On a warm, humid evening at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing straight out to center field, the Giants smacked four home runs off Cubs pitching.
Fortunately, the Cubs had a more varied offense which included multiple-run homers by Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel as well as 13 other hits, with most of the runs scoring in two multi-run innings. The Cubs held on at the end to defeat the Giants 11-8.
LaMonte Wade Jr. hit Kyle Hendricks’ first pitch out of the yard for a home run. “Uh-oh,” was the thought, and the Giants scored single runs in the second and third, including another home run, that one by Mike Yastrzemski.
So San Francisco had a 3-0 lead by the bottom of the third, but that’s when Cubs bats got to work.
Nico Hoerner led off with a single and one out later, Cody Bellinger also singled, with Nico taking second.
Seiya Suzuki singled to load the bases and Jeimer Candelario walked to make it 3-2 [VIDEO].
You can hear how loud things were getting in that clip. In both games of this series so far, the crowds have really been into the game. It’s great to see.
After that walk, Yan Gomes doubled to give the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].
Hendricks went through the fourth and fifth without incident, helped out by this nice play by Hoerner [VIDEO].
Hendricks got in trouble in the sixth with a pair of doubles leading off the inning that tied the game again 4-4. After he struck out Blake Sabol — for the third time — David Ross lifted Hendricks after just 83 pitches. I’m not quite sure I understood that, unless Hendricks had said he was about done. True, he’d just given up two long extra-base hits, but... it got worse when the next Giants hitter, J.D. Davis, homered off Hayden Wesneski. The Giants now led 6-4.
All things considered, I thought Hendricks threw better than his final pitching line, especially on a night with the wind blowing out.
Drew Smyly was summoned to throw the seventh and here’s where the platoon advantage got taken to an extreme by both managers. Four of the first five Giants hitters due up were lefthanded. Thus, Smyly — except Smyly has reverse splits this year. Including this game, LHB have a .965 OPS against Smyly, RHB a .782 OPS.
So what does Gabe Kapler do? Yup, sends up two righthanded hitters. Both made outs. After Smyly walked Wilmer Flores, the lefthanded-hitting Joc Pederson singled. Then Kapler sent up another righthanded PH, Patrick Bailey. Smyly struck him out.
Do these managers actually read the numbers?
Anyway, the game was still 6-4 Giants heading to the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Swanson walked. Suzuki, who had two hits already, put one in the bleachers to tie the game 6-6 [VIDEO].
The ball bounced on the back concourse of the bleachers and wound up on Waveland.
Candelario hit a very high fly ball to left that Joc Pederson misjudged because of the wind. It dropped untouched for a double. Gomes singled, his third hit of the game, moving Candelario to third.
It’s a contact play and a good throw gets Candelario, but the ball bounced away and he was safe, giving the Cubs the lead.
Christopher Morel, the third hitter Ross had in the DH spot in this game, batted next. [VIDEO].
It was Morel’s 20th of the year — in just 89 games.
The Cubs now have a four-run lead, but nothing seemed safe in this one. Mark Leiter Jr. entered to throw the eighth and immediately gave up two hard hits, a double and single, to make it 10-7. After a ground out, Jose Cuas came into the game. He has begun to enter Ross’ circle of trust. He got one ground ball to short, but another similar grounder was booted by Swanson, a rare error for him. Cuas got pinch-hitter Casey Schmitt to fly to right to end the inning.
Cuas, who had major control and command issues when he first came to the Cubs, now has not walked a batter in his last five outings covering 4⅔ innings. In those five games he has faced 16 batters and retired 15 of them, allowing just a single.
The Cubs put one more on the board in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Swanson singled and took second on an error. That base advance was important, because Suzuki singled him in with his fourth hit of the game [VIDEO].
That’s the second four-hit game for Suzuki this year and third of his MLB career. He’s started September on fire, with a six-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .440/.482/.960 (11-for-25) with four doubles and three home runs.
Nothing’s ever easy, of course. With a four-run lead Julian Merryweather entered to close things out, and he immediately made it a three-run lead by serving up a home run ball to Flores. A walk followed, then a strikeout, then this [VIDEO].
The double play gave the Cubs their third straight win and put them at a season-high 11 games over .500. It also clinched the season series over the Giants, in case that tiebreaker comes into play — which it might not, as the Giants are now five games behind the Cubs and have lost five straight.
Historical note: The Cubs have now scored 10 or more runs 22 times this year. That’s the most for any Cubs team since 1935, when they did it 24 times. They’ve now scored 708 runs this year, the team’s most since 2019 (814). That’s 5.09 runs per game, a pace for 825, which would be the most for a Cubs team since 2008 (855).
Other teams the Cubs are chasing/ahead of in the postseason races:
- The Brewers won, so the Cubs remain 2½ games behind them in the N.L. Central.
- The Phillies lost, so the Cubs moved to within 1½ games of them for the top wild card spot.
- The Reds won. The Cubs continue to lead them by three games as Cincinnati moves into the third wild-card spot.
- The Marlins won and trail the Reds by half a game and the Cubs by 3½ games.
- The Diamondbacks lost and trail the Cubs by four full games.
The Cubs will go for a three-game sweep of the Giants Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Jordan Wicks will get the start for the Cubs and Alex Wood goes for the Giants. Game time is 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.