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Crosstown Showdown gets personal; Cubs top White Sox 7-2

The White Sox drew first blood in the Crosstown Showdown opener Monday, but things got personal in the Cubs’ 7-2 victory Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

The Friendly Confines were not friendly to the Sox in the fifth inning, and the bullpen might be looking more like Cubs veteran John Lackey’s fate after his lack of control led to a wild inning.

With the Cubs leading 4-2, Lackey hit three Sox batters — including slugger Jose Abreu for the second time — to load the bases with two outs.

 

Cubs pitcher John Lackey yells on the mound after giving up an RBI single to the Cardinals' Matt Adams in an April 6 game in St. Louis. | Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Although the Cubs were able to escape that inning unscathed, the same couldn’t be said about Ian Happ, who led off the bottom of the inning. Happ took a pitch to the thigh from Sox reliever Chris Beck.

Lackey said he probably would have retaliated in the same way had the situation been reversed.

‘‘The game polices itself,’’ said Lackey, who allowed two runs and five hits to go with his four hit batsmen in five-plus innings. ‘‘I mean, whether I intentionally hit him or not, I get that you have to take care of your guys.’’

Lackey said he apologized to Happ and offered to buy him ‘‘something nice.’’

In an even stranger turn of events, mild-mannered Kris Bryant was ejected for the first time in his major-league career. Bryant, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, was arguing with plate umpire Lance Barksdale about balls and strikes.

And Bryant wasn’t the only Cubs player who was cold at the plate. Javy Baez went 0-for-5 with a career-high five strikeouts.

One Cub who didn’t struggle offensively was catcher Willson Contreras. He staked the Cubs to a 3-0 lead with a three-run home run onto Waveland Avenue in the first. He later tied his single-game high of four RBI with a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Manager Joe Maddon praised the job reliever Carl Edwards Jr. did to keep the Cubs ahead in the sixth. The Sox trailed 4-2 but had runners at second and third with nobody out before Edwards came on and retired the next three batters, stranding the runners.

‘‘That’s the game-changer,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘That was the linchpin to victory right there.’’

Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.

Email: mkenney@suntimes.com

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