Cubs skin Diamondbacks with late home run barrage
Combined with Kris Bryant's epic performance, Javier Baez's three-run jack helped lift the Cubs to a series win. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs skin Diamondbacks with late home run barrage

by - Senior Writer -

PHOENIX – The tables turned in the desert today, with the Chicago Cubs giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a taste of their own medicine after the D-backs' four-run outburst late in Saturday's game essentially won them the contest. This time around, it was the Cubs that struck late, with Chicago scoring five of its seven runs and collecting five of its nine hits in the final two innings. Earning a 7-2 victory as a result of that onslaught, which featured three home runs, the Cubs claimed a series victory in the three-gamer at Chase Field, marking their first series win this month.

Sunday's affair definitely did not play out like a movie, as the bulk of the game's action took place at the beginning and end, while the middle was largely uneventful. The Cubs struck first, taking advantage of a wild pitch by Arizona starter Zack Godley in the first inning. When Godley squared off against Chicago in early August, he was dominant, shutting out a Cubs team that drafted him and later traded him away. Godley fell short of establishing himself as a Cub killer today, though, as he failed to get out of the sixth inning.

After suffering strikeouts in the first two at-bats of the opening frame, the Cubs put together a two-out rally that saw them score a run. Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant sparked it by accruing a two-out single. Bryant, who had himself quite a series at Chase Field, capped off the weekend with his third straight three-hit game, as he went 3-4 with two runs and an RBI to his name.

Following Bryant's hit, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was walked, which enabled Bryant to hustle home from second base on an ensuing wild pitch from Godley. Chicago added to its lead in the next inning, with left fielder Jon Jay smacking a clutch two-out double to deep left that scored second baseman Javier Baez, putting the Cubs up 2-0. Godley continued to struggle thereafter, giving up a double to Bryant in the third and suffering from another wild pitch soon afterward. The young right-hander finished with a stat line of four hits, four walks and two runs in 5.2 innings on the hill, receiving the loss to drop to 5-5.

As for Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, he was incredible on the afternoon, striking out six batters in six innings and giving up only three hits. Arrieta's lone blemish came in the fifth, when he walked two batters to begin the inning and suffered the consequences later on, as Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta hit a sacrifice fly that scored shortstop Ketel Marte to make the score 2-1.

But, in the eighth inning, the Cubs ensured that the only subpar inning experienced by Arrieta on the day was essentially meaningless, with Peralta's sacrifice fly becoming all but a distant memory following the Cubs' four-run scoring barrage. With a man on first and nobody out, the Diamondbacks made what proved to be a costly pitching change, sending in reliever Jake Barrett, who proceeded to give up four runs on four hits and a walk in 1.2 innings of shabby work. All four runs came via the home-run ball, beginning with Baez hitting his 17th round-tripper of the year on a bomb to left in the eighth that scored three. Thereafter, Ian Happ, who was pinch-hitting, powered a solo shot to right that increased the Cubs' lead to five runs. Happ now boasts 15 long balls this season.

Just for good measure, Bryant got in on the home run-hitting action, as well, towering a four-bagger beyond center field off of Barrett. As a result, Bryant put the Cubs up 7-1 on his 21st homer of 2017, which also happened to be his first moonshot since July 30. Aside from being the ultimate catalyst for the Cubs on Sunday, Bryant had a historically significant performance, too, as he became the first Cub to reach base four or more times in three straight games since catcher Michael Barrett did so in May of 2004.

Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt added his own solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, but too much damage had already been done to the D-backs by that point for it to matter. Winning 7-2 behind a home run-heavy offensive output and a quality showing by Arrieta, who earned the win to move to 12-8, the Cubs improved to 61-55 overall and put a bow on their six-game West Coast road trip in style. With a seven-game home stand against the lowly Cincinnati Reds and the mediocre Toronto Blue Jays coming up next for the North Siders, the time is now for the Cubs to take their stand as the team to beat in the National League Central.

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