It looked as if the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs were going to play home run derby at Wrigley Field, as the first six runs of the game were scored via the long ball. However, with the score tied at 3-3, the Cubs played small ball, scoring via a soft single and sac fly en route to a 5-3 win.
Nicholas Castellanos and Anthony Rizzo went yard in the bottom of the 1st inning, each hitting solo shots to gift Cubs’ starter Cole Hamels with an early 2-0 lead. Hamels, though, gave the runs right back to the Giants in the top of the 2nd. After issuing a free pass to Evan Longoria, Hamels coughed up a long one to Austin Slater. Just like that, 2-0 lead evaporated to 2-2.
Thankfully, Hamels didn’t wait too long for more help, as Rizzo took Giant’s starter Tyler Beede deep again in the bottom of the 3rd. Andddd you guessed it– Hamels gave it right back to the Giants when Kevin Pilar hit a 403 foot no-doubter to left field in the top of the 4th to tie things up at 3-3.
The Cubs then went old school for the win. Rizzo singled to start the bottom of the 5th, Javy Báez promptly forced him out with a fielder’s choice, and after Kyle Schwarber that sent Báez to second base, Jonathan Lucroy hit a liner off Brandon Belt‘s glove to gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
The Cubs tacked on one more insurance run in the bottom of the 7th when Rizzo walked, Schwarber doubled to left, and Tony Kemp hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Scoreless relief from Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick, and closer Craig Kimbrel secured the Cubs 5-3 win (Box Score).
Why the Cubs Won
After the Cubs hit early homers, they tacked on their fourth and fifth run via a single and a sac fly — the old school way. Cole Hamels gave the Cubs six solid innings and the good part of the bullpen was excellent again.
After two Rizzo bombs early, the game winner comes in the form of an opposite field single from the Cubs’ newly acquired backstop, Lucroy, who smacked a fastball off Brandon Belt’s glove with the score knotted at 3-3, scoring Báez from second base.
Stats That Matter
- Big Energy Nick continues to make the most of his time above water with the Cubs. He went 3-for-5 with a bomb in the first and two singles.
- Anthony Rizzo looked like he was on his way to a three bomb game with home runs in his first two at bats in the 1st and 3rd innings. Instead, he settled for two home runs, a single, a walk, and three runs scored.
- Schwarber continued his patient and opposite field approach, and it’s paying dividends. He walked twice, doubled the other way, and swung (unfortunately) at ball four in his only other plate appearance. He’s working some nice at bats and continuing to look to shoot balls the other way.
- Hamels settled down after giving up two bombs early, working six innings while giving up only five hits and three runs. Certainly better than what happened in Philly.
- Craig Kimbrel worked a perfectly clean 1-2-3 inning in the 9th for his 10th save. Hitting 98 mph consistently sure looked good too.
The Cubs do what the Cubs do at home: win. It’s seriously all they do at home, as evidenced by their 42-19 record at Wrigley. They won their third game in a row and look to be gaining a bit of momentum as they continue to get back vital pieces of the bullpen while simultaneously winning games.
The Cubs continue their much-needed homestand with another game against the visiting Giants. Yu Darvish will get the ball for the Cubs and Dereck Rodriguez for the Giants on Wednesday. Game time is 7:05 CT and it will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago. 670 The Score will have the game on the airwaves.