CHICAGO -- John Lackey and Jered Weaver were former teammates on the Angels, and had met twice before, splitting those games. Lackey now has the edge and the Cubs have an eight-game winning streak, thanks to a high-powered offensive attack.Kris Bryant belted his 28th home run, a 414-foot shot that
CHICAGO -- John Lackey and Jered Weaver were former teammates on the Angels, and had met twice before, splitting those games. Lackey now has the edge and the Cubs have an eight-game winning streak, thanks to a high-powered offensive attack.
Kris Bryant belted his 28th home run, a 414-foot shot that landed on Waveland Avenue, and Willson Contreras added a solo shot in the Cubs' 5-1 Interleague victory Tuesday night over the Angels in front of 41,227 at Wrigley Field that sent Chicago to its 70th win, the quickest the Cubs have reached 70 wins since 1945, which was their last World Series appearance. The eight straight wins for the 70-41 Cubs matches their season high, also done May 2-10.
"Our confidence is high right now," said Chicago's Ben Zobrist, who added an RBI double in the fourth. "You have to try to keep it going as long as you can. We still have a lot of games to play yet, so we're not watching the scoreboard or anything like that. We're trying to come in and play good baseball. We've been doing a good job of that since the All-Star break, and we're going to try to continue that."
Lackey served up Kole Calhoun's 11th homer on the third pitch of the game, and gave up two more hits over eight innings for the win. Lackey admitted it was weird facing his former teammate.
"I root for him when he's not facing us," Lackey said of Weaver. "He's a good friend and I respect the way he's still competing and still getting after it with stuff that's less than it used to be. He's still grinding and still getting it done."
Weaver lasted just five innings, allowed all five Cubs runs (four earned), and committed an error that led to a run in the fifth.
"It's not an easy lineup to face," Weaver said. "They've got one of those lineups where you can't really breathe while you're out there. There's no leeway. So, I grinded and tried to make some outs, and some things didn't go my way there toward the end. It was just a grind."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In and out: With one out in the Chicago fifth, Dexter Fowler hit a popup near the seats along the third-base line. The Angels' Yunel Escobar tried to catch it, but two fans also reached for the ball. Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued with third-base umpire Stu Scheurwater that the fans interfered, and after the umps conferred, Fowler was called out.
"At first they said the fan never even [touched it], Escobar just dropped it," Scioscia said. "I think the official call on the field is sometimes important, before you go to replay, so once they did acknowledge fan interference, they weren't going to overturn it, because it was fan interference."
Bryant then crushed the first pitch from Weaver over the left-field bleachers and onto the street. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity was 106 mph.
Loving the road: Calhoun's 2-for-4 performance was a continuation of a season-long trend. Calhoun is hitting .327 on the road, as compared to just .222 at Angel Stadium. Calhoun's home run was his 68th run scored and he came into the game ranked third in among American League right fielders in that category.
"Kole's been hitting the ball hard everywhere," Scioscia said. "I don't know if there's a guy that's had quite the exit velocities he's had in the last month with so little to show for it. He's swinging the bat much better than his average shows, and it was good to see him drive the ball tonight."
Getting in gear: The Cubs tied the score at 1 on Contreras' leadoff homer in the third, then rattled off three straight hits in the fourth, including back-to-back doubles by Anthony Rizzo and Zobrist to go ahead, 2-1. Zobrist eventually scored on Addison Russell's sacrifice fly. Russell now has 16 RBIs since the All-Star break, second on the team to Rizzo, who has 17.
Home run woes: Weaver, who hasn't won since July 17, served up two home runs for the second time in his past three starts. Weaver contributed to the second run of the fifth inning by dropping a throw from Albert Pujols at first for what could've been the third out, allowing Rizzo to score from second on the error.
"I don't think he pitched as poorly as his line is going to go down," Scioscia said. "We let some things get away from us a little bit, but just a couple mistakes he made, those guys hit them out."
Cubs reliever Héctor Rondón was not available Tuesday because of a sore right triceps. Manager Joe Maddon said the injury wasn't serious, and that they would know more about Rondon's status on Wednesday.
Ji-Man Choi hit a ground ball up the middle with one out in the Angels' fifth that Russell stopped with a diving effort in shallow center field. Russell's throw to first was initially ruled to have beaten Choi to first, but the Angels challenged it. After a review, Choi was ruled safe.
Angels: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will make his second start with the Angels, who acquired him Aug. 1 in a trade with the Twins. Nolasco's debut with the Angels was against the A's, and he allowed five earned runs in six innings for a no-decision. Nolasco is 7-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 11 career games (10 starts) against the Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.
Cubs:Jason Hammel will start Wednesday and close this brief Interleague set. Hammel is 6-1 with a 2.24 ERA at Wrigley Field. He was activated from the bereavement list on Tuesday, and was pushed back one day. First pitch will be 7:05 p.m. CT.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Angels on Tuesday.