The Cubs had gotten to four games over .500 with their previous win in Pittsburgh, but couldn’t get over that hump, losing two in a row before winning this Saturday afternoon game in Boston. Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero all homered. The Cubs were 13-10 after this win and led the N.L. Central by one game.
For a time Saturday afternoon, it looked like this one was going to be the same story as the previous two: give the other guy an early lead, fight back but fall just short.
The rally was nicely done. With the Cubs trailing 4-3, Miguel Montero led off the seventh inning with a home run, tying the game [VIDEO].
Up to that time the Cubs had led for just a half inning since they got to Boston, on Kris Bryant’s first-inning homer Friday night.
One out after Montero’s homer, Jon Jay doubled. Jay has had a terrific April and was certainly a solid pickup by Theo & Co. After a Red Sox pitching change, Kyle Schwarber (who had been frustrated by lefthanded pitching and Steven Wright’s knuckleball) dumped a little single into center field, scoring Jay and giving the Cubs the lead. Bryant walked, and then this happened:
Almost got what’s colloquially known as a “Little League home run” there, but Rizzo was stranded at third.
Koji Uehara, who was a key contributor to the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series title, threw a 1-2-3 seventh, and was pretty happy about that:
#Cubs Uehara celebrates his 1-2-3 7th with exuberant high fives in the dugout. Red Sox fans have seen that before— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 29, 2017
Hector Rondon threw a scoreless eighth, helped out by a 3-6-3 double play. Ben Zobrist extended the lead to 7-4 with a solo homer to the Green Monster in the top of the ninth.
Wade Davis allowed a weird little swinging-bunt single that probably would have been an out if he’d just let it go by him and allow Bryant to field it. That was the first hit he’d allowed to a right-handed batter this year (0-for-11 before that). But he retired the next three hitters, ending it on a strikeout (sixth save) and Davis has still not allowed a run this year in 10⅓ innings.
Before all that, the Cubs and John Lackey had spotted the Red Sox a 3-0 lead before Rizzo hit a two-run homer, his fifth on this road trip (and sixth of the year) [VIDEO].
The Red Sox extended the lead to 4-2 on a home run by Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi is a really impressive player, and who I know the Cubs had their eye on and might have drafted had he been available when their No. 9 pick came on the board in the 2015 draft. Benintendi is one of only four players from the 2015 first round who has played in the major leagues to this date (Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman and Carson Fulmer are the others.) Looks like the Cubs got a keeper with that first-round pick anyway with Ian Happ.
For Lackey’s part, he was not happy with the umpiring in that inning (is he ever happy with umpiring?):
“Phooey*” yelled John Lackey as the inning ended. He allowed a Benintendi HR then got three quick outs.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 29, 2017
* Did not really say phooey
The Cubs got that run back in the sixth. Bryant doubled, went to third on a fly ball, and scored on an infield out.
Lackey at least got through the first inning unscathed, and he did wind up throwing six innings, allowing four runs. He’s gone six innings in all five of his starts this year. Fun fact!
This is 5th straight start #Cubs Lackey has gone at least 6 IP. It's 2nd time in his career he's opened a season like that (also 2008)— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 29, 2017
If Lackey could match his 2008 season this year (12-5, 3.75 ERA, 1.231 WHIP, 3.5 bWAR) I think we’d all be pretty happy.
The Cubs clinched a winning road trip with this one, and have a chance to win another series on the road Sunday evening. They’ll have national attention on the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs and Eduardo Rodriguez goes for the Red Sox.