CHICAGO — Dansby Swanson likes how the Chicago Cubs are playing right now. Perfect timing, too, with the trade deadline coming up next week.
Swanson homered twice and drove in four runs, and the Cubs beat the crosstown White Sox 7-3 on Tuesday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Christopher Morel and Nico Hoerner also connected for the North Siders, and Kyle Hendricks pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning. Swanson and Hoerner each had three hits, and Hoerner had two of the team’s five stolen bases.
“We’ve been playing really well recently,” Swanson said. “I love our at-bats. I love the way we’re playing defense, the way the pitching staff’s going. It’s fun to be a part of a collective group that believes in one another and is willing to lay it out there each and every night.”
The Cubs (49-51) won for the sixth time in seven games overall, putting them firmly on the bubble ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline. The rest of the week could go a long way in determining if the team is a seller or tries to rally into a playoff spot.
“We know we got everything we need in this clubhouse,” Hendricks said. “It’s a great group.”
There is no question about the direction of the White Sox (41-61) after a stretch of 12 losses in 16 games. Lucas Giolito and Kendall Graveman are among a group of players who could be shipped out in the coming days.
Andrew Vaughn had two RBIs in his return to the White Sox lineup after being sidelined by a bone bruise in his left foot. Michael Kopech (4-9) allowed five runs, four earned, and nine hits in five innings in front of a sellout crowd of 37,079 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“For the most part I was getting ahead of guys and limited my walks, threw a lot of strikes,” said Kopech, who struck out five and walked one. “Ultimately they weren’t quality strikes and got hit a few times.”
The South Siders had a chance to get back in the game when they loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. Yoán Moncada then hit a deep drive to right, but Seiya Suzuki made a leaping catch at the wall to take away a grand slam.
“I thought it was gone, for sure,” a chuckling Hendricks said, “and then he made it look so casual, kind of nonchalant. Just an unreal catch. Unbelievable catch – changed the scope of the game. They could have been right back in it.”
“I told him, ‘I’m not going to give you a high five because that’s what I expect you to do,” joked Swanson.
“That’s actually my first time robing a home run. Personally, I’m just really happy.”
Hendricks promised Suzuki a gift for the special occasion.
“I was asking him what he liked the most – liquor or beer? He’s a big beer fan he said. Easy for me. It’ll be in his locker.”
Tim Anderson scampered home on the sacrifice fly and Vaughn followed with an RBI single, but Mark Leiter Jr. limited the damage by retiring Yasmani Grandal on a fly ball to left before striking out Jake Burger.
Hendricks (4-4) allowed three runs, struck out four and walked one in 6 1/3 innings. The crafty right-hander improved to 2-6 in 12 career starts against the White Sox.
With two runners on in the ninth, Adbert Alzolay came in and struck out the side for his 10th save.
“That’s as good as I’ve seen Adbert tonight,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
The Cubs backed Hendricks with three runs in the second. Suzuki reached on a throwing error on shortstop Anderson before Swanson connected for his 11th homer. Morel then hit his 16th homer, a 400-foot drive to center.
Swanson added a solo shot in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh. The All-Star shortstop is 7 for 11 with six RBIs in three games since returning Saturday after being sidelined by a bruised left heel.