Russell's go-ahead slam leads Cubs' HR party

Heyward, Zobrist hit 2-run shots; Schwarber launches 422-footer

June 29th, 2018

CHICAGO -- wasted no time when he stepped in with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. The Cubs' shortstop swung at the first pitch from and lifted it just over the left-field wall for his second career grand slam to give Chicago the lead in its 10-6 win over the Twins on Friday at Wrigley Field.
The grand slam was the big blow in a game that saw four Cubs home runs. and each hit two-run homers, and clobbered a 422-foot solo shot, according to Statcast™.
"I figured I got it pretty good, but I thought I hit it a little bit too high," Russell said of the grand slam, which was the Cubs' fourth of the season. "I'm happy that it's summertime in Chicago now, because balls are flying."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Russell nearly did hit it too high. The home run had a 4 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™, with a 99.3-mph exit velocity and a 45-degree launch angle, which is tied for the highest of any Cubs homer since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015.
The grand-slam ball seemed destined for left fielder 's glove, but it kept carrying, perhaps aided by the wind blowing out.
"Today, if the wind was blowing straight in from the lake, it's a different ballgame," manager Joe Maddon said. "And that's what it's been most of the season. When people talk about lack of power, it's barometric conditions. It's this fog blowing in off the lake -- it's the London fog coming in -- you can't hit homers into it.
"Our home run total would be at least 15-20 higher had the wind just been in a neutral situation."

It was Russell's fifth home run of the year and his second in as many games, which bodes well for the Cubs considering the shortstop's relative lack of power through the first few months of the season. He hit 21 homers in 2016 and 13 in fewer than 400 plate appearances last year. It was the third time this season the Cubs have hit four home runs in a game.
Cubs starter Mike Montgomery allowed five runs in the game, all of which came off the bat of first baseman Joe Mauer and with two outs. Mauer hit a three-run homer in the second inning and a two-run double in the fourth.
It was the second time in as many starts that Montgomery allowed at least four runs. He had given up a total of four runs in his first five starts this season. recorded the final out in the ninth for his 17th save after lefty allowed a run to score on three hits and a walk.

The heat index at first pitch was 106 degrees, conditions that made it tough on Montgomery to find his groove.
Montgomery's final pitch of the game turned out to be his most important. Leading, 5-2, the Twins loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning. worked the count full before Montgomery got him to pop out to Zobrist at second and end the inning.
"Those guys really picked me up today," Montgomery said of the Cubs' offense. "It wasn't the easiest day to pitch. For me, it was just keep it close and give our team a chance. It worked out."

Russell is the first shortstop in Cubs history to record four RBIs in back-to-back games. He also drove in four runs in their 11-5 win over the Dodgers on Thursday.
Albert Almora Jr. made a sweet sliding catch in the third inning on a line drive from Rosario. It was a four-star catch and had a 41 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™.

"That's as hot as it's been since I've been here. That's like instructional league in Arizona. It was that warm." -- Maddon, on the conditions
will take the mound for the Cubs on Saturday vs. the Twins in his first start since welcoming his first child last Sunday and returning from the paternity leave on Thursday. The right-hander has struggled with his command this season, walking 63 batters in 68 1/3 innings. will make his season debut for the Twins, with first pitch set for 1:20 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.