Both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs struggled to provide run support for their starting pitchers or bullpen during the first two games of the series – but the bats came to life in game three.
The Cubs entered the top of the ninth inning with an already massive 10-6 lead but decided to try to add a little bit of insurance just in case the Red Sox had something up their sleeve.
Luis Valbuena doubled to right field to drive in Anthony Rizzo, which would be followed up by a flurry of hits by Nate Schierholtz, Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano to push six more runs across the plate to make it 16-6. Top story of the night would have to be the power that was displayed by the guys in tonight’s lineup as Schierholtz, Welington Castillo, Justin Ruggiano and Mike Olt all went deep.
Ruggiano, who would finish the night with five RBIs, led off the game with a two run shot to left field to make it 2-0, which would be followed by an RBI single courtesy of Starlin Castro. Olt would drive in Castillo with a bomb to left center field during the top of the fourth inning to make it 6-3. Castillo put a charge into a 89 MPH four seam fastball from Felix Doubront during the top of fifth inning, driving it over the center field wall to extend the Cubs lead to 8-3.
Boston Red Sox rookie Mookie Betts recorded his first career Major League home run during the bottom of the fifth – a two run shot over the green monster off a pitch from Carlos Villanueva making it 8-5 Cubs. Betts would finish tonight’s ballgame 2-5 with two runs scored, two RBIs and one strikeout.
Starting pitcher Travis Wood would make an early exit from the ballgame after allowing the Red Sox to drive in three runs (all earned) off seven hits with three strikeouts and four walks – he was replaced by Villanueva who would pick up the win. His counter part would make it through only four innings after giving up six earned runs off five hits (two home runs) before he was replaced by Doubront.
Schierholtz launched his second home run of the series during the top of the eighth inning to help extend the lead to 10-5 before the Red Sox rallied in the ninth inning. Things looked a little shaky during the bottom of the ninth with Justin Grimm on the mound as the Red Sox were able to string together multiple hits and cut into Chicago’s lead. Veteran infielder Dustin Pedroia doubled to center field to drive in Betts, which would be followed up by a Daniel Nava two run single to make it 16-9.
Next up for the Cubs will be the Washington Nationals on Friday, July 4 to continue their road trip. Probable pitchers for game one will be Jason Hammel (7-5, 2.98 ERA) and Tanner Roark (7-5. 2.98 ERA) with the first pitch scheduled for 10:05 A.M. CT.