By: Alex Patt
The Cubs ended their first home series of the second half last night against the rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs continue their good start to the post-allstar break schedule by taking 2/3 from the Red Birds in a set of dramatic games. They are now tied with Milwaukee for first place going into Monday, who have lost 2/3 in Philadelphia.
After the sweep in Baltimore, the Cubs went on to sweep a competitive Atlanta team in their new ballpark. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Mike Montgomery all pitched very well giving up a combined three runs in three games and the offense did the rest. Addison Russell and Javier Baez went off in that series hitting a combined .545 in those three games and Mike Montgomery hit his first big-league homer in the finale. There was a scare in the final game as Kris Bryant left in the first inning after jamming his finger in the foot of Freddie Freeman on a headfirst slide, but he only sprained it and missed one game.
In the Cardinals series, it started off odd. The Cubs were up 3-2 in the 8th inning of game one but the Cardinals scored nine times without recording an out which resulted in a 11-4 victory; six hits and six walks in that inning. The next game was a classic Cubs-Cards game. Jon Lester brought a perfect game into the 6th but Adam Wainwright broke it up with a single into left and with two outs and nobody on in the 8th, Paul DeJong and Randal Grichuk hit back-to-back home runs to put the Cards up 2-0. The Cubs came back in the 8th and with two outs, Zobrist doubled to score a run, then Bryant tied the game with a single, then Rizzo doubled on a blooper to center and Bryant scored all the way from first and the Cubs went on to win 3-2 as Davis picked up another save.
The series ended with a 5-3 win as Quintana made his Cubs home debut, and pitched six innings with three earned runs given up. Not the domination he had in his first game as a Cub, but still solid work. Willson Contreras hit the game-winning homer and Schwarber cleared the bleachers earlier with a solo shot. Other runs driven in by a Bryant single and a Heyward double. Davis with another save.
Willson Contreras has been a huge topic of conversation. He currently has 15 homers with a .269/.334/.826 slash and is rising up to be one of the most productive catchers in the league. He has had a great 2nd half so far and hopes to continue as he is emerging as a great positive force on this club.
Time for the Crosstown games as the Cubs will play four games vs. the White Sox.