The Cubs continued to build on the momentum from their sweep of the Pirates by beating up on a quality Orioles team Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Chicago’s suddenly dynamic offense had another huge inning against an opponent’s bullpen and they rolled to a fourth consecutive victory.
The Cubs took the lead in the 3rd inning thanks to a trio of solo home runs off O’s lefty starter Cole Irvin. Catcher Miguel Amaya hit his second career dinger, followed by back-to-back bombs from Dansby Swanson and Christopher Morel later in the frame.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 16, 2023
Kyle Hendricks was solid in five innings of work, keeping a talented Orioles lineup mostly in check. Austin Hays knocked in a run on a single in the 4th inning and Jorge Mateo doubled in another score in the 5th to reduce Chicago’s edge to 3-2.
A pair of walks to open the bottom of the 6th inning led to another scoring explosion from the Cubs. After the free passes, Baltimore replaced reliever Mike Baumann with lefty Cionel Perez, who balked the runners over and then gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Ian Happ.
A walk to Amaya and a sacrifice bunt by Nick Madrigal put men on second and third with one out. O’s manager Brandon Hyde brought on Reed Garrett, who immediately surrendered an RBI single to Nico Hoerner. Morel smoked a laser-beam double over the left fielder’s head to bring home two more tallies and Seiya Suzuki capped off the scoring avalanche with a single to plate Morel.
Hoerner brought in one more insurance run with an infield single in the 7th and the North Siders’ bullpen mopped up the last three frames to finish off the 10-3 win. (Box score)
David Ross deployed Mike Tauchman and Happ as pinch-hitters in the 6th after the Orioles left-handed starter came out of the game. It was an aggressive move to try and pounce on the weak underbelly of the opponent’s bullpen and it worked like a charm.
Why the Cubs Won
They batted around in an inning for the third consecutive contest and that was more than enough with a solid pitching performance.
Stats That Matter
- While not as good as his start in San Francisco, Friday’s effort was plenty good enough for Hendricks: 5 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 K, and 0 BB.
- Trey Mancini had a revenge game against his former team with two doubles and two walks.
- Morel is white hot right now and hitting everything very hard. He’s also suddenly striking out a lot less often.
- Happ didn’t get the start but still managed to get on base both times he came up.
Almost out of nowhere, the Cubs offense is suddenly unstoppable. Morel has an almost unlimited ceiling of potential and the last six games show what kind of impact he can have when he’s on. This lineup has a lot more talented batters with the addition of Morel, Amaya, and even Tauchman than it did to start the season.
Chicago looks to keep streaking Saturday at 1:20pm CT. Justin Steele is back from the injured list to face veteran Kyle Gibson with broadcasts available on MLB Network (out of market only) Marquee and 670 The Score.