Big Willy Style: Willson Contreras shows out as Cubs bleach White Sox

by - Senior Writer -
Willson Contreras has a knack for showing out in games against the White Sox. (Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Willson Contreras has a knack for showing out in games against the White Sox. (Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Evidently, no active player values the Crosstown Classic and all that it represents more than Chicago Cubs (40-33) catcher Willson Contreras, who put on a show against the rival Chicago White Sox (35-37) on Wednesday. Contreras has a history of dominating when taking on the White Sox, including a legendary 7-RBI performance in a 2018 contest that was unofficially dubbed the "Willson Contreras Game," and Contreras' performance in the latest installment of the Windy City rivalry further cemented his reputation as a White Sox killer. Powering out two home runs, including a grand slam, and showing off his cannon of an arm from behind the plate, Contreras was a human highlight reel in the Cubs' 7-3 win over the White Sox at Wrigley Field that concluded the 2-game set on the North Side.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the series opener on Tuesday when leadoff man Kyle Schwarber swung at the very first pitch thrown to him in the opening inning and smacked it out of the park for a home run. Interestingly, the White Sox took a 1-0 lead by way of a practically identical circumstance in the series finale. Leury Garcia put the White Sox up 1-0 right off the bat, as he swung at the first pitch of the contest and sent it flying 429 feet to left-center for a leadoff blast. Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester was able to recover from the mistake, with the left-hander going on to pitch 5 2/3 innings en route to receiving the winning decision.

Lester was assuredly grateful that Contreras was in the lineup, as his battery mate provided the Cubs with substantial breathing room early on. White Sox hurler Lucas Giolito was handed just his second losing decision of the season on the night, and Contreras was the primary factor behind that. In the bottom of the first, Schwarber continued his leadoff heroics with a double into the right-field well to kick things off at the plate for the Cubs. Following a couple of walks that loaded the bases, Contreras cleared the bags with his third career grand slam. The 374-footer to left made the score 4-1 in favor of the Cubs and was the first of two long balls tabbed by Contreras in the matchup.

With a 400-foot lined shot that sailed over the ivy-covered wall in left during the bottom of the fourth frame, Contreras, who went 2-for-3 with one walk, notched his 15th round-tripper of the year and gifted the Cubs a 5-1 advantage. The White Sox were able to cut their deficit in half in the ensuing inning, though, with James McCann plowing a 419-foot homer to right-center to start the fourth inning and Yoan Moncada registering an RBI double not long after that. David Bote was able to get a run back for the Cubs when he led off the bottom half of the fourth with his ninth dinger of 2019. The 407-foot solo home run served as the fifth and final yard ball of the evening. Three of the five homers were of the leadoff variety.

With the Cubs boasting a 6-3 lead, Contreras did his part to keep that 3-run edge intact in the top of the fifth. Throwing a dart to Kris Bryant at third base, Contreras was able to gun down Tim Anderson, who was attempting to steal third after hitting a double. The remainder of the game saw the White Sox largely held in check at the dish, with a 2-out Moncada triple in the top of the eighth serving as the only other noteworthy offensive feat by the White Sox following Anderson's aforementioned 2-bagger. Schwarber ushered home an insurance run on an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth, and the Cubs ultimately won 7-3 to earn a series split. The remaining two games of this season's Crosstown Classic will take place at Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side prior to the All-Star break.

Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Jun 19, 2019 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago (35-37) 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 9 0
Chicago (40-33) 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 - 7 11 0
W: Jon Lester (6-5) L: Lucas Giolito (10-2)

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