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Cubs 10, Indians 3: More Kyle Schwarber fun in Cleveland

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The stakes weren’t as high as the last time, but the Cubs won again.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It rained in Cleveland Tuesday night during the baseball game, something the Cubs have extremely fond memories of.

It was a lot colder than it was on November 2, 2016, but that didn’t stop the Cubs bats. They slammed four home runs in a 10-3 blowout of the Indians, and in so doing went to two games over .500 (11-9) for the first time in this young season. For whatever it’s worth, the Cubs’ +31 run differential would translate to a 13-7 record using the usual Pythagorean formula.

Kyle Schwarber, the Ohio native who loves hitting in his home state, got the fun going in the second inning:

I often write “That ball: Crushed!” for well-struck home runs, but that ball was crushed harder than most:

A double by Addison Russell and single by Ian Happ made it 2-0 in later in that inning.

Willson Contreras hadn’t hit a home run in the Cubs’ first 19 games. In the third, he remedied that:

Tyler Chatwood was having trouble with walks again. He walked one in each of the first three innings, and in the third, Rajai Davis walked after a Bradley Zimmer single. Francisco Lindor moved the runners up with a bunt, and a ground out by Jason Kipnis made it 3-1. That brought up Jose Ramirez (with Pat Hughes’ radio call):

The Indians challenged that “out” call, and it was ruled “call stands.” It was really, really hard to tell on the multiple replay angles that were shown; if the call on the field had been “safe,” it probably would have also been ruled “call stands.” This turned out to be a fairly important call, even in the blowout. If Davis had been safe, it would have been 3-2 Cubs and Ramirez probably would have been on second with two out. Instead, the inning was over and the score remained 3-1.

The Cubs continued their home-run fun in the fourth. Schwarber led off the inning:

Schwarber’s homer, his second of the game and sixth of the season, led to this fun fact:

Two outs later, it was Ian Happ’s turn:

If that location reminded you of something...

You can watch that, of course, because the Cubs eventually won. But Happ’s blast Tuesday night landed in almost exactly the same spot. In Game 7, there was a TV camera situated there, and the ball bounced off the camera and back onto the field. Tuesday night, a lot fewer people were in Progressive Field and the stakes weren’t as high, but Happ’s homer, his fourth, made it 5-1 Cubs.

Eight Cubs batted in the seventh, and RBI singles from Albert Almora and Tommy La Stella and a groundout by N.L. RBI leader Javier Baez made it 8-1. The final two Cubs runs scored in the ninth. Anthony Rizzo, who had a two-hit night, drove in one with a single, and a TLS single scored the other run. In all, the Cubs had a 15-hit game, with Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber and Jason Heyward (still hitting well!) all having two hits and Happ leading the way with three.

Chatwood still had trouble with walks, issuing five in all. But he worked his way out of jams and left after a leadoff single in the seventh having allowed just one run. He’s still got to work on the walks, but this outing was a success. About those walks:

Steve Cishek threw a scoreless seventh. Justin Wilson took the eighth, didn’t walk anyone, but allowed two hits and a run. Harmless in a blowout, I suppose, but he’s going to have to do better than that to get more high-leverage innings. Luke Farrell allowed the Indians’ final run in the ninth, unearned thanks in part to an error by Happ.

Satisfying, but in the end, just one of 162 games and one of hopefully 95 or more victories this season. The attendance was noted as 16,408, but in the chilly, rainy conditions it looked like less than half that actually in the ballpark.

The weather is expected to be nicer (though still a bit chilly) as the Cubs go for a sweep of this brief two-game series Wednesday evening. Jon Lester goes for the Cubs and Trevor Bauer for the Tribe. Game time is 6:10 p.m. CT (an hour later than Tuesday’s game) and TV coverage is via NBC Sports Chicago.

Speaking of TV coverage, WGN’s scorebox was even worse Tuesday night than in their previous game. Cut off at the top of my screen, I couldn’t really see it at all:

The black bar you see at the top of that photo is the frame of my TV, an 11-year-old Samsung. That’s how it looked for the entire game.

I had a Twitter exchange with @WGNTV in an attempt to fix this — they were nice about it, but the issue really is that it’s situated too high for some older TVs, where you can’t change the TV’s settings to make any difference. I also had a cordial exchange with @ComcastCares as they tried to help me change my box’s settings, but no matter whether I set it to 1080i or 720p, the same thing happened. Please, WGN-TV, fix your scorebox. You’ve got time before your next Cubs broadcast, which won’t be until May 9.