Morel has homered in three straight games (David Banks - USA Today Sports)
Morel has homered in three straight games (David Banks - USA Today Sports)

Morel homers in third straight game as Cubs rally to beat Red Sox


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - Two of baseball's most iconic Franchises hit the field on Friday for an exciting weekend at Wrigley Field. Meeting for the first time in six years and nearly a decade at home, the Chicago Cubs (31-46) took on the Boston Red Sox (43-34).

Expecting it to be an exciting holiday weekend, fans better get used to seeing the Red Sox more as the Cubs will face them one time a season starting next year. That is great for baseball as these franchises need to be playing more than once every three seasons.

Despite a slow start that saw the Cubs fall behind early, you have to give Adrian Sampson and this club some credit. Sampson recovered nicely and allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings of work to give his team a chance. He walked one and struck out four as he continued to pitch well for the Cubs.

Standing in his way was the ageless veteran Rich Hill who has had a ton of success against the Cubs. The once Chicago farm hand has carved the Cubs up during his professional tenure, and it was looking like he was on pace to do that again before getting pulled in just 4 2/3 innings after allowing three runs. Led by a mix of veterans and youngsters, the rookie Christopher Morel helped drive the comeback as the Cubs battled back to beat Boston 6-5.

Things couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for Sampson, who found himself down 1-0 one pitch into the game with Jarren Duran going deep for his first homer. JD Martinez and Xander Bogarts added singles later in that inning, but Sampson induced an inning-ending double play to escape without further damage.

Sampson continued to run into trouble in the second inning as it looked like it would be a long afternoon for the right-hander. Not only did an error lead off the top of the second, but add in a single by Franchy Cordero with a walk to Christian Vazquez, and the Red Sox had the bases loaded with no outs. Three pitches later saw Jackie Bradley Jr clear the bases with one swing as his RBI double put the Red Sox in front 4-0 before Sampson settled in again.

Not only did he settle in, but he was outstanding the rest of the way, which is a good sign if you are the Cubs, knowing he may be counted on more as the season continues. With Sampson now doing his thing on the mound and keeping the Red Sox scoreless across the next three innings, it was only a matter of time before the Cubs offense got rolling after doing next to nothing off Hill through four.

A walk by PJ Higgins opened things up before he raced around the bases on the Nelson Velazquez triple to make things 4-1. Morel would add an RBI groundout shortly after to make things 4-2 before the Cubs had a golden opportunity for a big inning. A walk by Willson Contreras was followed by an Ian Happ single, and a pitch hit Patrick Wisdom to load the bases. Patience continued to be the theme for the Cubs, with Rafael Ortega picking up the bases-loaded walk to pull within 4-3, which also marked the end of the road for Hill on the afternoon.

Much like Hill in the fifth, Sampson started the sixth inning, but after allowing a one-out single to Trevor Story, David Ross went to the bullpen, where Brandon Hughes was the first one out. Vazquez greeted him with a single before another walk loaded the bases. Duran would then cash in with an RBI single to make things 5-3, but after a great throw from Ortega nabbed Vasquez at home, the Cubs only trailed 5-3 as that throw would come in handy later.

Still in the sixth, it was time for the Cubs to deliver some two-out magic, with Andrelton Simmons starting things off with a walk. A long Morel homer followed that for his eighth of the season, and just like that, things were tied 5-5. Walks to Contreras and Wisdom sandwiched around a Happ double followed that up as the Cubs had the bases loaded again.

Although they could not come away with a big hit, the Cubs managed to take the lead when jake Diekman uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score.

With Scott Effross and Chris Martin taking care of business in the seventh and eighth innings, it was time for David Robertson to take control in the ninth. Robertson has quietly been one of the better offseason pickups this season, and he continued to pitch well, needing less than 10 pitches to retire the Red Sox in order and handed the Cubs a 6-5 win. Happ came away with three of the six hits for the offense, with Morel, Higgins, and Velazquez grabbing the rest. Contreras came away with three walks as the Cubs took 10 walks as a team.

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