Fans had to wait an extra two hours and 15 minutes for first pitch because of rain, but the second game of the crosstown series between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox finally started at 3:35 pm on Saturday afternoon.
The Cubs offense made sure their fans got entertainment early on once the delay ended however. Javier Baez hit a triple on the second pitch of the game, Kris Bryant worked a nine-pitch walk, and Anthony Rizzo followed by smacking a three-run home run to left-center on the first pitch he saw.
The North Siders kept the pressure on in the second inning, with Baez at the center of the excitement. The electric infielder reached on an infield single, avoided a tag at second on a steal, and scored on a Contreras RBI single.
Lester lost his command briefly in the fourth inning, but the veteran got Jose Rondon to ground into an inning-ending double play before any damage was done.
The Cubs offense was quiet in the middle innings, and the South Siders got on the board in the sixth. Adam Engel hit a lead-off double off the wall in left field, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly, and scored on an RBI groundout by Jose Abreu.
After Lester walked Matt Davidson and Welington Castillo hit a single up the middle, the veteran’s day was over and reliever Justin Wilson was brought in to face Rondon. Wilson got Rondón to groundout to end the inning, giving Lester the final line of: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
Wilson stayed in the game for the seventh inning. The lefty pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning, and brought his season ERA down to 3.52.
Contreras piggy-backed on his fellow Wil(l)son’s success in the bottom of the seventh, hitting a rocket out to left-center to extend the lead to 7-1. The 25-year-old catcher has hit his stride over the past week, raising his slash line from .230/.315/.354 to .281/.352/.516 in just three games.
The extra runs seemed more important in the top of the eighth, after Carl Edwards Jr. struggled with his control and then gave up a three-run home run to Davidson. Mike Montgomery was brought in to finish off the inning.
Montgomery stayed in to start the ninth, but the Sox got two quick baserunners after an infield single and an error on Bryant. With the tying run now on deck, manager Joe Maddon brought in Brandon Morrow to close the game.
The 8-4 win is the fifth in a row, and brings the Cubs to 21-15 on the season.
The Cubs will look for the three-game sweep tomorrow at 1:20 pm as Kyle Hendricks (3-2, 3.02 ERA) takes on Lucas Giolito (1-4, 7.25 ERA). The game can be watched on WGN, and as always can be found on the radio at 670 The Score.
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Feature Photo Credit: Chicago Cubs