SEATTLE – Maybe a late change finally brought out the power in one of the Cubs’ better longball hitters.
Kyle Schwarber came into Tuesday’s game with the Mariners as the designated hitter, but some left leg pain for Kris Bryant changed that plan. He would end up taking the designated hitter spot that was intended for Schwarber, which put Kyle in left field for the game.
It certainly made for a busier night for the fifth-year player, but in the end, it was all worth it for Schwarber, who finally went yard to end the month of April.
For the first time since the home opener on April 8, the left fielder hit a home run, and it was one to remember.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 1, 2019
The 440-foot blast to right field came off the bat at 112 miles per hour, and took the Cubs from a run behind to one ahead. It brought home the game-winning runs in a 6-5 victory that extends the Cubs’ winning streak to three as they finish the month of April with a 15-12 record.
That’s impressive considering the team started the year at 2-7, with many players getting a little redemption for a difficult start. Now it might be Schwarber’s turn to make that happen after a strong finish to the month of April following a slump in the middle.
From April 7-20, the outfielder went just 4-for-34 with only the two RBI in that stretch driven in on his April 8 homer against the Pirates. He sat for the season finale against the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on April 21, but since then he seems to have found a bit of his old rhythm.
He had seven hits in his last six games heading into Tuesday evening, but none was bigger than the long ball he had when the Cubs needed it the most. Down by one after an Edwin Encarnacion homer in the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs got two quick outs in the inning before a Willson Contreras double got a runner on board.
Schwarber would only need to see two pitches from reliever Brandon Brennan before parking the ball deep into the right field stands to put the Cubs up for good. The 440-foot distance made it the longest of the season for the outfielder, besting his 424-foot blast against the Rangers on March 30th, the 411-foot round-tripper in the home opener, and his 406-foot homer in Texas on March 31st.
It finished off an up-and-down game for the Cubs, who took a 2-0 lead but lost it in the one difficult inning for Cole Hamels on the night. Two walks and two errors allowed Seattle to get three runs in the fourth inning before the Cubs got the lead back on a two-run homer by Anthony Rizzo in the 5th.
Seattle got the game tied on a Dee Gordon single in the sixth that chased Hamels from the game, then got the lead on Encarnacion’s homer. Yet it wasn’t enough, for Schwarber found his power at the right time to finish a turnaround month of April for the Cubs.