The Chicago Cubs (29-15) are on an absolute tear. After losing the middle game of their three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers (21-23) on Tuesday, the Cubs jumped all over left-hander Eric Lauer in the 1st inning and cruised to an easy 10-3 victory, via MLB The Show 20.
Kris Bryant and Javier Báez both hit singles and Willson Contreras walked to load the bases with nobody out in the opening frame. David Bote struck out swinging, but Albert Almora Jr. dribbled a ball down the third base line that stayed fair for an RBI infield single. Steven Souza Jr. lined one sharply to left field for a hit, moving everyone up one base and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
That brought up Victor Caratini, who was starting at first base against Milwaukee to give Anthony Rizzo a day off. Caratini made the most of his chance, continuing his recent hot hitting and crushing a Lauer offering deep to left field for a grand slam.
The Cubs were now up 6-0 and Craig Counsell had seen enough. The Brewers manager pulled his starter after earning just one out in the 1st inning, going to reliever Zack Brown.
Meanwhile, José Quintana was on the mound for the Cubs and he also was continuing a hot streak of sorts. The left-hander went seven innings against Milwaukee, allowing just one earned run on four hits and three walks, while striking out five. That single run came in the 2nd inning on an RBI single by shortstop Orlando Arcia.
The Cubs needed Quintana to go as deep as he did, especially with Jon Lester not making it out of the 3rd inning on Tuesday. The bullpen has been taxed in recent days, leading David Ross to take an unconventional approach to finishing off the game. Ian Happ pitched the 8th inning and allowed two runs – one earned – on two hits, a walk, and an error by Bryant.
Souza went to the mound in the 9th to finish off the 10-3 victory, going one-two-three and striking out Arcia and Keston Hiura swinging.
Notes: The appearance on the mound was Souza’s first of his career, while it was the second pitching performance of Happ’s career. He tossed a scoreless inning in relief back in 2018, allowing one hit with no walks or strikeouts … Bryant hit a solo shot in the 4th inning, his 15th of the year.
Bryant – 2-for-3, 2 BB, HR, RBI
Caratini – 2-for-4, HR, 5 RBI
Quintana – 7 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 5 K
Happ – 1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 0 K
Souza – 1-for-4, R, RBI; 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 2 K
Smoak – 2-for-4, RBI
Arcia – 1-for-3, BB, RBI
Winning Pitcher – Quintana (5-2)
Losing Pitcher – Lauer (0-3)
Save – None
Home Runs – Bryant (15), Caratini (4)