Late runs help Cubs beat Giants to extend lead

SHARE Late runs help Cubs beat Giants to extend lead
SHARE Late runs help Cubs beat Giants to extend lead

Joe Maddon calls late add-on scores “jug runs.”

The Cubs got them Saturday. And they needed them.

Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer, Addison Russell had three hits, Miguel Montero had the go-ahead single in the fifth inning, and the Cubs beat the Giants8-6 onSaturday in front of 41,305at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks (6-3) pitched into the sixth inning, giving the Cubs their third straight win over the Giants while pushing their lead for the second wildcard spot to 2 1/2 games over the defending champs.

The Cubs led 8-3 entering the ninth after scoring three times in the eighth. Russell had an RBI single, Dexter Fowler contributed a run-scoring triple, and Kyle Schwarber capped the rally with a single that brought in Fowler.

The ninth inning showed the importance of tacking on late runs. With Hector Rondon unavailable, James Russell and Jason Motte combined to allow three runs before Justin Grimm got the final out for the win.

“The add-ons, the jugs, you go for the jugular. You try to take the momentum away from the other team,” Maddon said. “They don’t really get it sometimes. They keep playing.

“Those three runs were huge for us. They matched it. We were able to hang on.”

With the win, the Cubs moved a season-high 13 games over .500 while winning for the ninth time in 10. They did it with their recently shuffled lineup: Schwarber in left field, Chris Coghlan at second base, Russell playing shortstop and Starlin Castro on the bench.

Maddon said he’s “seeing a much more consistent method of play” from his team.

“I’m seeing … really starting to believe in ourselves,” Maddon said. “I’m still looking for that late-inning swagger kind of a thing. I think it’s almost there where if things get a little freaky we’re still OK. That’s the next step.

“But overall, you can’t complain. The effort, the intensity, tenacity, whatever you want to call it. Our guys show up to play every day. I love it.”

Hendricks didn’t love his outing. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs and five hits to win his second straight start.

“It was OK,” Hendricks said. “I wasn’t sharp again, but made enough good pitches to battle through it.”

The Cubs offense supported him, with Bryant hitting his first homer since July 27. He conceded that recently he’s missed a lot of hittable pitches but he didn’t miss in the bottom of the third when he hit a hanging Matt Cain breaking ball well into the left-field bleachers to score Anthony Rizzo and give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

“I think that’s just normal as a baseball player. You can’t hit them all,” Bryant said. “These pitchers are so good, their stuff. I mean, nasty cutters, two-seamers. You’re not going to square them up every time. Sometimes it’s just a success to foul one off.

“When you do get a good one that’s not as sharp you’ve got to make sure that you hit it and hit it hard,” he added. “I think recently I think I’ve been doing that.”

Cain entered Saturday 6-2 with a 2.38 earned-run average lifetime against the Cubs but only went four-plus innings and allowed six hits and five earned runs.

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