By: Alex Patt
It was quite the opposite of the previous weekend at Wrigley Field against the Mets and Cardinals for the Cubs this past week. After getting swept by the Brewers, the Cubs would take on the lowly Mets and rival St. Louis Cardinals. While the Mets was seen as a series where they would have to simply “take advantage” and gets some wins vs. a bad team, the Cardinals was a big divisional series which could swing the playoff race.
It was a perfect two series for the Cubs as they swept both the Mets and Cardinals at Wrigley Field, which ended their weekend with the magic number to clinch the division being reduced to 10. The Cardinals were 3.0 back and in third place in the Central coming into Friday afternoon’s game, now they are 6.0 and still in third behind second place Milwaukee. The Mets series the Cubs outscored their opponent 39 to 14 and saw the MLB debut of Jen Ho Tseng in the finale. Tseng (22) went three innings giving up five runs, walking one and striking out six.
Friday’s game featured a seven-run 6th inning after John Lackey and Willson Contreras were ejected for arguing balls and strikes on an obvious blown call. Contrereas originally was tagged for a two-game suspension after slamming his mask during the incident, but he appealed it and was reduced to one. Game two they won 4-1 with Addison Russell returning and hitting a pinch-hit home run in the 8th inning and Albert Amora, who batted .667 with 10 RBIs and three doubles these last six games, drove in two of the four runs in that win.
The finale felt like a postseason game. A close 4-3 victory with many heart-pounding moments. The Cubs jumped to a 3-0 lead with Jose Quintana pitching a masterful game through the first five innings, a misplay by Schwarber and another baserunner reaching lead to former Cub hero Dexter Fowler hitting a game-tying home run to left field. After both teams traded wasted scoring opportunities, the Cubs broke the 3-3 when Jason Heyward hit an opposite field RBI single to make it 4-3 Cubs. Brian Duensing got out of a bases-loaded jam and Wade Davis closed it out getting Fowler to fly out to Martin at the track to seal the win and the sweep.
Cubs will travel to Tampa Bay for two against the Rays and then on to Milwaukee for four against the second place Brewers.