A heat index of 106 degrees greeted the Cubs when they took the field Friday for the second of nine consecutive games scheduled to be played under the sun.
So far, no sweat.
Addison Russell launched a wind-blown grand slam, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist each added two-run blasts and Kyle Schwarber a solo shot to help the Cubs rally to defeat the Twins 10-6 on a sweltering day at Wrigley Field. It marked the Cubs’ second win in a row as they settled into the Friendly Confines for an eight-game homestand.
“I figured I got it pretty good, but I thought I hit it a little too high,” Russell said of his fifth-inning grand slam, which just cleared the left-field wall and erased a 5-2 deficit. “I’m happy that it’s summertime in Chicago now because balls were flying. I was excited to see it go out.”
Without Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Javy Baez in the starting lineup because of injury, rest and new fatherhood, respectively, the Cubs used their bats to earn their 22nd come-from-behind victory, tied with the Phillies for most in the National League.
The recipient of the Cubs’ offensive outburst — their four homers matched a season high — was Mike Montgomery. The left-hander went five innings and allowed five runs — three earned — and seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts to improve his record to 3-2.
“Just credit our offense,” Montgomery said. “A day like [Friday] for a pitcher is not easy, but you don’t use that an excuse. You just kind of use it like, ‘Hey, I keep it close, I keep battling and our offense is going to step up,’ and they did in a big way.”
Heyward was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, Albert Almora Jr. went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Anthony Rizzo had two hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who have scored at least 10 runs in two consecutive games and a major-league-best 12 overall this season.
Joe Mauer knocked in five for the Twins — including a three-run homer in the second — but it wasn’t enough as starter Jose Berrios couldn’t hold the lead.
The game-time temperature of 96 degrees marked the warmest at Wrigley Field since it was 97 for a contest against the Phillies on July 20, 2011. Some of the loudest cheers of the day from the crowd of 41,492 came when a passing cloud would briefly obscure the blazing sun. Manager Joe Maddon, players and fans better get used to the sunshine as the Cubs have a long string of day games ahead of them. They won’t play under the lights again until July 9 in San Francisco.
Maddon, who declared himself “a night-game freak,” went out of his way to avoid complaining about the schedule — and to avoid getting swept up in any controversy due to “the political component of this thing.” Still, Maddon couldn’t hide his love for baseball under the lights.
“Part of why I like night games … is because then you can get things done during the day, meaning you can be a human being,” he said. “But it is what it is, I’m not here to complain or cry. We’ll play. It’s going to be warm, but who cares? We’ll be fine.”