When the Cubs’ offense began to take off in May, helping them to a 19-8 record in the month, the lineup started to do some things it hadn’t done before.
The contact approach that had eluded the Cubs for years started to trickle through the lineup, and their run production skyrocketed.
But their ability to score runs with the long ball never left. And as the temperature has started to heat up, the Cubs have started hitting the ball out of the ballpark, as they’ve always shown they can do.
After launching five home runs Monday, the Cubs got two more in their 4-3 victory Tuesday against the Padres. It was their eighth victory in their last nine games.
‘‘I think there’s a lot of ways to win baseball games,’’ manager David Ross said last month. ‘‘I think we have a lot of slug in our group. These guys do hit homers. They have hit a lot of homers in their careers. I think that will be something that is a staple of this team.’’
The Cubs needed some thump after starter Kyle Hendricks surrendered two homers — to former teammate Victor Caratini and Tommy Pham — in the fifth inning, allowing the Padres to take a 3-2 lead. Catcher Willson Contreras had the same idea.
Contreras helped his batterymate out in the bottom of the fifth by crushing a 445-foot, two-run blast to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead. It was the Cubs’ 14th homer in their last seven games.
‘‘It seems like they’ve commanded the strike zone,’’ Ross said afterward. ‘‘They know what it looks like and where they want their pitches, and now they’re able to turn it loose in their zone and be really aggressive.’’
The Cubs’ other homer came off the bat of third baseman Patrick Wisdom, who’s beginning to make a name for himself.
As the Cubs begin to get some of their injured players back during the next few weeks, several of their bench pieces will return to Triple-A Iowa. But Wisdom is playing as though he doesn’t want to return to Des Moines anytime soon.
Wisdom, 29, hasn’t been in Chicago for long, but he is making his presence felt in a Cubs lineup that has been looking for some additional run production while depleted.
Wisdom added to an impressive start to his Cubs career with another two hits, including a two-run homer against Padres starter Ryan Weathers in the second. He’s now slashing .474/.500/1.158 since being recalled May 25.
‘‘I think it’s just being comfortable in the box,’’ Wisdom said Monday. ‘‘Sticking to a routine, making sure I’m prepared for that pitcher for that day and not getting outside the moment. Staying within myself. I think that has been helping me stay locked in.’’
Not only did the homer enable Wisdom to tie his career high of four round-trippers in only seven games, but it was also his third in the last two days after his first career multihomer game in the Cubs’ victory Monday.
‘‘This guy has always had some power in his bat,” Ross said. “That’s a nice guy to have, especially with as many guys as we have going down and the at-bats he’s had, especially against tougher lefties.’’
The triumph assured the Cubs of another series victory. They have won eight of their last nine series and are 21-9 in their last 30 games.
They now are in position to go for the sweep Wednesday and head to the West Coast brimming with confidence.
‘‘We’re developing into a really good team,’’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. ‘‘That’s a good feeling.’’