SAN FRANCISCO – Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum was doing his pre-game media briefing in his clubhouse office Sunday morning when he was interrupted by a roar, drowning out his thoughts.
Former Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano had just hit his first home run as a Yankee since returning to the Bronx on Friday, and his former teammates screamed and shouted as though they were sitting in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium.
That was all the players needed to psyche themselves up.
The Cubs then went out and beat the Giants 2-1 for their first series sweep in San Francisco since September of 1993.
It was a fitting way to end final day of a 10-game road trip that saw the departures of Soriano and Matt Garza, the arrival of Junior Lake and the beginning of the next chapter of the Cubs’ rebuild.
The Cubs finished with a 6-4 record, as Travis Wood homered and threw seven solid innings to out-duel Tim Lincecum.
Wood’s solo home run off Lincecum with two outs in the fifth snapped a scoreless tie, before Pablo Sandoval knotted it up again with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning.
Welington Castillo then homered with two outs in the seventh to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Pedro Strop tossed a shutout inning in the eighth, and Kevin Gregg survived the ninth for his 22nd save.
All in all, Sveum said it was a successful trip.
“With 10 days (out) west against the world champions, the first-place Diamondbacks, at the time a first-place team, and Colorado, to be guaranteed to be .500 (is a success),” Sveum said. “I don’t care how good a team you are. You go on the West Coast you’ve got 10 games, to (finish) .500 or with a chance to be better is ahead of the game.”