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Cubs 8, Giants 2: Sweep!

The Cubs swept the Giants behind solid pitching from Jordan Wicks and a varied offense.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Before I begin this recap of the Cubs’ impressive 8-2 victory over the Giants that gave them a series sweep and four straight wins, a mea culpa.

I thought it was not wise to bring a rookie like Jordan Wicks into the pressure of a playoff race. Man, was I wrong. Wicks looks like the real deal, a top-notch talent and right now if I’m choosing? He’s in the postseason rotation.

Wicks threw six solid innings before running out of gas in the seventh and the Cubs swept this series with a varied, 11-hit attack that included a pair of home runs.

Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

Wicks got out of the first inning after a one-out single with Miguel Amaya throwing out Thairo Estrada trying to steal.

Then the Cubs offense got to work.

Nico Hoerner singled with one out and went to second on a single by Ian Happ. One out later, Dansby Swanson walked to load the bases.

Seiya Suzuki cleared them [VIDEO].

So Wicks had a 3-0 lead after just one inning of work in his first Wrigley Field start. He allowed a one-out double in the second and a leadoff double in the third. That runner, Paul DeJong (who was a noted Cub-killer in his time with the Cardinals), advanced to third on a fly ball and then this happened [VIDEO].

What an outstanding defensive play by Wicks, realizing where the ball hit him, picking it up and still making the play at the plate.

The Cubs put two more on the board in the bottom of the third. With one out, Happ doubled and Cody Bellinger doubled him in [VIDEO].

Swanson walked again, then one out later Nick Madrigal singled in Bellinger [VIDEO].

That was a tremendous piece of hitting by Madrigal, excellent bat control, staying with the ball and poking it over the infield for a hit.

So it’s 5-0 after three and Wicks continued his pattern of one hit per inning, without getting into trouble beyond that.

Miguel Amaya made it 6-0 leading off the fourth [VIDEO].

In the sixth, Mike Tauchman led off with a double and one out later was singled home by Christopher Morel [VIDEO].

Wicks ran out of gas in the seventh. Another ball bounced off him for a hit, and two more Giants hits and a sacrifice fly later it was 7-2. At 87 pitches (63 strikes) it was time for David Ross to come get Wicks, who departed to a warm ovation. Daniel Palencia finished the seventh without incident and threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

There was one more Cubs run in the interim: Bellinger’s 24th home run leading off the bottom of the seventh [VIDEO].

With an 8-2 lead going to the bottom of the eighth, it was time for a couple of MLB debuts. Alexander Canario was sent up to bat for Morel with two out and nobody on in the eighth. Canario got a loud ovation when he stepped into the batter’s box. He ran the count full before striking out.

And then it was Luke Little time. The 6-8 lefthander, who was the Cubs’ fourth round pick in the five-round abbreviated 2020 draft, had struck out 105 in 63⅔ innings at three levels of the Cubs system this year. He threw easy gas at 97, mostly fastballs, and allowed a one-out single after striking out the first MLB hitter he faced, J.D. Davis.

Then Little ended the game on this lovely slider, striking out DeJong [VIDEO].

And so, once again, I can present this graphic to you:

The future of the Cubs was in evidence on a beautiful afternoon at Wrigley Field and we should all be thrilled about that.

And never mind the future, the present is pretty good too. The Cubs reached 12 games over .500 with this win, and with the Brewers losing in Pittsburgh (thank you Pirates for taking two of three!), the Cubs move to within 1½ games of first place in the N.L. Central. At the time this recap posted, both the Phillies and Diamondbacks were winning their games, so the Cubs would remain 1½ games behind the Phillies for the first wild card spot and four games ahead of Arizona.

One more note about Wicks — have a look at what he was doing in the outfield at Wrigley during his warmups:

I think it’s great that Wicks has enough confidence in himself and is loose enough to do that and then go out and dominate the way he did in this game.

Even though the Cubs have played very well over the last couple of months, this is their first sweep of a three-game series since they swept the Pirates in Pittsburgh in June, just before the trip to London. This win makes it four in a row and they’ve pretty much buried the Giants’ playoff hopes. They’ll look to do the same to the Diamondbacks when a four-game series begins at Wrigley Field Thursday evening. Javier Assad will start for the Cubs. At the time of this recap, the D-Backs did not have a starter listed, though the last time they went through this rotation spot, Slade Cecconi was the pitcher. Game time Thursday is 6:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and MLB Network outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories).