Talk about a pitcher's duel!
The Cubs took on the Giants for the second straight night in San Francisco and it was another tight game. Fortunately the result was different than last night as the Cubs shutout the Giants 2-0. This victory marked the first time in 11 games that the Cubs did not trail, and thus, did not have to play catch up.
Both starting pitchers were sharp - Jose Quintana going six dominant and scoreless innings giving up only three hits. He also walked two men and struck out three. Derek Holland pitched well despite taking the loss. He went 6.1 innings giving up five hits, no walks, and struck out eight. Holland gave up one hit to Jason Heyward, one to Javier Baez, and two to David Bote, none of which resulted in runs. It wasn't until the 7th inning that his one-out double to Addison Russell would lead to him taking the loss.
With the game on the line, Giants manager Bruce Bochy decided to pull Holland and bring in Sam Dyson. That worked out well for the Cubs as a wild pitch by Sam Dyson, and a throwing error by Nick Hundley brought Russell home, putting the Cubs up 1-0. Next up was Kyle Schwarber who walked, but was then thrown out stealing second with Ian Happ batting. Happ drew the walk to bring up Victor Caratini, who split the gap with a double, bringing Happ FLYING around the bases and sliding into home safely. That put the Cubs up 2-0.
Carl Edwards Jr. entered the game for the Cubs in the 7th and pitched a beautiful inning in which he struck out the side. He faced Nick Hundley, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence respectively and got them all to strike out swinging. It was just a great show by Edwards who just recently came off of the disabled list. His presence was definitely missed and it is so good to have him back.
That was fun! Quintana notched his 8th win of the season, and the Cubs notched their 52nd as a team. Since joining the Cubs last year in a trade during the All-Star Break, Quintana has gone 15-9. He is one of only four National League left-handers to have at least 14 wins since last years's All-Star Break. He joins teammate Jon Lester, Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, and Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals. That's really good company to be among, if you ask me!
It was a great effort all around for the Cubs. Jose Quintana had a quality start, while Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Wilson, and Steve Cishek combined for three hitless innings. The Cubs did their job to get on base and score twice. Let's not forget about the defense that turned two double plays to back Quintana. If all of that wasn't enough, luck was on the Cubs' side as their winning run scored on a wild pitch and an error.
The Cubs are hot right now as they have won 10 of their last 13. In their last 43 games dating back to May 25, the Cubs have gone 27-16 which is good for the second-best winning percentage in the National League behind the Dodgers. Despite some very frustrating stretches in this first half, the Cubs are on a better track this season than they were last year. Last year, the Cubs took a 43-45 record into the break, but this year they already have 52 wins, with four games to go until the break. The Cubs game only reached 50 wins prior to the break seven times, the most recent being 53 wins in 2016.
But wait, there's more good news! On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that our very own Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber would take part in the home run derby during the All-Star Break! I know we are all dying to see that.
The Cubs still have work to do before the break as they will send Mike Montgomery to the mound tomorrow for the rubber game. The Cubs have their work cut out for them as they will be facing Johnny Cueto, and the Giants have not lost a series at home in their last 11. It'll be a 2:45 CT start on NBC Sports Chicago. The Cubs end the night still two gamed behind the Brewers, but if we stick to our winning ways, we will be in first, where we belong very soon!
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