You could have written the recap before the night even began. The Cubs team combined to provide a relative stress free outing. Cole Hamels was not great, but he was able to gut his way through a quality start. The actual performance was not as pretty as the line, but it was a step in the right direction for the Cubs lefty. Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs lineup hit three home runs and scratched across a couple of manufactured runs to take the lead. The revamped bullpen allowed a single base hit over three scoreless frames. Things are looking up for the Northside nine. Now the Cardinals just need to lose once in a while.
Cole Hamels pitched a clean first inning to start the game. It was the first of many thrown by the veteran southpaw. The outing was far from perfect, but the lefty started to show the top of the rotation form. Tyler Beede ran into trouble early. He threw a fastball right over the heart of the plate for Nicholas Castellanos. Anthony Rizzo delivered a two out solo shot to double the Cubs lead. Javier Báez singled on a groundball through the left side. Kyle Schwarber walked but Jonathan Lucroy bounced into an inning ending fielder's choice.
Hamels walked Evan Longoria to start the second inning. Kevin Pillar popped out, but Austin Slater crushed a Hamels mistake to tie the game. Beede retired Tony Kemp and Hamels to start the bottom of the second inning. Jason Heyward drew a walk to extend the inning and Castellanos rolled a single through the left side before Bryant popped out to end the frame.
Hamels pitched a clean third inning. Rizzo hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the frame. Beede retired the next three Cubs, but the Rizzo blast made it a 3-2 Cubs lead. Kevin Pillar tied the game with one out in the fourth inning. Hamels wouldn't pitch another clean inning, but he kept the Giants off the board through the sixth inning.
The Cubs broke the tie in the fifth inning against Fernando Abad. Anthony Rizzo sprayed a single against the shift to lead off the inning, but he was switched out for Javy on a fielder's choice. Schwarber walked, and Lucroy delivered a run scoring single into right on a line. Kemp grounded an inning ending double play.
Kyle Ryan pitched the seventh inning and was allowed to pitch around a two out single allowed. Ryan's goose egg in the seventh gave the Cubs a chance against Andrew Suarez. Rizzo drew a leadoff walk. Schwarber doubled to put two in scoring position. Lucroy was put on intentionally, but Kemp drove a ball deep enough into left field to advance every runner 90 feet. Addison Russell hit a pinch hit ground out to end the inning with the Cubs up 5-3.
Rowan Wick blew through the heart of the Giants order. The Cubs couldn't add on in the eighth inning, but Craig Kimbrel looked dominant again. He struck out Stephen Vogt to start the frame. Two fly outs to Jason Heyward in center field ended the game. The Cubs aren't going to gain any ground, but the Cubs keep winning.
Anthony Rizzo is back. The power has come back with a two homer night, and a resurgent Rizzo has me thinking this about the Cubs offense at the moment.