The Chicago Cubs seem to be on a roll. Tuesday night, they scored via the long ball but also with other timely hits, got great pitching and outstanding defense and won their fourth straight game, 7-3 over the White Sox.
After the first inning went by scoreless, the Cubs got to work in the second. Sox shortstop Tim Anderson tried to get fancy on a ground ball by Seiya Suzuki and wound up throwing it away.
Ready for one more Swanson home run? His 12th of the year made it 4-0 in the fourth [VIDEO].
The Cubs made it 5-0 in the top of the fifth. Nico Hoerner led off with a single and stole second. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Ian Happ, and Cody Bellinger scored Nico with this sacrifice fly [VIDEO].
That play was reviewed and ruled “call confirmed.” You can see in the video how Nico got his hand on the plate just before the tag.
While all this run-scoring was going on, Kyle Hendricks was mowing down White Sox hitters. He retired the first 12 Sox batters and only two balls left the infield. Then Eloy Jimenez doubled to left-center to lead off the fifth and scored on a pair of infield outs.
The Cubs extended the lead to 7-1 in the seventh. And the first run scored on another homer, this one by Hoerner [VIDEO].
Ian Happ then singled and was called out trying to steal second as Bellinger struck out.
However, that call was reviewed and overturned:
Not sure why that’s “potentially sensitive,” but prior to that steal, BCB’s JohnW53 had sent me this fact:
Tonight’s game is the second, among 19,119 that the Cubs have played since 1901, in which they hit at least four home runs and stole at least four bases. The first was . . . on April 14 of this year, when they had five homers and four steals in an 8-2 win over the Dodgers at Los Angeles.
With Happ’s steal, the Cubs’ fifth of the game, this became the FIRST in Cubs history in the Modern Era where they had at least four home runs and five stolen bases.
Suzuki then struck out, but Swanson followed with his third hit of the game, an RBI single [VIDEO].
Hendricks ran out of gas in the seventh. The first two hitters reached via hits, a single and double, and then Hendricks walked Jimenez, his only walk of the game, to load the bases with nobody out.
That’s when Suzuki made what has to be the Cubs catch of the year, to date [VIDEO].
Suzuki stole a grand slam from Yoan Moncada. One run did score, but that would have made things uncomfortably close at 7-5. Instead it was just 7-2. Props to Suzuki for timing that leap perfectly.
The other two runners also advanced, and then a weird little infield hit that blooped in between Hendricks and Bellinger scored another Sox run. I don’t usually post run-scoring highlights from the Cubs opponent, but this ball had such a weird trajectory it’s worth a look [VIDEO].
That was it for Hendricks, who had a pretty good outing overall against a team he usually doesn’t match up well with. Mark Leiter Jr. entered and finished off the seventh without further incident.
The Cubs didn’t score in the eighth or ninth. Leiter recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the eighth, then was replaced by Michael Fulmer, who struck out Anderson to end the inning.
Fulmer was sent out to finish things in the ninth but... well, that didn’t happen, He put the first two Sox on base via walk and hit, and so Adbert Alzolay had to come in to clean up the mess, and did so by striking out all three hitters he faced.
Just absolutely filthy movement on that slider, and Adbert hits double digits in saves with his 10th. Here’s more on the movement Alzolay gets:
Adbert Alzolay, 84mph Slider (ball) and 96mph Back Door Two Seamer (backwards K), Individual Pitches + Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 26, 2023
Why you'd take a Back Door Two Seamer. pic.twitter.com/NaKzOoNLU8
If the Cubs do make the postseason this year, we might look back at this game as one of the key moments, for the offensive explosion and Suzuki’s grand slam robbery. The Cubs now stand six games out of first place in the N.L. Central and five games behind the last wild card spot. If they stay no further back, or move up a game or two, before the trade deadline I believe Jed Hoyer & Co. will at least stand pat and not sell off, and possibly try to add a complementary piece or two. Repeat after me: “As always, we await developments.”
The Cubs will go for the sweep of the brief two-game set on the South Side Wednesday evening. Marcus Stroman will take the mound for the Cubs and Lance Lynn will start for the White Sox. Game time is again 7:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and NBC Sports Chicago with the Sox announcers).