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Cubs upend Dodgers with two 3-run HRs in 6th

Báez, Heyward go deep as Cubs break through with high exit velocity
@Russ_Dorsey1
April 25, 2019

CHICAGO -- There wasn't a question of if the Cubs could score enough runs against young Dodgers fireballer Walker Buehler, but when. It wasn't until the sixth inning, but the offense was unfazed in the Cubs' 7-6 victory Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Up to that point, the Cubs had

CHICAGO -- There wasn't a question of if the Cubs could score enough runs against young Dodgers fireballer Walker Buehler, but when.

It wasn't until the sixth inning, but the offense was unfazed in the Cubs' 7-6 victory Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Up to that point, the Cubs had nothing to show for the quality of their at-bats.

The Cubs hit 14 balls with an exit velocity of 90-plus mph through five innings against Buehler, according to Statcast, but they were held to just two hits.

"I thought we played great tonight. There's not a single thing I can bemoan about our game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Including our outs. We hit the ball hard all night long and deserved to score a lot more runs than we actually did."

It wouldn't be much longer before the offense finally broke through. After a rocket single from Daniel Descalso and a walk to Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Báez crushed a game-tying three-run home run into the bleachers in left field -- not only tying the game at 3, but giving the Cubs something to show for their approach despite not seeing immediate results.

"You just have to keep the game within reason," said starter Cole Hamels, who allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings. "With what was able to transpire in the sixth inning, a lot of runs were scored, we were able to take the favor and hold on to it."

It didn't stop there, as the Cubs continued to find success once the proverbial lid was taken off by putting two more runners on base before right fielder Jason Heyward capped the inning with a three-run shot of his own, giving the Cubs a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The team hit six balls at 90-plus mph during the sixth, the most of any inning in the game.

"You got to find a way to do it any way you can. Tonight, great way to battle, hang in there, come back and battle against a great team," Heyward said.

Heyward, like Báez, has been one of the Cubs' most consistent performers in 2019 and is now hitting .333 with five home runs, but his struggles over the past three seasons have not been hidden.

Just like the offense on Wednesday, the Cubs have seen delayed gratification for Heyward's success and his contributions have become even sweeter.

"They are fully supporting Jason," Maddon said. "Jason does so much supporting others, even when he's not going well. Everything you put out there will come back to you. He's that kind of a guy. He's always there for everybody else, so now everybody's there for him."

"It's been great. Being able to see it in the offseason, the leadership type of role that he takes and the respect that he has in this clubhouse, this has been what he’s been destined to kind of do," Hamels said. "He's in his comfort zone. I remember him playing in Atlanta, and this was the kind of games he would put in. He can do everything. We were always very aware of that."

The Cubs have won seven of their past eight games and 11 of the last 15. The team has been getting excellent starting pitching during the stretch, but for a night, the offense took its turn shouldering the load.

The Cubs finished with 23 batted balls with an exit velocity of 90-plus mph, including four from Báez, three from Heyward and six from Kris Bryant and Rizzo, who had both been struggling at the plate coming into the game.

"There's a lot of work to be done. We have work to do. We got a tough division," Heyward said. "We play great competition. Myself personally, just be ready to do whatever I can on a daily basis, whether that's coming through on the field or off the field. I know how hard everyone in here works and what we go through on a daily basis."

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.