Kyle Schwarber, Cubs beat Giants to pad lead in playoff race

SHARE Kyle Schwarber, Cubs beat Giants to pad lead in playoff race
SHARE Kyle Schwarber, Cubs beat Giants to pad lead in playoff race

Kyle Schwarber showed why the Cubs jumbled their lineup to get him on the field.

Schwarber had the go-ahead two-run single during a five-run fifth and the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 7-3 on Friday in front of 41,311 at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester pitched seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits to win his third consecutive decision and the Cubs moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the defending World Series champions in the race for the second wildcard spot.

“We just played well today,” Joe Maddon said. “Did a lot of nice things.”

Hector Rondon got five outs for his 18th save in 21 tries and Dexter Fowler homered in the eighth to give the Cubs a 7-3 lead at a loud Wrigley.

“Great atmosphere. Great fans,” Schwarber said. “They know what’s at stake.”

Ryan Vogelsong (7-8) went four-plus innings for the Giants, giving up six hits and three earned runs.

Starting in left field for the third time, Schwarber went 2 for 5 with two runs and the Cubs won for the eighth time in nine and improved to 12 games above .500. Chris Coghlan made the second start of his career at second base and had two hits before being replaced in the field to start the sixth.

“You can go through each guy and find something really good that happened,” Maddon said.

Coghlan and Schwarber combined to give the Cubs a first-inning lead.

After going 6-for-14 over his previous four games, Schwarber doubled off the base of the left-field wall. Coghlan then brought him in with a sharp single off second baseman Kelby Tomlinson’s glove.

San Francisco answered in the top of the second. Buster Posey led off and doubled on what looked like a harmless pop fly to Jorge Soler in right, but thanks to a stiff cross breeze the ball dropped into center field. Brandon Crawford’s single two batters later evened the game.

The game stayed tied until the Cubs batted around in their five-run fifth.

Schwarber’s two-run single against Jeremy Affeldt bounced off Tomlinson’s glove to bring in Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler. Soler followed with a two-run double that drove in Schwarber and Kris Bryant, before David Ross capped the scoring with a single to center.

San Francisco tried to come back in the seventh. The first three batters reached and Hunter Pence’s RBI single to center pulled the Giants to within 6-2. But Addison Russell, starting at shortstop instead of Starlin Castro, was able to turn a double play after Lester’s throw on a Crawford grounder was low and wide, denting the Giants’ rally.

Brandon Belt followed with a walk but Lester (7-8) got Ehire Adrianza to pop out to first and end the inning.

“I didn’t really have an off-speed pitch today. Just didn’t really have a good feel for my curveball. This isn’t really a changeup team. They stay on the changeup pretty well, so we had to battle,” said Lester, who was making his first official start since striking out 14 against Colorado on July 29. “We had to grind through it.”

Tommy Hunter replaced Lester and gave up Nori Aoki’s homer to begin the eighth, but Rondon finished the game and the Cubs won their second in a row to start the four-game series.

“It’s good,” Coghlan said. “It’s a great win.”

The Latest
Jordan Jackson, 22, faces three counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer, one count of possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, Chicago police said.
Mr. Wiley started as a copy clerk in 1952, working from midnight to 8 a.m., and attending classes at Northwestern University during the day.
A man was wounded by a security guard during a shootout at Millennium Park.
Ms. Osborne earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University. She was a founding member of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
David Smith, complete streets manager at the Chicago Department of Transportation, sat down for an interview recently to answer cyclists’ most pressing questions.