Chicago (Wrigley Field) -
It was a hit parade last night on the north side as the Cubs had a season high 20 hits in a 17-3 beat down over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The charge was led by Ian Happ (3-5 1 HR 4 RBI) and #BamBam Kyle Schwarber (2-6 2 HR 4 RBI). They are 2 of 6 Cubs (Contreras, Baez, Rizzo & Bryant) with 20+ home runs which is a franchise record.
"Only thing left for Happer is to truly organize his strike zone. Give him credit... great runner, multiple positions, strong. He's only gonna get better," says Cubs skipper Joe Maddon.
Ian Happ & #BigFOLKS Anthony Rizzo after Happ's 2 run HR in the 3rd inning (Photo by John L. Alexander)
#ELMago Javier Baez was 2-5 with 2 RBI and he stole home in the 2nd inning to tie the game at 2. It looked like he was caught in a run down but he actually caught the Pirates slipping. "I went too early. I messed it up...I don't know if that's fixing it but it worked," Baez said.
#ELMago Javier Baez stealing home in the 3rd inning to tie the game at 2 (Photo by John L. Alexander)
#LaFLAME Jose Quintana got his 5th W as a Cub. He started off slow giving up 2 runs in the 1st on hit batters. He settled down and locked in going 6 innings giving up 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 9. He threw 99 pitches-70 for strikes. He helped his own cause with an rbi single in that huge 7 run 5th inning.
Joe Maddon-"Q was really good. 1st inning was tough but he was fine after. He's still trying to make an impression for us. He's so involved...he's ready. He keeps getting better in game progress. He pretty much nailed it after the 1st inning. The play by Jon Jay sealed it."
#JRoc Jon Jay shut down any momentum Pittsburgh thought they had with back to back web gems. He joined the hit parade going 2-6 with an rbi which was run #17 for the Cubs.
#LaFLAME Jose Quintana started off slow but found his groove for win #5 (Photo by John L. Alexander)
We know what happens when the squad scores in double figures...the next game is almost a guaranteed L. The Time Is Now and I expect the Cubs to play like the World Series Champs from here on out. It's time to run away with the NL Central while getting everyone healthy and ready to play October baseball. They are 3.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers with 30 games to play.
The Atlanta Braves stop in town for a 4 game set beginning today. The first pitch is set for 7:05. They should be handled accordingly especially the way they Cubs swept them coming out of the All-Star break.
*#TheGlove Addison Russell had a setback and will be reevaluated by doctors today.
*Jon Lester will return to the rotation Saturday vs the Braves
*#ILLWILL Willson Contreras is making daily progress and is still a couple of weeks away from a scheduled return
*#GrimmReaper Justin Grimm threw a scoreless inning last night in Iowa
Follow me for the latest Cubs news & updates - Eugene McIntosh