Schwarber, Avila power Cubs to road victory


by - Senior Editor -
Dennis Wierzicki - USA Today Sports
Dennis Wierzicki - USA Today Sports

PHOENIX -- The Chicago Cubs won 8-3 against the Diamondbacks on Friday night in front of 39,131 fans behind back-to-back homers from Kyle Schwarber and Alex Avila and a strong outing by veteran righty John Lackey. The Cubs maintain a one game lead over the second-place Cardinals in the National League Central division.

In the first inning, the bases were loaded and Alex Avila received a free pass for a RBI to put the Cubs up 1-0. A passed ball by catcher Chris Hermann scored Ben Zobrist to make it 2-0 Cubs.

Third baseman Kris Bryant got into the action in the second inning with a line drive RBI single to left field to score Jon Jay from second base.

Offensively, the game stayed tied until the fifth inning with a David Peralta two-run bomb off of John Lackey to put the Diamondbacks on the board at 3-2.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber returned to Chase Field for the first time since his knee injury on April 7 of last season. He got his closure on his previous horrible night at Chase Field when he tore his ACL with a titanic 449-foot blast to deep center field to put the Cubs up 6-2. The home run had an exit velocity of 108 MPH and it was his 19th homer of the season including his 35th homer of his short career.

Newcomer Alex Avila smashed a homer the at-bat after Schwarber. It was the sixth time this season that the Cubs have hit back-to-back homers with Schwarber being involved in five of them.

Avila's homer with the Cubs was his second overall with the ballclub and put the Cubs up 5-2. The homer went an estimated 443 feet and had an exit velocity of 106 MPH.

In the sixth inning, Paul Goldschmidt showed his mastery over the Cubs with a solo shot to right center field to get the Diamonds within two runs at 5-3. Goldschmidt has four homers in his past seven at-bats against the Cubs. In total, he has 12 homers in only 35 games against the Cubs.

On the pitching side of things, John Lackey went 5.1 innings giving up only four hits, three runs on two homers, and seven strikeouts. His season ERA is now down to 4.82 and he is a perfect 5-0 since the All-Star break.

The Cubs tacked up three more runs in the eighth inning with three consecutive two-out RBI singles up the middle by Baez, Happ, and Jay.

Bryant finished the game reaching base all five times with a three singles, hit-by-pitch, and a walk. It was the 11th time in his career that he reached base five times in one game.

Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery finished up a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Cubs the 8-3 win.

The Cubs and the Diamondbacks will return to play game two of the series on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CDT.

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Tags: Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Jon Jay, John Lackey, Kyle Schwarber
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