may have suffered two losses against Giants
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[August 10, 2017]
SAN FRANCISCO -- It was bad
enough for the Chicago Cubs that they left AT&T Park having lost
twice in a three-game series in the wake of the San Francisco Giants
posting a 3-1 win Wednesday afternoon.
To leave town fearing they've lost cleanup hitter Willson Contreras
to a hamstring injury could put a far more serious crimp in
Chicago's postseason hopes than the two losses.
Contreras came up limping running to first base while making the
final out of the eighth inning.
"He's a DL candidate," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "We'll have to
wait and see. That's no fun. Apparently he pulled a hamstring. Maybe
we'll get lucky and it's just a bad cramp."
The Cubs flew after the game to Arizona for a series that starts
Friday. On Thursday, Contreras, who has 21 homers and 70 RBIs and
who was the National League Player of the Week last week, will have
an MRI to determine the scope of the injury.
"He's been carrying us," starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. "It's
definitely a blow, not good. It gets quiet in the dugout. You feel
bad for him, a guy who works so hard."
The Giants were on the other end of the injury equation. Madison
Bumgarner, who spent three months on the disabled list with a left
shoulder sprain, was back and as filthy as ever. He was dinged for a
third-inning homer by Albert Almora Jr. but allowed just three other
hits and one walk in seven innings.
Since his return, he has made six starts. In the last four, he has
allowed four runs total while striking out 25 and walking five in 24
"I feel normal," Bumgarner said. "I'm throwing the ball really well.
I'll throw as many pitches as they'll let me. They've got to be
smart about it, but I'm feeling good. It's the mindset of being
healthy in arm strength and the mindset of making pitches again."
While the Cubs are in first place in the National League Central,
the Giants are dead last in the NL West. Having Bumgarner back,
however, levels the playing field.
Three times in his last four starts he has matched up with likely
playoff teams, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Diamondbacks and now the
Cubs have struggled to do much against him.
The Giants, while 24 games under .500 at 46-70, have back-to-back
series wins over the Diamondbacks and Cubs, two NL powers.
"It's no coincidence," the Giants' Hunter Pence said.
The right fielder drove in the game's final run with a homer in the
[to top of second column]
Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) throws a pitch during
the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park. Mandatory
Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
"Having him back is a big impact, not only in the
games he starts but just his presence. His mentality seeps into
San Francisco scored first on an RBI single from Joe Panik in the
second. Almora tied the score in the third by going deep, and the
game sat there until Denard Span, Ryder Jones and Jarrett Parker
backed up hits in the seventh.
"We scrapped, we scratched and clawed for runs in that seventh
inning today," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "There were some
balls that weren't hit hard, but they put them in play. It's good to
get some wins, and get some wins against two pretty good ballclubs,
Arizona and Chicago. It makes for a great flight heading to
The Cubs' flight to Phoenix, while much shorter, will be more
difficult for the Central leaders to enjoy.
"Other guys have to say 'we have to pick up the slack,'" Maddon said
of a future where Contreras might not be a factor. "I've seen it
before when your best player at the moment goes down. Guys start to
pick it up."
NOTES: Cubs RF Ben Zobrist opened the game with a single. He is now
7-for-15 lifetime against Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner. ... In a bit
of irony, Willson Contreras, who is normally the Cubs' catcher, was
at first base, the idea being to give his legs a bit of a rest. ...
RHP Mark Melancon (right pronator strain) will travel with the
Giants to Washington and it's possible that he will be activated
from the disabled list Friday. ... Giants OF Hunter Pence's homer
was his second of the homestand. He hadn't hit a home run at AT&T
Park all season before these two. ... The Cubs put RHP Koji Uehara
on the disabled list with tightness in his neck. Justin Grimm was
recalled from Triple-A Iowa. ... San Francisco RHP Johnny Cueto,
still dealing with a blister, will travel with the team to
Washington. The plan will be for him to do some light throwing over
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