The Cubs offense looked dormant heading into a showdown with baseball’s hottest pitcher, Lucas Giolito, at rainy Wrigley Wednesday. So of course the North Siders tagged the Cy Young candidate for three homers and six runs.
Leury García greeted Jon Lester with a homer to make it 1-0 White Sox after one pitch. The Cubs did not stay down for long against Giolito, though, as Kyle Schwarber doubled while Anthony Rizzo and Javy Báez walked to load the bases with one down. Willson Contreras promptly unloaded them with a line-drive grand slam to left to give the home team a 4-1 lead after an inning.
Contreras hit a more majestic solo bomb in the the 3rd inning to increase the lead to 5-1. The South Siders rallied back in the top of the 4th when James McCann homered and Yoan Moncada doubled to cut the advantage to 5-3.
A David Bote homer in the bottom of the inning got one of those runs back and Lester battled into the 6th before being lifted. Kyle Ryan, Brad Brach, and Mike Montgomery made it through the next two innings with no damage.
Schwarber doubled off of José Ruiz in the 8th inning to score Addison Russell, then Steve Cishek took over in the 9th and closed out the 7-3 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs jumped all over the White Sox ace in the opening inning. After failing to score over three runs the last five games, four in the 1st felt like 50.
Being down 1-0 to a pitcher as good as Giolito could have been a downer, but the suddenly red-hot Contreras took advantage of righty’s early struggles.
Stats That Matter
- Lester didn’t have his best stuff, but battled and gave his team a chance to win: 5.2 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 6 K, 1 BB.
- Contreras has two hits in each of his last three games. They could really use him going on a tear with the inconsistent offense of late.
- Schwarber had two more extra-base knocks as he continues a more aggressive plate approach of late.
Believe it or not, despite the less-than-stellar run of play recently, the Cubs are back in first place. Not bad for being on a 3-6 stretch.
The Cubs welcome the Mets to Chicago for four-games starting Thursday at 7:05pm CT. Tyler Chatwood takes on Walker Lockett, who is making his MLB debut, in a game televised on WGN and MLB Network (out of market). Speaking of debuts, the Cubs are calling Adbert Alzolay up to back Chatwood and possibly shore up the rotation through Kyle Hendricks absence.