continue to roll on road, defeat Diamondbacks
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[August 12, 2017]
PHOENIX -- Kyle Schwarber was
good-naturedly congratulated by winning pitcher John Lackey after
the Chicago Cubs' latest victory, and it wasn't for his pivotal home
run. Rather, it was for making it through the game.
A good night for Schwarber, indeed, in a ballpark where he has very
Schwarber homered in his first game in Chase Field since being badly
injured there last season, Alex Avila followed with another homer
and Kris Bryant reached base five straight times to lead the Cubs
past the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3 on Friday night.
With the Cubs up 3-2 in the sixth inning, Schwarber hit a deep drive
to center field -- not that far from where his 2016 regular season
ended with two torn knee ligaments -- for his 19th homer. Avila,
filling in for injured Willson Contreras, then chased Arizona
starter Taijuan Walker (6-6) with another homer to center, his
second since being traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Cubs on July
Schwarber sustained multiple injuries, including a torn anterior
cruciate ligament, during a dreadful collision with Cubs center
fielder Dexter Fowler as both chased a fly ball in left-center field
on April 7, 2016. He was expected to miss the rest of the season but
surprisingly returned in October to get seven hits in the World
Getting a homer Friday night pushed that bad moment further into his
"The funny thing is Lackey was pitching when that happened, too, so
he gave me the congrats after the game," Schwarber said. "It (the
collision) ran through my head when I got here, but when I stepped
on the field it was another game."
And another win for the Cubs, who've won 13th of their last 16 on
the road and are 17-9 overall since the All-Star break.
Chicago broke the game open with three runs in the eighth against
reliever T.J. McFarland -- highlighted by Javier Baez frantically
scoring from first base on Ian Happ's single to right field. Baez
broke on the play and didn't stop running, not even looking into
right field as he rounded third.
"The fact that he didn't hesitate at all (allowed him to score) ...
he never hesitated at all," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Sometimes
he does things we've got to talk to him about, and sometimes he does
Schwarber was hitting below .200 when he was sent down to the minors
at midseason -- he's still at .195 -- but Maddon likes his swing
now. A lot.
"That was a 96 mph elevated (fastball), two-strike homer, and that's
a good sign," Maddon said.
Lackey (10-9) gave up solo homers to David Peralta, his 11th, in the
fifth and Paul Goldschmidt, his 27th and fourth in two games against
the Cubs, before being lifted in the sixth but got the victory.
Lackey gave up only two other hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 5-0 in
his career against the Diamondbacks, 3-0 the last two seasons, and
is 5-0 in six starts since July 5.
Lackey didn't want to come out, but Maddon is trying to keep his
pitch count down so he's strong if the Cubs play October baseball
"I've been throwing pretty good, we've scored some runs, too, and
that helps," the 38-year-old Lackey said. "I'm not getting any
younger, and (I'm) trying to be strong towards the end."
Bryant singled in each of the first two innings as the Cubs scored
three times against Walker, and finished 3-for-3 with a walk and a
hit by pitch. Avila, hitting .182, drove in two runs.
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Cubs relief pitcher Mike Montgomery (38) and catcher Alex Avila (13)
hug after closing out the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks
at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Walker, winless in his last eight starts, was allowed
to bat in the fifth despite already throwing 100 pitches to that
point -- he struck out -- and then gave up the successive homers to
Schwarber and Avila to start the sixth.
The Diamondbacks went on to lose their third in a row and fifth in
"Playing uphill baseball today was something we couldn't overcome,"
manager Torey Lovullo said.
The Cubs, playing at Chase Field for the first time since taking
three of four there during their first road series in 2016, opened a
2-0 lead in the first with a lot of help from Walker's wildness.
Bryant singled into the hole at shortstop and, one batter later, Ben
Zobrist singled to center. Schwarber walked to load the bases.
Avila then drew a walk to force in a run. With Jason Heyward at the
plate, the second run of the inning scored as Chris Herrmann got
crossed up with Walker on a breaking ball that bounced away from the
catcher for a passed ball.
"The first inning I was off mechanically, I didn't feel right,
spiking a lot of balls -- it just didn't feel right in that inning,"
Walker's wildness continued an inning later when he hit Jon Jay with
a pitch with two outs, and Jay then stole second ahead of Bryant's
Lackey, 2-0 against Arizona in 2016, allowed four runners in the
first two innings by walking three and giving up Herrmann's two-out
single in the second. But he got Goldschmidt to ground into an
inning-ending double play in the first and struck out Walker with
runners on first and second to end the second.
"He gets better when he's backed into a corner," Lovullo said.
Arizona finally got to Lackey in the fifth when Herrmann singled for
the second time and Peralta drove an 0-1 pitch into the right-field
seats for his 11th homer, making it 3-2 Cubs.
NOTES: The attendance was 39,131. ... Cubs C Willson Contreras,
second on the team with 70 RBIs, will be out an estimated four to
six weeks with a strained right hamstring. C Victor Caratini was
recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take his place. ... Cubs manager Joe
Maddon hasn't decided whether Caratini or C Alex Avila will get the
majority of starts. ... Arizona All-Star LHP Robbie Ray, out since
taking a line drive to the head July 28 at St. Louis, will pitch a
simulated game Saturday at the Diamondbacks' spring training
complex. He'll likely make a minor league rehabilitation start after
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