The Cubs and Diamondbacks faced off for the second night in a row in Arizona, and found themselves 9-1 winners!
After yesterday's 5-1 win in which the Cubs got an amazing start by Kyle Hendricks and two, two-run homers - one each by Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, they did much of the same today, and then some.
The Cubs wasted absolutely no time, scoring twice in the top of the 1st inning. It all started with a single by Daniel Murphy to leadoff the game. Kris Bryant then struck out to bring up Anthony Rizzo with one out and one on. Rizzo lined out, but not before taking SEVENTEEN, yes 17 pitches in the at-bat which undoubtedly helped give Javier Baez a good look at Matt Andriese and his pitches. It helped so much so, that Baez took a 2-0 count and launched it into the seats for a two-run homer! Javy, whose name has been thrown around a ton in the National League MVP race continues to make his case. Two, two-run homers over the span of two games is pretty impressive, especially when that now means that he has 33 home runs and 105 RBI.
The Cubs came out roaring in the 2nd inning, this time scoring three runs in the frame. Jason Heyward hit his 22nd double of the year with one out in that inning. Next up came Cubs started Mike Montgomery who struck out to bring up Ian Happ. Ian brought Jason Heyward home with a double, and that put the Cubs up 3-0. However that didn't last long as Daniel Murphy was up next and made that a 5-0 lead with a two-run homer of his own. Murphy, who had been struggling at the plate was playing on a few days rest, and maybe it was just what he needed to break out. He had two hits and two RBI today, but also drew a walk and scored three times.
In the bottom of the inning, the Diamondbacks tried to chip away at the lead. They were able to scratch out one run on a solo-shot by their second baseman Ketel Marte, his 12th of the season.
Then in the 5th, the Cubs tallied on four more to give themselves a little bit more insurance that they wouldn't end up needing. Two of those runs came on a single by Anthony Rizzo, one on a groundout by Willson Contreras, and the other on a sacrifice fly by Albert Almora.
That was how the scoring went for the Cubs, but that may not even be the most impressive part of it all! Let's talk about Cubs pitching, especially starter Mike Montgomery who went six innings, giving up just one run on four hits. The four hits were all scattered over four different innings which didn't give Arizona many chances to score. To go along with that, Montgomery only walked one and struck out eight - a new career high. Alec Mills handled the 7th and 8th innings and went two flawless innings with three strikeouts. Brandon Kintzler came in to shut the door with a flawless inning of his own to secure the 9-1 win.
Tomorrow is the Cubs' final game in a 29 game stretch without a break. During this grueling stretch, the Cubs are 18-10 which is impressive. Despite multiple time zones, and having to fly back to Washington for one day to play a makeup game against the Nationals, the Cubs have battled it out. Sure, some of the losses have been extremely frustrating, and some of those should have been wins...BUT to play such a demanding and exhausting stretch with no breaks, and to finish well over .500 in it is something to celebrate.
The Cubs look to complete the sweep tomorrow with Cole Hamels on the mound. Hamels has been excellent since coming over to the Chicago and is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in nine starts. Some more good news is that the Brewers suffered a loss tonight at the hands of the Reds! With their loss and the Cubs' win, the Cubs increase their divisional lead to 3.5 games, and the magic number drops to eight. It's so exciting to believe that we may clinch at some point next week! Although Milwaukee still holds the top wild card spot and may very well be in the playoffs, the Cubs' main focus right now is winning the division and crossing that bridge when they get to it.
Tomorrow's start is going to be at 8:40 CT on NBC Sports Chicago. Let's hope the boys can end this stretch with a sweep!
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