So, maybe this is the start of another winning streak.
Coming off a four-game losing streak in which the Cubs bats fell silent, they hosted the Guardians at Wrigley Field Friday afternoon and got a varied offense which included — and yes I saw this with my own eyes so it must have happened — a home run by Nick Madrigal.
No, really. (Seriously, I’m happy for Madrigal.)
That, and 12 other hits, helped rout the Guardians out of the game, which the Cubs won 10-1.
The teams matched zeroes for the first two innings and Justin Steele retired nine straight after allowing the first two Cleveland hitters of the game to reach on a HBP and his own throwing error.
Then the Cubs got to work in the bottom of the third. Jared Young singled with one out and advanced to second on a single by Madrigal. Mike Tauchman walked to load the bases, and Nico Hoerner gave the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
Steele threw another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, and then the Cubs blew the game open in the bottom of the inning. Cody Bellinger led off with a single and Yan Gomes singled him to second.
That’s two triples in three games and nine at-bats for Young since he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. He’s now tied with Ian Happ and Dansby Swanson for second on the Cubs in triples for the season. Hoerner leads the team with three.
The Cubs weren’t done, either. After Madrigal flied to left, too shallow to score Young, Tauchman brought him home [VIDEO].
That was it for Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill, but reliever Xzavion Curry allowed a single to Hoerner, which moved Tauchman to third, where he scored on this sac fly by Christopher Morel [VIDEO].
That was a nice grab by Guardians left fielder David Fry, but it made the score 6-0 Cubs.
Any thought of a no-hitter by Steele left in the fifth, when he allowed two hits. But Steele allowed no runs and three hits through six innings, before he was lifted with one out in the seventh.
In the meantime, the Cubs had another big inning in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Madrigal blasted the aforementioned home run [VIDEO].
Good for him and good for the Cubs. Madrigal has started hitting the way he did for the White Sox and seems capable at third base. That was his first Cubs home run and third of his MLB career. That rates a “This ball was crushed!” [VIDEO].
One out later, Hoerner was hit by a pitch and Morel made it 9-0 Cubs with this home run [VIDEO].
Michael Fulmer got out of the top of the seventh after Steele was removed with a double-play ball, and the Cubs put one more on the board in the bottom of the inning. Dansby Swanson led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Bellinger.
Anthony Kay replaced Fulmer after two out and a double in the eighth. He walked a pair, but eventually got out of the inning with a ground out. Will Brennan homered for Cleveland off Michael Rucker in the ninth to spoil the shutout bid, but Rucker ended the game with this strikeout [VIDEO].
The complaint department is definitely closed after this win. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit, and Happ, the only starter without a hit, did reach base on a walk. Three Cubs (Hoerner, Young, Madrigal) had multi-hit games and it wasn’t just home runs scoring the runs, either. Well done, offense, and also another fine outing from Steele, who might make the All-Star team along with Marcus Stroman. Here’s a breakdown of Steele’s start [VIDEO].
This was only one win, but we have seen this Cubs team go on a roll. They still play in a weak division — just ask the Guardians about that, they were under .500 last year as late as July 13 (43-44), yet won the A.L. Central with 92 wins. Not saying the Cubs can necessarily get to 92 wins, but this is a better team than 38-42 and now is the time they’ll need to go on another little run like they had a couple of weeks ago. Even with the recent losing streak, the Cubs end June on a high note and went 14-11 for the month.
Stroman will get the start for the Cubs Saturday evening at Wrigley Field — weather permitting. Tanner Bibee will start for the Guardians. Game time is 6:15 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Fox-TV (regional — coverage map). A reminder that if you subscribe to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you can watch this game even if it’s not on the Fox affiliate in your market.