The Cubs needed to stop the bleeding on Wednesday in San Francisco to avoid the sweep. Tyler Beede took the mound for the Giants while Tyler Chatwood started for the Cubs — just his third appearance in July — after Jon Lester was a late scratch due to illness. The Cubs were able to put some early runs on the board while Chatwood and the bullpen held the Giants to one run.
All the Cubs’ offense came via the home run, with Javier Báez starting it off in the 1st inning with his 25th the season. Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in the 3rd before leaving with an injury two innings later. Albert Almora Jr. hit a solo shot in the 4th.
Chatwood went four solid innings, giving up just one run in the 4th and striking out five batters. He was relieved by Kyle Ryan, Rowan Wick, Pedro Strop, and Brandon Kintzler, who combined to give up only one hit through four innings. Craig Kimbrel had a shaky 9th inning but earned his seventh save. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
As it turns out, not using Chatwood earlier in the month was a good investment for Joe Maddon. Chatwood, who had only two appearances since June 27, was able to pinch-start for a sick Lester and, although he didn’t go deep enough in the game to earn the win, he did exactly what the team asked of him and the bullpen did the rest.
The early offense had the Cubs breezing through five innings, but the three-run lead looked a lot smaller after both Bryant and Anthony Rizzo exited the game in the bottom of the 5th. Bryant left with a sore right knee and Rizzo was unceremoniously ejected from the game by home plate umpire Jordan Baker after his strikeout.
Stats That Matter
- Almora went 2-for-4 with a homer. Going into the game, Almora had a .149 batting average in his last 15 games.
- Willson Contreras went 1-for-4 in his first game back from the injured list.
The Cubs not only avoided a sweep but avoided sharing first place with the Cardinals. Regardless of what the Cards do in their game Wednesday night, the Cubs are guaranteed to go into Milwaukee on Friday as the sole leaders of the Central division.
After the off day on Thursday, the Cubs will begin a three-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday. Gio Gonzalez will start for the Brewers and José Quintana will take the mound with a 2.63 career ERA against the Brewers. The game starts at 7:10pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and 670 The Score.