Former Cubs prospect lifts South Siders over North Siders

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by - Senior Writer -
Former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez showed up his old organization by hitting a go-ahead home run. (Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez showed up his old organization by hitting a go-ahead home run. (Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — In the summer of 2017, the Chicago Cubs (39-33) opted to trade top prospect Eloy Jimenez to the Chicago White Sox (35-36) in order to land starting pitcher Jose Quintana. Presented with his first opportunity to show his former organization what it missed out on, Jimenez provided the opener of the Crosstown Classic with a storybook conclusion on Tuesday. With the North Siders playing host to the South Siders at Wrigley Field, Jimenez skied a go-ahead 2-run bomb in the top of the ninth that resulted in a 3-1 White Sox win.

While the star White Sox left fielder smacked the winning home run, the star Cubs left fielder hit the initial home run on the evening, as Kyle Schwarber jacked a 399-footer to left to lead off the bottom of the first. Swinging at the first pitch thrown to him, Schwarber hammered his 16th long ball of the season to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, on the mound for the Cubs was lefty Cole Hamels, who dodged a bullet by forcing an inning-ending double play to escape a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first.

A few innings later, Hamels reached a noteworthy milestone, as he struck White Sox starting hurler Ivan Nova out looking at the beginning of the third frame and became just the 10th left-handed pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to reach the 2,500-strikeout plateau. Hamels received a standing ovation from his teammates in the dugout and the Cubs fans in attendance after tabbing his 2,500th punchout, and he displayed his appreciation with a tip of his cap. The veteran southpaw went on to accrue eight strikeouts in his seven innings of work.

The lone run allowed by Hamels came in the top of the sixth, when a risky throw to first base by shortstop Javier Baez served as a costly throwing error. White Sox center fielder Leury Garcia led off the inning with a double and was then plated on an infield single from Tim Anderson. Baez made a great diving stop to prevent Anderson's hit from going into the outfield, but he proceeded to fire an errant throw in an effort to out the speedy Anderson, which enabled Garcia to score.

With the game tied 1-1 after that, the Cubs were able to chase Nova from the game before advancing baserunners onto the corners with two outs in the bottom half of the sixth. However, catcher Victor Caratini struck out to leave both men stranded, and the Cubs failed to push a runner into scoring position the rest of the way. Even though a save situation was not at hand, Cubs closer Pedro Strop was then brought into the game in the top of the ninth, and he struggled in his ill-fated stint.

After giving up a leadoff single, Strop was taken deep by Jimenez, who broke his bat when making contact on the 397-foot round-tripper to left-center. Strop failed to finish the inning and received the loss for his efforts. Third baseman Kris Bryant led the Cubs with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate. Bryant likely could have made it to second base on a bloop single that he did not see coming in the bottom of the eighth, but his moping while jogging down the first baseline culminated in a 1-bagger that turned into an ensuing inning-ending double play. From there, the 12th homer of the year for Jimenez, who went 2-for-3 with one walk at the dish, paved the way for the 3-1 victory by the White Sox in the opener of the 2-game set.

Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Jun 18, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (35-36) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 3 8 0
Chicago (39-33) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
W: Evan Marshall (3-0) L: Pedro Strop (1-3) S: Alex Colome (15)

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Tags: Jose Quintana, Kyle Schwarber, Cole Hamels, Javier Baez, Victor Caratini, Pedro Strop, Kris Bryant
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