Lackey dominates his old team as Cubs win 8th straight
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey breezed through the Los Angeles Angels batting order on Tuesday.
CHICAGO -- On the mound to take on his old team, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey started off on a sour note, allowing Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right fielder Kole Calhoun to take him deep in the top of the first to provide the Halos with an early 1-0 lead. But the homer proved to be a wake-up call for the 37-year-old right hander, as Lackey buckled down and only allowed two additional hits in his eight innings pitched. In fact, Calhoun’s 11th home run of the season turned out to be the only run that the Angels (49-63) produced on the night, as the Cubs (70-41) walloped them by a final score of 5-1.
Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver was shellacked on Tuesday night, allowing all eight of the Cubs’ hits and all five of their runs, as well. Rookie Cubs catcher Willson Contreras knotted the game up at one in the bottom of the third with a round-tripper to left-center, his 20th on the year. In the ensuing inning, Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo led off with a double, and second baseman Ben Zobrist reciprocated with a double of his own in the very next at-bat, which scored Rizzo to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Later in the inning, with runners on the corners and one out, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell brought Zobrist home via a sacrifice fly to center, Russell’s 67th RBI of 2016, to increase the Cubs’ lead to two runs.
Weaver remained on the bump in the fifth inning, but he fared no better, enabling two more Chicago runs to score. Despite garnering two outs to begin the inning, Weaver imploded thereafter, with Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant taking him yard for his 28th deep ball of the season. Rizzo, who was 2-3 with two runs scored in the game, then came through with another double. Next, Zobrist drew a walk, and, after that, left fielder Jorge Soler, who has looked excellent since recently returning from a long stint on the disabled list, hustled to first on an infield single. However, Rizzo made it home thanks to a Weaver throwing error on the play, thus giving the Cubs a commanding 5-1 lead.
The remaining four innings offered little offensive excitement, and the Cubs cruised to a 5-1 win. The Angels only accrued three hits on the evening, and Lackey, who was the primary reason why that was the case, earned his ninth victory of the season. Striking out six and walking only one, Lackey produced perhaps his best start of the year on Tuesday, dominating the team with which he spent the first eight seasons of his MLB career. As for Weaver, he accrued his ninth loss of the season after struggling throughout the entirety of his start.
With the victory tonight, the North Siders, who have won eight straight, became the first team in the majors to accumulate 70 wins in 2016. The second and final game of this interleague series at Wrigley Field will commence tomorrow night, with the first pitch at 8:05 PM EST. Two veteran pitchers will square off, as Ricky Nolasco of the Angels is set to face Jason Hammel of the Cubs.
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