CHICAGO – It had been a rough few days for the Cubs’ offense, and having a breakthrough on Wednesday night was going to be difficult.
They were facing arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball in Lucas Giolito, who came into the game having won nine-consecutive decisions for the White Sox. He’d allowed just nine earned runs since May 1st, and in his last three starts he’d given up just one.
But Willson Contreras and the home team’s offense were able to find their groove against Giolito, snapping out of their recent offensive slump, and getting even with their rivals on the south side at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs’ catcher knocked out a pair of homers – including a Grand Slam in the first inning – in a 7-3 win over the White Sox on Wednesday night. It snapped the team’s two-game losing streak and earned them a split of the first two-game City Series in 2019. As for Giolito, his nine-game win streak comes to an end after allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 inning, losing a game for the first time since April 6th.
The teams will meet again July 6th and 7th at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Perhaps the White Sox thought they’d be heading back to the south side with a sweep when Leury Garcia took the first pitch he saw from Jon Lester and put it into the seats for a leadoff homer. But Giolito didn’t have it going early, surrendering a leadoff double to Kyle Schwarber, then two-straight walks after a strikeout of Kris Bryant.
Contreras nearly had an RBI double instead of a homer in his first at-bat of the game, as a chopper down the first base line was just barely foul. That would turn out to be bad luck for Giiolito, who then surrendered a line drive Grand Slam to the catcher in the basket on the very next pitch to put the Cubs up 4-1.
David Bote struck with a solo homer in the third, and when the White Sox got two back on a James McCann homer and Yoan Moncada double, Contereras went to work again. Another line drive cut through the rain and unseasonably chilly air to reach the left field bleachers for the solo shot, giving the catcher his second multi-homer game against the White Sox in as many years.
The final line for Giolito showed six earned runs on seven hits with three homers allowed, easily overshadowing his nine strikeouts on the evening.
Meanwhile, Lester wouldn’t allow another run after the fourth, completed a 5 2/3 innings effort in which he allowed three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts compared to one walk. Four Cubs bullpen pitchers finished off the final 3 1/3 innings scoreless, with the Cubs adding an insurance run on a Schwarber double in the eighth inning.
Many didn’t see the Cubs striking for six runs and 11 hits against Giolito on Wednesday, but they managed to do so, slugging their way to a split against their rival.