Cubs Offense Comes to Life, Beat Astros 14-6

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By Fred Mitchell Tribune reporter4:42 p.m. CDT, June 23, 2013

Ryan Sweeney hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high six runs to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 14-6 rout of the Astros Sunday at Wrigley Field.

Jeff Samardzija (5-7) got the win as the Cubs won a home series for the first time since May 29-30, when they swept the White Sox.

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the seventh, his 12th of the year.

“That’s kind of the least of your problems,” Sveum said. “These guys come out and do the best they can every day. Sometimes people do set goals—offensive goals, pitching goals, whatever they might be. But the bottom line is that you can’t achieve anything without your teammates. Getting on base, driving runs in…obviously when you hit 25 home runs you still need people on (base) or you are going to end up with (something like) 75 RBIs instead of 100. Numbers come with winning. If your team usually wins, guys have pretty good offensive numbers.”

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after Anthony Rizzo rapped a hit that caromed off the glove of second baseman Jose Altuve. The ball dribbled into right field and Rizzo made it to second for a double. The throw to second from rightfielder Marc Krauss was wild, allowing Rizzo to advance to third on the error.

Ryan Sweeney followed with a ground out to second that allowed Rizzo to score.

The Cubs added four runs in the third inning. Samardzija opened with a single to center  before Luis Valbuena reached on an error by shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. Starlin Castro drew a walk to load the bases. Nate Schierholtz then singled to right to score a pair.

Rizzo hit a deep sacrifice fly to center to score Castro from third. Sweeney doubled to left-center to tally Schierholtz. Three of the four runs were unearned.

The Astros took advantage of some shaky Cubs defense in the fourth inning to pull within 5-3.

Altuve reached on a single after getting a second chance when Rizzo lost his foul popup in the sun for no play. Jason Castro doubled to right to put runners on second and third. J.D. Martinez grounded out to second to allow Altuve to score. Chris Carter doubled to score a run. With two outs, Matt Dominguez reached on a error by shortstop Starlin Castro that allowed Carter to cross the plate.

The Cubs tacked on three runs in the fifth inning to take an 8-3 lead. Alfonso Soriano tripled and scored on a base hit by Rizzo. Sweeney doubled off the glove of centerfielder Justin Maxwell to score Rizzo. Darwin Barney singled home Sweeney.

Houston made it 8-4 in the sixth as Carter doubled and scored on a base hit by Dominguez.

Sweeney hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to put the Cubs ahead 11-4. The homer gave Sweeney a career-high six RBIs in the game.

Samardzija left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He allowed four runs (3 earned) on nine hits. He struck out five.

“Every big outing, he has stepped up and done well,” Sveum said. “The White Sox, Cardinals, Opening Day (against the Pirates) and last year on the last game he knew he was going to pitch. It’s those other games that we have got to get him with the same intensity all of the time. But just having him on the mound and his mentality…every day you love playing behind a guy like that.”

The Cubs and Astros split the first two games of the three-game series. Following Sunday’s game, the Cubs hit the road for a 10-day, 9-game road trip through Milwaukee, Seattle and Oakland.


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