Cubs’ Jason Hammel gets himself back on track

SHARE Cubs’ Jason Hammel gets himself back on track


For the Sun-Times

Right-hander Jason Hammel hadn’t won a game since July 31. But manager Joe Maddon had a feeling he would put things together Sunday against the Atlanta Braves.

‘‘I think [Hammel] is poised to pitch a really good game,’’ Maddon said before the game.

Maddon was right. Hammel (7-5) held the struggling Braves to two runs and six hits, including a home run by Ryan Lavarnway, in 6„ innings in the Cubs’ 9-3 victory. It was his best start since July 3.

‘‘A long time coming, I guess,’’ Hammel said.

Hammel was upset about being pulled early from the outings in which he struggled, but he said he didn’t hold anything against Maddon.

‘‘We’re professionals, and you check your ego at the door,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted to work through it, and Joe had to deal with the moment. Today was a step in the right direction.’’

No fowl play

Leadoff man Dexter Fowler has a .452 on-base percentage since the All-Star break — the third-highest in the National League — and surpassed his career high for home runs with his 14th Sunday. It was his fourth leadoff homer of the season and the 13th of his career.

‘‘I think a few balls the wind knocked down,’’ he said of possibly having more. ‘‘To hit one [to the] opposite field like that [to left-center] is a good feeling.’’

Fowler is hitting .462 (18-for-39) with three homers, two triples, four doubles and 12 runs scored in the last 10 games.

‘‘I tell him before every at-bat, ‘You go, we go,’ ’’ Maddon said. ‘‘He’s gotten his strike zone back in order, he’s accepting his walks and he’s hitting the ball harder from both sides.’’

Danger in the seats

A woman seated near the first-base dugout was struck by a foul ball early in the game. She was taken out on a stretcher, but the Cubs reported she was conscious and taken to the hospital for observation.

‘‘We’re all sensitive to it,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘When you’re in those seats and location, just pay attention. I remember seeing it in 1976, when I was catching in the minor leagues. A kid got hit, and his dad next to him picked him up. It’s awful, but I don’t know if there’s a particular answer. Pay attention.’’

Latino Hall of Famer

Former slugger Sammy Sosa has been shunned in voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, but the Cubs’ all-time home-run leader has gotten a call to the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame in his native Dominican Republic.

Sosa will be one of six modern major-league stars to be inducted into the Latino Hall, which opened in 2010.

Pitchers Orlando ‘‘El Duque’’ Hernandez and Jesse Orosco, shortstops Edgar Renteria and Omar Vizquel and catcher Ivan Rodriguez also will be inducted in ceremonies in December.

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.

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