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Cubs 10, Athletics 1: Patrick Wisdom’s two homers lead a blowout

The Cubs smashed hits all over Oakland Monday night.

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

OAKLAND — I feel sorry for A’s fans, really I do. Ownership has torn down the roster so that it’s barely recognizable and former Cub Tony Kemp batted fifth Monday night. Think about that for a minute. Tony Kemp has a .358 career slugging percentage. That would be roughly comparable to the Cubs batting Nick Madrigal (.356 career SLG) fifth.

Then they’ve jacked up ticket and parking prices so hardly anyone goes to the games and so they can use that as an excuse to say, “See? We need to move to Las Vegas!” Which they might.

Now, I don’t feel quite sorry enough for them that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the Cubs’ 10-1 thrashing of the A’s Monday in front of 4,714 at Oakland Coliseum, probably two-thirds of that “crowd” Cubs fans.

Think about that, too. The capacity of the Wrigley Field bleachers is about 5,500. Those 4,714 would comfortably fit there. The last announced crowd at Wrigley of 4,714 or fewer happened nearly 37 years ago, as a bad Cubs team was playing out the string, September 23, 1986 against the Montreal Expos. Just 4,684 paid at Wrigley that afternoon.

The A’s fans were happy for an inning. Hayden Wesneski gave up hits to the first two hitters he faced and an infield out scored a run.

That was it for Oakland, though. The Cubs tied the game in the top of the second on a long home run by Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO].

Did I say “long”? Here’s how long [VIDEO].

Here are some fun home run facts re: Wisdom, from BCB’s JohnW53:

Patrick Wisdom just became only the sixth Cub since 1901 to hit a home run in four straight games on the same road trip. Sammy Sosa did it twice, in 1995, at Colorado, and in 2000, at Arizona and Houston. He homered in four straight games at Colorado, the only Cub to achieve that feat in a single series.

Here are all 6 previous streaks of four games:

Bill Nicholson, July 21-23, 1944 (two games on 23rd, one HR at Boston, three at New York)
Dave Kingman, June 15-18, 1979 (three at San Diego, one at Los Angeles
Rick Wilkins, June 7-11, 1993 (three at New York, one at San Francisco)
Sammy Sosa, Aug. 17-20, 1995 (four at Colorado)
Sammy Sosa, Aug. 18-21, 2000 (three at Arizona, one at Houston)
Fred McGriff, Sept. 20-23, 2001 (one at Cincinnati, three at Houston)

The Cubs took the lead for good in the top of the third. Nico Hoerner walked and was singled to third by Dansby Swanson. One out later, Seiya Suzuki singled Hoerner in [VIDEO].

The Cubs blew the game open in the fourth, putting four on the board. With one out, Cody Bellinger doubled. Yan Gomes singled him in to make it 3-1 [VIDEO].

Nick Madrigal followed with a double to put Gomes on third, where he scored on this single by Nico [VIDEO].

Also on Nico’s single, Madrigal ran right through a stop sign and was out at the plate... by a lot [VIDEO].

You can’t see Willie Harris’ stop sign on the video, but I was sitting in the fifth row behind third base and ... yes, Harris definitely was telling Madrigal to stop at third.

Anyway, that didn’t stop the Cubs. Hoerner had taken second on the throw, then Dansby Swanson walked. Both runners moved up by stealing second and third, and Ian Happ’s single made it 6-1 [VIDEO].

That’s where it stayed until the eighth. Hoerner led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Swanson. Happ’s fly to left made it 7-1 [VIDEO].

Suzuki followed with a single, his third hit of the game, and after Trey Mancini struck out, Wisdom went deep again [VIDEO].

And yep, that one also went a long way [VIDEO].

Wisdom, who has a tendency to hit home runs in bunches, now has eight for the season — in just 15 games! — and is tied for the MLB lead with Pete Alonso, pretty good company.

More on Wisdom from BCB’s JohnW53:

Patrick Wisdom has a chance tonight to become the first Cub ever to hit home runs in five consecutive games of a road trip. That feat has been accomplished 22 times, from Jim Bottomley of the Cardinals in 1929 to Salvador Perez of the Royals in 2021. Nelson Cruz of the Mariners is the only player to do it twice, and he did it in the same season, 2015. In the first of those streaks, he homered in three games at Oakland, then three at Los Angeles against the Dodgers — the reverse of what Wisdom can achieve tonight. Players on 14 different teams have turned the trick. Famous names on the list include Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr., Harmon Killebrew and Ted Williams. Barry Bonds homered in six straight games of a trip in 2001: one at Miami, three at Atlanta and two at Arizona.The only previous player with a six-game streak was another Giant, High Pockets Kelly. In 1924, he homered in a series finale at St. Louis, in each of four games at Wrigley Field, then at Pittsburgh.

One more fun fact about Wisdom’s homers:

Walls hit 24 homers in 1958, Sauer 41 in 1954 and Hartnett 24 in 1925. Wisdom’s career high is 28, set in 2021 — I suspect he’ll get past that and hit at least 30.

While all this was going on — 20 hits, the most for the Cubs since they had 23 against the Reds last June 30 — Hayden Wesneski was putting together a really solid start. While he did allow hits to four of the first eight A’s batters he faced, after Conner Capel singled with one out in the second, Wesneski then retired 15 consecutive batters until a one-out single by Jesus Aguilar in the seventh. Best of all, after having walked six in his first six innings this year, Wesneski didn’t walk anyone Monday and struck out seven.

(Fun fact: Conner Capel’s dad, Mike Capel, pitched in 22 games for the Cubs in 1988.)

Here’s the breakdown of Wesneski’s outing [VIDEO]. He seemed particularly effective with his sweeper.

Brandon Hughes threw the eighth inning and allowed two hits, but got out of it with a double play. Julian Merryweather finished up with an uneventful ninth. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].

One last note on this blowout: Cody Bellinger registered the first five-hit game of his career, four singles and a double, and is now batting .310/.369/.517 (18-for-58) with three doubles and three home runs, and only nine strikeouts. Sure, it’s still a small sample size, but it’s an excellent start which I hope continues.

The Oakland Coliseum, which I visited last September, is more or less the same as it was then — a tired-looking concrete heap where few want to go. The A’s try to gussy it up with colorful banners and photos of team history when they used to win World Series, but that can’t hide the fact that this is a franchise in trouble. The team’s not much better than Triple-A quality, and as I said I do feel somewhat sorry for their fans, but not enough that I don’t want the Cubs to continue the thrashing for the next two nights. The A’s have a chance to be historically bad this year, and Kyle Muller, who started for them Monday, is probably the best of the three starters the Cubs will face.

Credit to the BART rapid transit system, though — the park is easy to get to.

I’ll head there again tonight, when Marcus Stroman will start for the Cubs against Ken Waldichuk for Oakland. Game time is again 8:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.