Four HRs, 8-run frame fuel Cubs' rout vs. D-backs
CHICAGO -- Addison Russell connected on two home runs and Anthony Rizzo hit a grand slam to power the Cubs' offense in a 14-5 win over the D-backs on Friday at Wrigley Field. Rookie Javier Baez added his first home run of the season during an eight-run fifth inning in which 11 Cubs came to the plate.
Baez finished 3-for-4 on the day, Russell went 2-for-3 and scored three runs while Rizzo finished 2-for-3 in a game in which every batter in the Cubs' starting lineup scored. The offense backed starter Jon Lester, who allowed two runs over five innings and struck out three.
"There were so many positives out there today," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "These young guys are very skillful, and they're going to be able to hit home runs. But this other stuff, when you're playing in the playoffs and you're facing good pitching and good teams, you're not just going to normally pummel and hit home runs like that. You have to be able to do these other little things well, and our guys have." More >
With the win, the Cubs moved 7 1/2 games ahead of the Giants for the National League's second Wild Card spot, and they have already surpassed their win total from last season.
Arizona starter Zack Godley took the loss after he gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings before A.J. Schugel, who allowed seven unearned runs in the fifth. Jake Lamb homered to mark the D-backs' sixth straight game with at least four runs scored.
"I thought our guys grinded out at-bats, did a good job of that," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Even at the end, I thought we made them work, each guy that came in."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk this way: The Cubs' offense has plenty of power, but it began Friday's game by showcasing its plate discipline. Godley walked four batters in the first inning, including free passes to Kris Bryant and Baez with the bases loaded. Chicago leads the National League with 456 walks this season, led by Dexter Fowler, Russell and Bryant, all of whom sit in the NL's top five in pitches per plate appearance. Chris Coghlan was walked late in the fifth inning with the bases loaded, one of eight on the day.
"We strike out a lot, we're going to walk a lot," Maddon said. "That's just who we are. I know we had a good game plan today. I know the guys talked about it a lot before the game, and we followed through."
Rough go for Godley: In three previous big league starts this year, Godley allowed just three runs over 18 innings. By the end of the first inning Friday, Godley had already given up three runs, and it was certainly not the outing he was hoping to have against the organization that traded him this past offseason.
"Probably just a little over-amped," Hale said. "He was pitching against his old team that he was traded from, so he was trying obviously to do a little too much. He's facing good hitters -- Rizzo and Bryant -- and trying to maybe be too perfect." More >
Twice as nice: Russell didn't exactly join an exclusive club on his team with his outstanding power performance, becoming the 12th player to finish with a multi-homer game for Chicago this season. Following a solo shot in the second inning, Russell became the fourth Cubs rookie with two homers in a game with his two-run blast in the fourth. Now with 12 home runs on the year, Russell (21 years old) became the youngest Cubs player since Danny Murphy (19) to hit multiple home runs in a game.
"I saw the ball great," Russell said. "I got some good sleep last night and just trying to compete."
Error opens the door: D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed was unable to field Lester's grounder cleanly in the fifth inning. Rather than the inning being over when Fowler flied out two batters later, it was only the second out, and the Cubs wound up scoring seven unearned runs in the frame to put the game away.
"I don't know if he was trying to be too quick -- it was the pitcher running -- but it looked like he kind of lifted his head up, took his eye off for a second," Hale said. "Uncharacteristic."
"There's a first for everything. It took me nine years to do it, but better late than never. It's a little bit easier when it's a home run, too. You don't have to worry about too much and just jog around the bases." -- Lester, on scoring two runs, including his first career run on Russell's fourth-inning homer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Friday marked the first time the Cubs have drawn three bases-loaded walks in a game since September 2010 at the Marlins.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
D-backs right fielder Yasmany Tomas was called out at first base on a ground ball to second, and Arizona challenged the call believing that first baseman Coghlan's foot had come off the base. The review confirmed the out call.
D-backs: The D-backs will send Robbie Ray to the mound at 11:20 a.m. MST and the left-hander will be in search of his first win since July 7 against the Rangers. Arizona is expected to have first baseman Paul Goldschmidt back in its lineup.
Cubs: Following one of the best months in his career, Jake Arrieta hopes to continue his torrid stretch when the Cubs host the D-backs for the middle game of the series on Saturday. Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter in his last outing to drop his ERA in August to 0.43. First pitch from Wrigley Field is slated for 1:20 p.m. CT.
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