Cubs blank Angels for series win
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Cubs blank Angels for series win

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - Talk about a strange, yet mostly entertaining series. One day after the Los Angeles Angels (37-52) shut out the Chicago Cubs (42-49) to even the series, the Cubs returned the favor on Sunday as they finished off their six-game homestand at Wrigley Field in style.

With Justin Steele going the distance to earn his first complete game in a win on Friday, the Cubs had a chance to win a three-game series at home for what feels like forever. To do that, Hayden Wesneski would need to keep the ball in the park, as the long ball has been an issue for him.

Not only did he keep the ball in the park, but Wesneski delivered his best outing of the season as he allowed just one hit in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out two. Wesneski has made it known that he feels more comfortable as a starter, and today was an indication of that as he pitched to contact but let his defense do the work.

Opposing Wesneski was the Angels' young right-hander Jorge Soriano, who was very good himself. Despite allowing three runs in five innings, Soriano kept his team in the game, but the Angels were unable to get much going. You saw that early on as the only hit they had off of Wesneski came off the Brandon Drury single in the first in what was otherwise a quiet day for them.

That was the only baserunner they would have for most of the game as Wesneski got locked in quickly to retire 18 consecutive hitters for the longest streak of his young career. Soriano was equally as good early on, as he retired the first six hitters he faced before running into trouble in the third. Dansby Swanson started things off in the third with a leadoff single before advancing to second on a fielder's choice.

Miguel Amaya followed that up with a rare RBI single to put the Cubs in front 1-0, as that would be the only run they would need to get the job done. Nico Hoerner brought home another run on a sacrifice fly later in the third as the Cubs opened up a 2-0 lead. The Cubs had a chance to break things open in the fourth as the two-out Ian Happ single was followed by a Christopher Morel double as the Cubs were threatening.

Swanson kept his great game up with a walk to load the bases, but Soriano was able to escape that jam without further damage to keep things close 2-0. Another player who had a great game was Amaya, who opened the fifth with a leadoff double before advancing to third on the Hoerner single. Michael Busch extended the Cubs lead to 3-0, but he wasn't credited with an RBI as his double play killed the rally, but he still got the job done.

Still trailing by that 3-0 score in the seventh, the Angels started to make some noise as they finally put some pressure on Wesneski. That all started with a fielding error to end the retired batters' streak at 18, with Willie Calhoun working a walk to put two men on and one out. That sparked a call to the bullpen, where Porter Hodge came in to put out the fire and kept the Cubs in front 3-0.

For all the struggles the Cubs bullpen has had this season, their 2.45 ERA since June 20 is the fourth-best in baseball over that span, as an influx of young arms has helped change their fortunes. Despite holding a 3-0 lead, the Cubs looked to add on late in order to help the bullpen settle in. Leave it to the top of the order to get the job done as a two-walk to Hoerner kept the inning alive before Busch launched his first homer in a while to close out the scoring with the Cubs in front 5-0.

Busch has been on quite a run lately, as he has reached base in his last 26 starts while leading all rookies with 11 homers. That would be all the offense the Cubs would need as Luke Little and Hector Neris took over for Hodge late, with Neris closing things out for his 12th save. The ninth inning didn't come without some drama as Little allowed a pair of two-out singles before walking Logan O'Hoppe to load the bases, only to have Neris get the final out.

The Cubs had seven hits in their win, with Amaya leading the way with two hits and his RBI. The Cubs will now enjoy their final off day of the first half before heading to Baltimore to begin a seven-game, six-day road trip to head into the All-Star Break.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!