Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 0
WP – John Lackey (6-2) LP – Archie Bradley (2-1) Save – None
Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth on a pair of two-out, two-run doubles by Addison Russell and Javier Baez. The Cubs took advantage of the Diamondbacks defense Friday afternoon and won the opener of the weekend series.
The Cubs turned what was a pitcher’s duel and a one-run game into a blowout in the eighth. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI) doubled in Jason Heyward (1-for-5 with a run scored) in the sixth inning on a ball that was misplayed by centerfielder Chris Owings. Rizzo smoked a 1-2 pitch into center. Owings misread the liner, the ball sailed over his head as he slipped going back on the ball. Heyward scored from first base on the play.
John Lackey, Adam Warren and Pedro Strop made the one-run hold up on a hitter’s day at Wrigley until the offense went to work in the eighth inning.
With the Cubs leading 1-0 lefty reliever Zac Curtis hit Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a HBP and a run scored) with one out in the eighth. Anthony Rizzo ripped a 2-2 pitch to right that appeared to be good enough for a double. Bryant went to third. Rizzo was thrown out at second base. Maddon asked the umps to take another look and the call on the field was upheld. Chip Hale made a poor decision and intentionally walked Ben Zobrist (0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored) with two outs. Hale went to his bullpen for right-hander Silvino Bracho.
Addison Russell (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) came through again. Russell pulled a 1-1 pitch down the third baseline. Bryant and Zobrist scored, 3-0 Cubs. Hale had Bracho walk Miguel Montero (0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored).
Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI) launched a 0-2 pitch to deep center. Baez thought he got all of it. The ball hit high off the ivy. Russell and Montero scored, 5-0 Cubs and Baez pulled up at second base. Chris Owings did not see Baez slowing down and threw to third. Owings airmailed his throw, the ball sailed into the stands and Baez scored on the two-base error.
The Cubs offense did very little against Archie Bradley. The D-Backs’ right-hander threw the ball extremely well. The Cubs finished the game with seven hits and six walks. Bradley struck out a career-high 10 batters and the Cubs were punched out 13 times on the afternoon.
John Lackey tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and really picked up where he left off from his previous start. Lackey had very good command and was around the strike zone throughout his outing. When he missed, he barely missed and disagreed with homeplate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt quite often. There were a couple of two-strike calls that Lackey did not get. Lackey allowed those two plate appearances to run up his pitch count.
John Lackey struck out four in a row in the fifth and sixth innings and ended up with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Lackey surrendered five hits and issued two walks on 100 pitches, 66 for strikes. Lackey turned the game over to Adam Warren with two on and two down in the seventh. Warren got out of the jam when Chris Herrmann grounded out to Zobrist at second base.
Adam Warren getting the Cubs out of the two on, two-out jam in the seventh should not be overlooked.
The Cubs pen in relief of John Lackey allowed one hit, a leadoff double by Paul Goldschmidt in the ninth.
The Cubs pitching staff notched its sixth shutout of the season after allowing six hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts.
The importance of run-prevention and defense was on full display Friday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs made the plays in the field (Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant). The Diamondbacks did not and the miscues and errors cost them a game.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 38-15 on the season.
Jason Hammel is scheduled to face lefty Edwin Escobar on Saturday afternoon (1:20pm CDT).