The Cubs were hoping to get the win in a makeup game in Baltimore due to a June rainout. Home run power and a couple of great defensive plays were just enough to give Chicago a victory.
Both starting pitchers, Adrian Sampson and Spenser Watkins, were very sharp on Thursday keeping things scoreless through five. Sampson made a terrific defensive play in the 5th inning, shoveling an attempted Jorge Mateo squeeze bunt to catcher Willson Contreras to nail Austin Hays at the plate.
Contreras put the Cubs ahead the following frame with a line drive that ricocheted off the top of the right field wall for a solo home run. Chicago padded their lead in the 8th when Rafael Ortega and Contreras went deep back-to-back off of reliever Joey Krehbiel.
Two Sean Newcomb walks to open the bottom of the 8th inning led to a Baltimore rally. Erich Uelmen came on and allowed a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly cut the margin to 3-2. The Cubs survived after third baseman Zach McKinstry cut down a runner at home trying to score the tying run.
Why the Cubs Won
The insurance runs in the 8th inning turned out to be huge and the Cubs came up with several crucial defensive plays down the stretch to preserve the win.
Eye on the Future
- Franmil Reyes had two more hits on Thursday and is starting to look like a real waiver wire steal.
- Hughes did a good job keeping his cool in the 9th inning to close out the win.
Stats That Matter
- Sampson was very deserving of a win and he finally got one: 5.2 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 6 K, and 2 BB.
- Contreras absolutely destroyed his second home run. Hopefully, this is the start of a power surge for him.
Sampson really seems to be working his way into the Cubs’ plans for 2023. If he keeps pitching like this he could very much be a solid bottom-of-the-rotation starter.
Chicago heads home for a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers starting Friday at 1:20pm CT. Keegan Thompson and Aaron Ashby is the mound matchup for the contest airing on MLB Network (out-of-market only), Marquee Sports Network, and 670 The Score.