CHICAGO – For one night, the north siders looked more like the south siders have for a majority of the 2020 season.
The Cubs couldn’t have picked a better time to turn the tables on their crosstown rivals.
Willson Contreras led the way for the Cubs in one of their best power displays of the season. The team hit five homers, with the catchers getting two on the evening, in a 10-0 victory that snaps them out of an offensive funk.
They’d only scored three runs in three-straight losses to the Pirates this week, but their third double-digit run output of the season takes their magic number to clinch the National League Central down to one. A win in the final two games of the series or one loss by the Cardinals gives the team a division crown for the first time in three years.
Should they do so, it would also clinch them home field advantage for their three-game Wild Card series next week.
Kyle Schwarber kicked off the barrage against Dylan Cease in the second with a solo home to left to make it 1-0. Willson Contreras broke it open with a three-run opposite field homer in the third, capping it with a high-flying bat flip that provided one of the highlights of the team’s shortened season.
The moment would inspired a few things, first being more Cubs’ power. Javier Baez smashed a solo homer to left in the fourth inning and Victor Caratini added a two-run shot in the sixth to make it 7-0.
But the bat flip may have earned the scorn of White Sox reliever Jimmy Cordero, who hit Contreras in his at-bat in the seventh. It led to the pitcher’s ejection and, after lengthy arguments, manager Rick Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper.
Contreras would later score when Yasmani Grandal lost the ball trying to tag the fellow catcher out at the plate to make it 8-0. After the Cubs got a sacrifice fly in the eighth, Contreras slammed his second homer of the night off Yolmer Sanchez, who was brought into pitch in the blowout.
The offensive output overshadowed another great outing for Yu Darvish, who worked seven scoreless innings in 94 pitches, striking out five while walking just one. The three-hit effort could very well help Darvish to a Cy Young Award in a few weeks.
All in all, it was part of one of the best Cubs’ nights of the last two months, one where they borrowed a chapter out of their rival’s playbook.