Baez leads charge as Cubs beat White Sox, reach 90 wins


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Superstar infielder Javier Baez smacked an opening-inning home run to set the tone for the Cubs in their win. (Photo Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)
Superstar infielder Javier Baez smacked an opening-inning home run to set the tone for the Cubs in their win. (Photo Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Sparked by a three-RBI performance from MVP candidate Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs controlled their game with the Chicago White Sox and won in impressive fashion. Following a two-game stretch of getting outscored of 19-4, the Cubs bounced back at the plate. Winning 8-3 over the South Siders, the North Siders saw their magic number in the National League Central decrease to six.

With his 34th dinger of the year, Baez hammered a lined shot over the fence in the first inning. A two-run blast that plated Ben Zobrist, the home run to left was one of two hits for Javy on the night. The White Sox proceeded to tie the game over the course of the next few innings. Avisail Garcia tabbed an RBI single off Cubs starter Jon Lester in the bottom half of the first. Then, in the bottom of the third, Tim Anderson led off with a homer that was just inside the foul pole in left field.

Lester dodged several bullets in his five-inning start that featured multiple long, testy frames. Making it through the requisite five innings to be in line for the win, Lester earned the winning decision for his three-run outing to improve to 17-6 overall. White Sox hurler Lucas Gioloto was not as fortunate, with the young right-hander giving up five runs in 6.2 innings to fall to 10-12 on the season.

The Cubs retook control of the ballgame in the fifth. After a pair of one-out singles, Daniel Murphy smacked an RBI double to left that was followed by a two-run single up the middle by Zobrist. Aggressive base running was the name of Saturday's game for the Cubs, who greatly benefited from timely jumps on the basepaths.

The White Sox tagged Lester for one last run in the fifth via a two-out single off the bat of Matt Davidson, but the Cubs' bullpen pitched four scoreless innings thereafter to close out the victory. The Cubs added plenty of breathing room with a three-run ninth. Kyle Schwarber, who served as the designated hitter, started the inning with a ground-rule double. Speedy pinch runner Terrance Gore then came in for him and reached third base on a passed ball.

Not long after that, Gore came in to score on an infield dribbler that the vast majority of base runners would not have opted to run on. However, Gore's blazing speed enabled him to reach home safely. With runners on first and second, Baez came up with his third RBI on a single to left that put the Cubs up 7-3, and Zobrist scored on the next at-bat as a result of a throwing error by Anderson on a potential double-play ball.

Anderson was heated because of what he deemed to be an illegal slide made by Baez in an attempt at preventing a double play. A replay review of the play in question took place, but the call stood, as the umpires did not find the slide to be illegal. Irked with the ruling, Anderson barked at crew chief Joe West to the point that West ejected him.

Making the most of their nine hits in the 8-3 triumph against the White Sox (61-93), the Cubs (90-64) righted the ship at the plate on Saturday night. Setting up a rubber match at Guaranteed Rate Field tomorrow afternoon, the North Siders dropped the South Siders and took a 3-2 lead in the season series of the Crosstown Classic. Reaching the 90-win mark, the Cubs secured their fourth straight 90-win season, which is the first time that they have done that in over a century.

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