Cubs win slugfest against Giants
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Cubs win slugfest against Giants

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - As fun as Wrigley Field is, it can be a nightmare to play in, depending on who you ask. When the wind blows in, the field is a pitcher's best friend, while the hitters can't wait for the game to end. When the Wind blows out, it is a nightmare for any pitcher as even the most routine pop-up has a chance to leave the yard.

The latter is what the Chicago Cubs (75-64) and San Francisco Giants (70-69) had to deal with on Tuesday night as hot and humid conditions mixed with the wind blowing out set things up to be a good old-fashioned slugfest. That is precisely what we got as the Cubs fell behind, stormed back, fell behind again, and eventually pulled away for the 11-8 win.

As good as Kyle Hendricks has been this season, this was one of those games where you didn't like his chances on the mound. To his credit, he did an excellent job bouncing back after giving up three early runs, but he was still charged with five runs (4ER) in 5 1/3 innings as the Giants made him pay for his mistakes. The Cubs were fortunate enough to be up against a bevy of relievers as Gabe Kapler went with what could be two bullpen games for the Giants this week, and that proved costly in the end.

One of Hendrick's biggest issues the past few seasons has been keeping the ball in the yard, and before most of the fans could take their seats, you had the Giants in front 1-0 as LaMonte Wade JR. led off the game with a homer. That was a common theme in the game as both teams combined to hit six homers, with four coming from the Giants. The Cubs had an opportunity to tie things up in the bottom of the first with a pair of walks, but Ryan Walker managed to wiggle out of trouble before being taken out after just 1 2/3.

As if one run wasn't good enough, JD Davis opened the second with a one-out single and advanced to second on a rare error by Cody Bellinger, who didn't have a great day in the field. Two batters later saw the Giants double their lead on a Wade Meckler single before the Mike Yastrzemski homer in the third put the Cubs in a 3-0 hole.

Not only did the Cubs have a chance to score in the first, but also in the second as Scott Alexander came on and worked around a pair of singles to keep them off the board for the time being. The same can't be said about the third, as the Cubs offense finally started to get back on track. What began with singles from Nico Hoerner and Bellinger turned into a single brigade as Dansby Swanson made it three singles in four batters to put the Cubs on the board.

With Seiya Suzuki keeping the line moving with another single to load the bases, the Jeimer Candelario walk made things 3-2 before Yan Gomes came through with another clutch hit as his double put the Cubs in front 4-3.

Given the weather conditions, this game was far from over, but after Hendricks retired eight straight hitters to get through five at the lead, maybe the four runs would be enough.

That was until the sixth when Wilmer Flores and Joc Pederson opened the inning up with consecutive doubles, and just like that, things were back to even 4-4. San Francisco wasn't done in that inning as Hayden Wesneski replaced Hendricks and immediately served up a homer to Davis to put the Giants back in front 6-4. Wesneski finished the inning before yielding to Drew Smyly in the seventh without further damage, but the damage was already done with the Giants in front.

Looking to add to their lead in the seventh, Smyly was on the ropes as a two-out walk to Flores was followed by a Pederson single to set the Giants offense up again. Smyly would pitch out of that jam without allowing a run, which sent the game to the bottom of the seventh and momentum shifting in the Cubs favor.

With Tyler Rogers on for his second inning of work, a one-out walk from Swanson was the beginning of the end for the Giants as another Suzuki homer followed that to tie things up 6-6. For Suzuki, he is the hottest hitter in the Cubs lineup right now as he added four more hits and three more RBIs onto what has been a strong stretch of games for him.

Already with two runs across, things went from bad to worse for the Giants as Pederson misplayed a ball in the wind, resulting in a Candelario double, while Gomes hustled out an infield single to put runners on the corners. Looking to put the ball in play, Nick Madrigal did just that as he chopped one over to third as an errant throw allowed another run to score to put the Cubs back in front for good, 7-6. One thing you can't do against this Cubs team is give this offense second chances, and the Giants found that out firsthand with Christopher Morel unloading for a deep three-run shot later in the inning to cap off a six-run frame with the Cubs in front 10-6.

After being one of the Cubs best relievers for nearly five months, Mark Leiter Jr. hasn't been the same in his past few outings, and after allowing a leadoff double to Davis in the eighth followed by a Brandon Crawford single, the Giants not only pulled within 10-7, but was the beginning of the end for Leiter Jr in what was another short outing. Jose Cuas replaced him, who worked around a two-out error to prevent further damage as the Cubs went to the bottom of the eighth leading by three.

Given the weather conditions in this one, no lead was safe, and after Swanson singled with one out before advancing to second on a misplay, the Cubs offense was set up again to do more damage. They had the right guy in at the plate in Suzuki as he came through again to push the Cubs lead to 11-7 with an RBI single with this game heading to the ninth.

San Francisco managed to pick up one last run on a solo shot by Flores off of Julian Merryweather, but that was it as the Cubs held off the Giants in a slugfest to pick up another series win and push the Giants further back in the Wild Card standings. Their win, mixed with a Phillies and Diamondbacks loss, keeps them comfortably in control of the second wild card spot, but also pulls them to within 1.5 games of the top spot.

The Cubs had 15 hits in the game and were led by Suzuki and his four hits and three RBIs. Gomes added three hits with two RBIs, with Hoerner and Swanson also picking up multi-hit games. Alexander Canario has yet to play after being called up five days ago, and some are wondering what the plans for him are. The Cubs will turn to rookie left-hander Jordan Wicks on Wednesday as they go for the sweep.

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