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Twins vs Cubs: Cubs ride heatwave to 10-6 victory over Twins

Twins vs Cubs: Cubs ride heatwave to 10-6 victory over Twins

Twins vs Cubs: Cubs ride heatwave to 10-6 victory over Twins

With a heat index of 106 degrees Friday on the North Side, the hottest place at Wrigley Field probably was inside the center-field scoreboard.

But the Cubs hitters seem to thrive in the sauna-like environment and smacked four home runs in a 10-6 victory over the Twins before a microwaved crowd of 41,992.

Addison Russell’s fifth-inning grand slam erased a 5-2 deficit and sent the Cubs to their third triumph in four games after a five-game losing streak.

“Woof,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s as hot as I’ve been here. … That was unbelievable.”

Twins vs Cubs: Cubs ride heatwave to 10-6 victory over Twins

Joe Mauer drove in five runs for the Twins, including a three-run homer in the second that was kissed by wind until it dropped into the basket in left-center. The game turned in the fifth when Addison Russell hit a grand slam off Jose Berrios, a towering drive that floated and floated until it left the park.

“I’ve been here and have seen both sides of it,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Today, pretty high-end extreme of favorable to the offensive side. It played a little of a role in the game. We got a little bit of a boost on Joe’s ball and on the grand slam. That one was a mile high and it just seemed to really have a lot of carry.”

Wrigley was set up to be a launching pad Friday, but the Twins struck just one homer in their first game there since 2009.

The game-time temperature of 96 was the hottest at Wrigley since a 97-degree day on July 20, 2011, but was far from the record. The Cubs have temperatures for only the last 30 years, but they played two games in 103-degree weather — on June 25, 1988, and July 13, 1995.

The starting lineup was without Kris Bryant, who is due to come off the disabled list Tuesday, and Javier Baez, whose fiancee Irmarie Marquez gave birth to their first child, a boy, on Thursday. Baez, who received a standing ovation pinch-hitting, was the second Cub to have a child this week, following Tyler Chatwood’s baby boy.

“It’s something we all have in common,” Russell said. “We all father on different paths, so it’s really cool seeing where they come from to see where they are to this point, and now they’re basically raising a little mini-them.”

After a power outage for the first three months, in part because of a finger injury, Russell has taken off the last two days with a pair of home runs and eight RBIs to become the first Cubs shortstop with four RBIs in back-to-back games.

The grand slam came with the Cubs down three runs and was a sky-high fly that the wind carried into the basket in left. He thought he hit it too high.

“But I’m glad it’s summertime now in Chicago,” he said. “The balls are flying.”

Jason Heyward pushed Russell out of the dugout afterward for a curtain call.

“I haven’t done a curtain call in a while,” he said. “It felt good to see the crowd out there and their reaction. It was awesome.”

Twins vs Cubs: Cubs ride heatwave to 10-6 victory over Twins

The Cubs also got home runs from Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber, who bounced one off the roof of a seating area and into the upper part of the center-field bleachers. The slugging helped offset a five-RBI afternoon from Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, whose three-run homer off Mike Montgomery in the second opened the scoring.

Montgomery lasted five innings in the heat for his third victory, helping save the bullpen a bit by grinding his way through the start.

“Those guys really picked me up today,” Montgomery said. “It wasn’t the easiest way to pitch, but for me it was just keep it close and give our team a chance. And it worked out.”

The Cubs were coming off a 2-6 trip, though Maddon focused on the split with the Dodgers instead of the overall record.

Mauer, with runners on first and third in the second inning, got hold of a Mike Montgomery pitch and hit a three-run homer. It was a flashback moment for Mauer, who in 2009 hit a two-run home run to left-center in his second at-bat.

Jason Heyward pulled the Cubs within 3-2 in the third with a two-run shot to right. The Twins knew they needed to keep scoring.

“Especially with that lineup they have,” Mauer said. “That’s a good ballclub. I looked over to Dozier throughout the game and said it’s going to be one of those offensive games. They put some runs on the board.”

Mauer batted with runners on second and third in the fourth inning and struck a liner to center that Albert Almora Jr. raced to his left to catch, but it ticked off his glove for a two-run double. It was Mauer’s first five-RBI game since last Sept. 17. And the thousands of Twins fans among the announced crowd of 41,492 roared.

“There’s nothing to lament right now,” Maddon said. “I kind of like what our guys did.”

The up-and-down nature of the Cubs’ season is common knowledge at the halfway point, and no one can predict whether they’re ready to go on a prolonged roll. But Maddon admitted the home run barrage is “who we are” and blamed the tepid first-half power numbers on the cooler-by-the-lake weather through early June, which he said robbed them of 15 to 20 homers.

“Today if the wind was blowing straight in from the lake, it’s a different ballgame,” he said. “When people talk about lack of power, it’s barometric conditions. It’s the fog coming off the lake, the London fog coming in. You can’t hit homers into it.”

“I hung the curveball right in the middle,” Berrios said. “He hit it up and I think it was the wind pushed it out. It wasn’t like he hit it really hard.”

Ben Zobrist, with a two-run blast, and Kyle Schwarber, with a solo shot, added home runs off the Twins bullpen as the Cubs pulled away in their opener of a nine-game homestand.

“Even at 6-5 you’re thinking we’re going to score some more and get back in the game,” Molitor said. “But we couldn’t hold them down on the back end.”


Azad Hind News

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