Game-time temperature was 96 degrees, humidity was high and the wind was blowing out at 12 miles per hour. That helped out the Twins’ Joe Mauer, who came up with two out and two runners on base in the second inning and launched a high fly ball to left that would most likely have been an ordinary out on most days. Not on this day; it landed in the bleachers for a three-run homer off Mike Montgomery.
Mauer wound up going 3-for-5 and thus in the four career games he’s played at Wrigley, he’s 9-for-18 with a double and two home runs. Makes you wonder what might have happened if the Twins had passed on the hometown hero in the 2001 draft.
The Cubs loaded the bases off Jose Berrios in the bottom of the second, but Montgomery struck out.
Then the Cubs set about getting some help from the wind themselves. Albert Almora Jr. singled to lead off the third and that brought up Jason Heyward, who lofted a ball toward right field that looked like an ordinary out. Instead, it too wound up in the seats and the Cubs trailed 3-2.
Montgomery was victimized by his own error in the fourth; with one out and a runner on first, Ehire Adrianza attempted a bunt. Montgomery threw it away, and that put runners on second and third, where Mauer drove them both in to make it 5-2 Twins. Mauer hasn’t hit much this year. The home run was just his second and it was the sixth five-RBI game of his career.
The Cubs, though, took the lead in the fifth. A bloop single by Heyward, Ben Zobrist being hit by a pitch and a single by Anthony Rizzo loaded the bases for Addison Russell. Addy unloaded them in a hurry [VIDEO].
The grand slam made it 6-5 Cubs. Fun fact on the slam:
Addison Russell's 3 grand slams have all come vs AL Central— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 29, 2018
7/27/2016 - vs White Sox
11/1/2016 - vs Indians (Game 6 of World Series)
Today - vs Twins#Cubs
The Cubs thought they had another run in the inning when, with runners on second and third, Tommy La Stella bounced to first base. Kyle Schwarber was called out on the field, but it went to review [VIDEO].
I dunno. There are a couple of angles that make it look like Schwarber got to the plate just before the tag. But the review crew apparently didn’t think it was definitive, so it was ruled “call stands.”
After Randy Rosario threw a scoreless sixth, the Cubs extended the lead to 8-5 thanks to a two-run blast by Zobrist [VIDEO].
Zobrist’s sixth of the year made it 8-5 Cubs, and Schwarber made it 9-5 in the next inning [VIDEO].
(Parenthetical note: In the top of that inning, we had an all-Rosario matchup as Randy faced the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. Eddie walked, which brought Joe out to bring in Anthony Bass, who struck out the side.)
The Cubs plated one more in the eighth on an RBI single by Rizzo, and that brought in Justin Wilson for what everyone hoped was an easy ninth. It wasn’t. A leadoff single by Mauer started the inning, but Wilson induced a double-play ball. He couldn’t finish things, though, and a double, walk and single made it 10-6 and thus, a save situation for Brandon Morrow.
With the afternoon melting into early evening, I said to my group, “How about a one-pitch save?”
And that’s exactly what Morrow got, a fly ball to center on his first pitch to end it.
Just how hot was it at Wrigley Field? I’ve never seen this before on the center-field scoreboard:
The scoreboard operators took out some of the panels to get some ventilation going in a place that must feel like a blast furnace. More on the weather:
Today's game time tempertature of 96 is highest for a game at Wrigley Field since July 20, 2011 (97 degrees)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 30, 2018
It was so hot that much of the right-field side of the park had tons of empty seats most of the afternoon, despite a sellout of 41,429 announced. And by the seventh inning, with the Cubs having a big lead, Wrigley emptied out even further. Nice to have BCBer MN exile in the bleachers with us; he made the trip in from Minnesota. A lot of Twins fans did, too, along with a few people wearing Twins jerseys and Cubs caps, apparently confused about loyalties.
This was the one game in the series the Twins appeared to have a real shot at, with their best pitcher, Berrios, on the mound. Instead, this turned into Berrios’ worst outing of the year, and one of the Cubs’ best:
#Cubs - 12th game with 10+ runs this season. Leads Majors.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 30, 2018
The Cubs bats are coming alive just at the right time. The pitching matchups appear favorable for the rest of this series, and hopefully the bats keep going.
Saturday’s game goes back to the normal afternoon time of 1:20 p.m. CT. Tyler Chatwood goes for the Cubs and Adalberto Mejia, a Twins lefty who’s been in Triple-A all year, will make his first 2018 MLB start. TV coverage Saturday is via ABC7 Chicago.