The Cubs and Rangers squared off for the second game of their series on Saturday afternoon after the home team squeaked out a tight win on Friday. Chicago received another quality start and they took advantage of a very sloppy Texas performance to win going away.
Dansby Swanson singled, then stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error before coming in to score on an Ian Happ grounder in the bottom of the 1st inning. The Rangers’ Josh Jung evened the score when he singled home a run off of Justin Steele in the 3rd.
The Cubs took the lead right back when Swanson lined a single to right field in the bottom of the frame. Patrick Wisdom doubled the lead when he plastered a solo home run to left in the 4th. Steele pitched well and gave up just the one tally in six innings.
Pinch-hitter Eric Hosmer hit a hard ground ball single through a drawn in infield to plate a pair of key insurance runs in the 6th. Trey Mancini knocked in another in the 7th and Yan Gomes hit a solo dong in the 8th.
Later that same inning, Happ got a hit with the bases loaded and the Cubs ended up clearing the bags with an assist from the Rangers’ fifth error of the game. Chicago easily closed out their 10-3 victory and took their first series win of 2023. (Box score)
Hosmer’s 6th inning single doubled the Cubs’ lead and gave the bullpen crucial breathing room against a very difficult Texas lineup.
Why the Cubs Won
They got another very good starting pitching effort and several big hits with runners in scoring position.
Stats That Matter
- Steele was terrific and got a lot of weak contact on the ground and in the air: 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 K, and 4 BB. The walks are a bit of a concern, although he seemed to be getting squeezed by the home plate umpire.
- Mancini had three hits and hopefully will start heating up.
- More of the same for Swanson and Nico Hoerner, who combined to reach base five times on Saturday.
- Nick Madrigal picked up a pair of knocks, including a double.
The Cubs have matched their three-game losing streak with a winning streak of the same length and the top of the rotation looks good so far. If they can get contributions from up and down the lineup like they did on Saturday, they will be much improved over last season.