Entering the second game of this two-game series, the Cubs were 68-50 and held a two-game lead in the division over the Brewers. After a lopsided 7-0 defeat Tuesday, the Cubs were looking to increase their division lead back to three games.
Kyle Hendricks was able to enjoy the comfort of an early lead due to Anthony Rizzo’s 1st inning home run. Hendricks looked strong for much of the game before getting into a little trouble to start the 7th inning and ultimately gave up four runs over six innings of work.
With the help of the his offense, which was consistent for the first time in what feels like a week, that was more than enough for the Cubs to earn the win (box score).
Why the Cubs Won
Hendricks had a solid outing and was backed up by a good offensive showing, as the Cubs collected 13 hits to score eight runs. The bullpen contributed three innings without giving up an earned run and this one never really felt close from the start.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, with the first two batters retired, David Bote hit a single to center. Rizzo followed that up with a home run to left field to take an early 2-0 lead.
After the Brewers closed to 4-2, Willson Contreras led off the 4th with a single up the middle and Hendricks laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Contreras to second base. Following an Addison Russell single up the middle to score Contreras, a wild pitch allowed Russell to get to second. Jason Heyward contributed a base hit to score Russell and make it a 6-2 Cubs lead. David Bote and Anthony Rizzo each reached base on back-to-back shallow hits to center field, which ultimately scored Heyward to make it 7-2 Cubs.
Stats That Matter
- Heyward had a strong game, coming through in two separate opportunities with runners in scoring position. He finished 3-for-4, with a double and 2 RBI
- Rizzo continued his strong second half by going 2-for-4, with a homer, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB
- Albert Almora Jr. hit his fifth home run of the season and is showing some signs of life after recent struggles. He went 1-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 BB
The Cubs took care of business in what felt like a must-win against the Brewers and managed a series split to keep the division lead at three games. That’s all that matters at this point in the playoff hunt.
The Cubs head to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in a three-game series. Jon Lester opens on the mound, while Pittsburgh will counter with right-hander Ivan Nova. First pitch is slated for 6:05pm CT and will air on NBC Sports Chicago.