singles and three RBI Saturday gives him 26 total bases over those games.
- David Bote had two hits and a walk playing second base. Bote has the kind of plate approach that could make him a successful major league hitter.
- Justin Wilson had another scoreless outing and is starting to build back Joe Maddon’s trust.
The Cubs offense looks completely different than it did just a week ago. They have scored more than five runs in four of the last five games played are are finally resembling the juggernaut offense most expected before the season.
The Cubs look to sweep the South Siders Sunday afternoon at 1:20 pm CT when Kyle Hendricks faces off against the struggling Lucas Giolito. The game is on WGN and MLB Network (out of market).