The Chicago Cubs have had problems finishing what they started this season, but they’ve had no such problems so far in their City Series games against the crosstown rival White Sox.
Behind three home runs from catcher Dioner Navarro, the Cubs routed the Sox 9-3 Wednesday. Navarro wound up with six RBIs.
Lefthander John Danks (0-1) took the loss for the Sox. Scott Feldman (5-4) was the winner for the Cubs. After Tuesday night’s rainout at U.S. Cellular Field, players and managers from both teams were eager to play.
The Cubs broke through with an unearned run against Danks in the first inning. David DeJesus led off by reaching second when leftfielder Dayan Viciedo misplayed his deep fly ball. DeJesus advanced to third on a base hit to right by Starlin Castro. With runners on the corners, Anthony Rizzo was safe on a fielder’s choice that forced Castro at second. DeJesus scored on the play.
The Sox tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second. Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Kepinger each delivered one-out singles to put runners on the corners. Then Tyler Flowers lined sharply to right to tally Gillaspie.
A leadoff homer by Dioner Navarro in the third inning put the Cubs ahead again 2-1. Navarro’s fourth homer of the season came on an 0-2 pitch.
Navarro connected on his second homer of the day in the fourth inning. This towering drive just inside the leftfield foul pole came after Scott Haiston had reached on a one-out single. Navarro’s fifth homer of the season came on a 1-1 pitch and made the score 4-1.
The Sox pulled to within 4-2 in the top of the fifth after Flowers doubled and pinch-hitter Casper Wells singled to put runners on first and third. Alejandro De Aza hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Flowers.
Danks was relieved by lefthander Hector Santiago to start the bottom of the fifth. Danks went four innings, allowing four runs (3 earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out two.
The Cubs moved out to a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Hairston singled before Navarro walked. Luis Valbuena sacrificed the runners to second and third. Matt Linsdstrom took over for Santiago and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Hairston to score. Pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney, batting for Feldman, then lined a base hit to score Navarro.
Feldman allowed two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out seven. Villanueva took over for Feldman to start the seventh.
Navarro cranked his third home run of the day in the seventh inning. The three-run shot made it 9-2.
The big lead figured to take the pressure off a Cubs bullpen taxed by the news Wednesday that reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is done for the rest of the season.
“The bullpen was solidified there. It’s going to be a little different,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “(Rafael) Dolis has been throwing the ball (well) like he has been. (Hector) Rondon has been fine. Obviously, Carlos Marmol has been doing a good job in the other (set-up) role. We will just make do and see how it all stacks up.”
James Russell, Carlos Villanueva and recently acquired Alex Burnett also will be needed to bolster the Cubs bullpen.
“Somebody has got to step up. So the guys are up for the challenge to fill in,” veteran closer Kevin Gregg said before the Cubs and Sox prepared to meet at Wrigley Field. “Carlos (Marmol) has been throwing the ball well. So he is going to be able to step up and help out.”
Fujikawa is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on his right arm and will miss the rest of the season, according to Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.
“All of the teams that get deep into the playoffs and win the World Series have a solid bullpen,” Gregg said. “Starters are important; they align a bullpen and help by that means. But you need someone to carry those last six or more outs.”